How to Stop Elbow Inflammation
When you suffer an injury, whether it be a cut, muscle pull/strain, or broken bone, it is usually followed by some sort of inflammation and swelling. Usually the more severe the injury, the greater the degree of inflamed tissue. So what if you are suffering from elbow inflammation and are unable to get it under control? Or even worse, you are at a loss of why your elbow is inflamed in the first place?
To fully understand inflammation and throbbing elbow symptoms, it’s important to first learn some basic elbow anatomy and how a joint that we rely on each and every day can quickly become injured and interfere with our basic daily activities and tasks.
Your elbow is a hinge joint that links your upper arm bone with your forearm bone. Three bones(radius, ulna and humerus) join to form your elbow joint.
Bones and muscles are held together by tendons. On the inside of your elbow, the flexor muscle attaches to your flexor tendon which then attaches to your medial epicondyle of your humerus bone. Your flexor muscles run from the medical epicondyle at your elbow down to your wrist. When you flex your wrist, it’s these muscles that help bring your hand in towards your wrist and body.
On the outside of your elbow, your extensor muscles attach to your extensor tendon which then attaches to your lateral epicondyle of your elbow. Extensor muscles run from the lateral epicondyle down the outside of your forearm and into your wrist. When you extend your wrist, it’s these muscles that are responsible for moving your hand away from your body.
So you may be thinking, what does this have to do with elbow inflammation? Or how does this affect my elbow pain and swelling? Here’s what happens…
When you perform repetitive activities that involve the flexor and extensor muscles, the attachment points at your elbow(medial epicondyle and lateral epicondyle) become inflamed, irritated and extremely painful.
When you suffer a muscle or tendon injury, your bodies natural defence mechanism is to lay down scar tissue. As with an elbow injury, the scar tissue binds your injured tendons to the overlaying soft tissue layers and muscles. As a result, the scar tissue shortens your forearm muscles which gives you that tight restrictive feeling in your upper arm and even elbow stiffness. The scar tissue prevents the muscles, ligaments and tendons from your elbow down to your wrist from sliding properly.
Now that you know a little more about how exactly the elbow and it’s structures work, next let’s identify the location of your elbow inflammation.
If your elbow is inflamed on the inside of your elbow, you maybe suffering from golfers elbow. This common elbow injury is described as pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow. It occurs when the flexor tendon that attaches at the medial epicondyle becomes irritated and inflamed as a result of performing repetitive actions that involve excessive wrist flexion. For example, playing too much golf, baseball or partaking in activities that require a tight grip on an object combined with wrist flexion and elbow/forearm rotation is primarily how this injury manifests. It’s important to note that you don’t have to play golf to suffer from golfers elbow.
But if you are suffering from inflammation on the outside of your elbow, chances are you have tennis elbow. This is the most commonly reported type of elbow condition every year. You may be shocked to learn that you don’t have to play tennis to suffer from tennis elbow. Although tennis and other racquet sport players are considered the high risk group for developing tennis elbow, they only account for a mere 5% of reported cases each year.
Besides swelling, inflammation and pain on the outside of your elbow, you may also have some of the following tennis elbow symptoms: an increase in outside elbow pain when you grip objects or use tools, your injured arm is hard to straighten or extend fully, your elbow pain gets worse when you extend your wrist, the pain sometimes shoots from your elbow, down your forearm and into your wrist or you may feel burning sensation and/or tenderness on the outside of your elbow.
If it is tennis elbow that you are suffering from, you should know that inflammation will be present and recognizable within the first 2 weeks of suffering your injury. As with any type of injury, the first course of action is to apply the R.I.C.E. principles. R is for rest, I is for ice, C is for compression, E is for elevate. These are basic steps that can help decrease and swelling, inflammation or trauma to soft tissues when an injury occurs.
The strange thing about tennis elbow is that the longer you’ve had it, the less the inflammation will be. As you continue to suffer from tennis elbow and do nothing to treat it, the faster the extensor tendon degenerates. The only way to strengthen a degenerating extensor tendon is through specifically, targeted exercises.
Tennis elbow is not an injury you should take lightly. The longer you wait to treat it, the longer your recovery can take. And I’m a perfect example.
I suffered from tennis elbow for over 7 years and spent a small fortune on trying to cure it. Doctors, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory pills/creams, elbow braces, massage therapy and cortisone shots did nothing but make my wallet much lighter.
It wasn’t until I discovered 5 simple, easy-to-follow techniques that you can do at home while sitting in the chair you are in right now, watching your favourite TV show that I was able to completely eliminate my elbow inflammation and cure my tennis elbow for good!
And you can too – simply click on the button below to see these 5 simple steps in action!