Why Your Elbow Hurts When Bent

October 13, 2010 by  
Filed under tennis elbow

So you’ve just given your elbow a good smack or you’ve been performing repetitive tasks on a daily or weekly basis that requires a constant grip combined with excessive wrist and elbow rotation and now your elbow hurts when it’s bent. Why is this?

There can be many reasons why your elbow hurts when you bend it or you have a sore elbow joint.  Here is a list of possible elbow injuries that you may now be suffering from.

Fractured Elbow

If you’ve fractured your elbow, you must have had a bad fall, received some sort of blunt force trauma to your elbow or maybe twisted your elbow beyond it’s normal range of motion.  When you’ve fractured your elbow, you’ve actually either fractured one of two bones that make up your arm.  The fracture occurs in either the ulna or the humerus.

Some of the common symptoms of a fractured elbow can be:

  • a decrease in your normal range of motion
  • swelling, inflammation and bruising around your elbow
  • numbness in your hand and fingers
  • bending your elbow hurts
  • a visible lump or deformity near the elbow or location of the fracture

The only way to be completely sure about whether you’ve fractured your elbow is to have it x-rayed by your doctor or nearest hospital.  If it is indeed fractured, you are most likely looking at your arm being immobilized for at least 3 weeks with a cast or splint of some sort.  The worst case scenario would be elbow surgery followed by an arm cast and then a specific set of strengthening exercises to help get your arm back in shape.

Golfers Elbow

The next possible reason why your elbow hurts when bent is because you may be suffering from an injury called golfers elbow.  You don’t have to play golf to suffer from golfers elbow.  Golfers elbow, which is medically known as medical epicondylitis, occurs when the ligaments on the inside of the elbow become stretched, torn and inflamed from performing repetitive tasks on a daily or weekly basis or when one receives a sharp blow to the elbow.  The most common symptom of golfers elbow is pain and tenderness when you touch the inside of your elbow.  You may also have some discomfort when you lift an object with your palm facing upwards(ie: lifting a box with your hands under the box).

Treatment for golfers elbow is pretty much the same as for tennis elbow, the next most common elbow injury.

Tennis Elbow

The last possible injury and reason why your elbow hurts when you are bending it is a condition called tennis elbow.  Tennis elbow, aka lateral epicondylitis occurs when the ligaments on the outside of your elbow become torn, inflamed and swollen from overuse and strain.  Performing repetitive tasks that require a tight grip on an object combined with excessive wrist and elbow rotation can eventually lead to tennis elbow.  Sometimes if you receive a sharp blow to the outside of your elbow, you can suffer from an injury such as tennis elbow.

Some common activities, hobbies or jobs that are high risk for developing tennis elbow can include:

  • gardening
  • carpentry work
  • construction workers
  • painters
  • cooks
  • plumbers
  • hairdressers
  • computer programmers
  • racket sport players
  • volleyball players
  • musicians
  • warehouse workers

Some of the more common signs and symptoms of tennis elbow can include:

  • strong burning sensation, tenderness and/or pain on the outside of the elbow
  • pain that sometimes radiates down your arm and into your wrist
  • your elbow pain gets worse if you flex or extend your wrist
  • twisting actions of your forearm causes pain and discomfort at the elbow
  • elbow pain that gets worse when you grasp simple objects such as coffee mug or doorknob
  • your elbow hurts when you extend your arm or you bend it

Tennis elbow is the most reported elbow injury and over 95% of all reported cases of tennis elbow come from non tennis players.  It affected millions of people every year and worst part is that if you are suffering from tennis elbow, the longer you wait to treat it, the worse your pain and symptoms will get.

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2 Responses to “Why Your Elbow Hurts When Bent”

  1. Top 2 Reasons Why Your Elbow Aches and Pains | Aching Elbow | TennisElbowTips.com Elbow Treatment on November 9th, 2010 12:58 pm

    […] under your body one night which has caused your elbow to be stiff and painful.  Perhaps your elbow hurts when bent?  Maybe you’ve recently started a new hobby, sport or activity that involves using a tight […]

  2. Elbow Hurts | 3 Reasons Why Your Elbow Is Hurting | TennisElbowTips.com on May 5th, 2011 9:54 am

    […] your elbow hurts when bent or does it hurt all the […]

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