Pain in the elbow (elbow joint) causes, treatment, what to do if the elbow hurts, than to treat

Pain in the elbow joint of the right or left hand is not considered a rare pathology and does not depend on age. Rather, the main factor provoking its development is trauma or professional activity. This joint experiences daily motor loads (flexion-extension), is influenced by various weights that a person carries.

The structure of the elbow joint

So, his anatomy is not so simple. The left or right elbow includes several joints: brachioradial, brachioecum, proximal radiocarbonis. Together, they create a complex mechanism.

Flexion and extension of the elbow joint provide muscle. They are attached to the joint using tendons. To fix the joint bag are 4 ligaments. The structure of this “mechanism” includes blood vessels that provide blood flow and outflow, as well as lymph nodes. Also in the elbow there is a network of nerves, through which its innervation is carried out.

Elbow pain: causes

Both left and right elbows can hurt. Moreover, the reasons are completely different. Naturally, to begin to treat this pathological condition, you need to consider them in more detail. The reason for the development of pain in the elbow joint is:

  1. Shock, bruise, microtrauma due to improper flexion or extension of the arm, increased load (carrying heavy bags).
  2. Violation of local blood circulation. Here, the cause of the pathology is the compression of blood vessels, both small and large.
  3. Age-related degenerative changes in cartilage, as well as premature wear of tissues, provoked by inflammatory processes in the synovial bag.
  4. Epicondylitis (it happens external and internal) – inflammation of the ligaments of the elbow joint. This reason is the most common. This disease causes pain after performing physical exercises, wearing weights, prolonged similar rotation of the arm to the right or left s >

  1. Cervical osteochondrosis. The appearance of the elbow in this case is practically unchanged. At the same time, not only the joint can hurt, discomfort spreads to the entire right or left hand. The intensification of pain occurs due to hypothermia. In addition, the hand may become numb.
  2. Arthrosis This disease is characterized not only by pain. When the elbow is bent or extended, a crunch is heard. If treatment has not been prescribed, then the joint is deformed and outwardly modified.
  3. Arthritis. This pathology does not develop independently. Basically, it has a systemic character. In addition to the pain that the patient feels, he has redness on the outer or inner s >

Pain in the elbow joint is also provoked by some cardiovascular or neurogenic pathologies:

  • Inflammatory pathology of nerve roots. It occurs due to joint injury.
  • Cubital Channel Syndrome. It is due to a genetic predisposition or congenital anatomy of the elbow.
  • Myocardial infarction. This pathological condition provokes pain in the joint, its numbness.
  • Oncological and systemic pathologies.

Injuries can also provoke pain in this area: dislocations, fractures, bruises. Sometimes the elbow can hurt due to damage to the internal organs, so you need to pay attention to the slightest disturbances in the joint.

The rheumatologist and psychophysiologist, academician of RAMTS Evdokimenko Pavel Valerievich will tell in more detail about the causes of the disease:

Classification of pain and features of their manifestation

It can be done depending on the location of discomfort and the time of its occurrence:

  1. When bent, it appears due to deforming arthrosis, bursitis, arthritis, trauma or a pathological neoplasm. This type of pain causes medial epicondylitis, tendon rupture.
  2. When extension, the elbow hurts due to all of the above pathologies, as well as osteoarthritis, lateral epicondylitis. In this case, a person is not able to hold an object on an outstretched arm, to compress the brush into a fist.
  3. On the inner s >

  1. The appearance of discomfort during a handshake can indicate a serious injury to the elbow joint.
  2. If the indicated part of the arm begins to hurt after lifting, it means that a person develops subacute epicondylitis.
  3. At rest, the pathology is able to develop due to inflammatory or degenerative diseases of the joint.
  4. If the elbow hurts the child, then he is likely to be injured. In addition, such a symptom indicates the development of reactive arthritis provoked by viral or bacterial infections. If such a pathology occurs in a child, in no case should you start it, as this can lead to significant health problems in the future.

You can also classify pain according to the nature of their manifestation:

  • Reflected. They appear due to damage to internal organs or other parts of the body. There are no external changes in the elbow.
  • Projected. Their cause is injury or compression of the spinal canal.
  • Neuropathic. Here the pain can be severe, accompanied by a burning and tingling sensation.
  • Spicy. They are characteristic of a serious injury to the elbow joint: fracture, sprain, rupture of ligaments. Acute pain also accompanies reactive and rheumato >

  • Aching and dumb. Arthrosis, and even malignancy, provokes such sensations.
  • Sharp (provoked by injury).
  • Permanent. They appear due to the development of serious diseases of the supporting system.

As you can see, it is impossible to immediately determine which pathology caused pain in the elbow joint. To do this, you should immediately contact a doctor (orthopedist, traumatologist, neurologist, therapist, rheumatologist) and undergo a thorough examination.

Features of pathology diagnosis

Examination of the patient involves the use of the following procedures:

  • Conversations of the doctor with the patient, during which the place of localization of pain sensations, their nature, time when they manifest themselves most strongly are clarified. Also, the specialist is trying to find out what triggered the pain.
  • External examination and palpation of the affected left or right elbow. During this procedure, the doctor can detect changes in the structure of the joint.
  • X-ray (prescribed in case of injury or suspected development of a degenerative disease).
  • Neurological tests.
  • CT or MRI. Such procedures are more often recommended if there is a suspicion of a malignant tumor (a lump has appeared in the joint area), osteochondrosis.

Which diagnostic procedure of the two is better to choose and what is the difference between them says an experienced neurologist Mikhail Moiseevich Sperling:

  • A general blood test that can confirm or refute the presence of an inflammatory process in the body.
  • ECG. A cardiogram is prescribed if the patient has a burning pain in the elbow.
  • Ultrasound of the elbow.
  • Specific tests.
  • Rheumatic tests.
  • Arthroscopy.

Such a comprehensive examination of the left or right elbow joint will allow you to determine why it hurts, what load is allowed on it, what treatment will be most effective.

Even “neglected” joint problems can be cured at home! Just remember to smear it once a day.

Elbow pain: first aid

It is necessary to treat this pathology by consulting with a doctor. However, if an urgent visit to the clinic fails, you can provide first aid to the victim. If the patient received an injury to the elbow, damage to muscles or bones, the following actions must be performed:

  1. Fully remove the entire load from the injured (left or right) hand and immobilize it. To eliminate severe pain, you can put a cold compress on the joint. If the elbow is too swollen, then this procedure will help reduce swelling.
  2. Since the elbow joint hurts very badly when injured, the patient may need painkillers: Ibuprofen, Voltaren. The use of ointments with anesthetic effect is allowed.

If a crunch is heard after falling or hitting the elbow, this may indicate a fracture of the bone. It is not possible to cure such damage on your own, so you need to urgently contact traumatology.


If the patient cannot compress his hand into a fist, when moving, his elbow begins to crackle, and a bump appears on the side (left or right), which hurts a lot, then he should not delay the treatment.

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

I have been treating joints for many years. I can say with confidence that the joints are always treatable, even in the very ripe old age.

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Depending on what pathology provoked the pathological condition, such medications are prescribed to a person:

    NSA >

  1. B vitamins: Milgamma. They help fight the neurological causes of pain.
  2. Local warming and analgesic ointments: Voltaren, Fastum-gel.
  3. Antibacterial drugs to eliminate signs of purulent arthritis and bursitis. They are prescribed to the patient in the form of injections.
  4. Vasodilator drugs that help restore blood circulation in the joint.
  5. Muscle relaxants to eliminate muscle spasms.

Drug therapy is only part of a comprehensive treatment. It is supplemented by other ways and methods of combating pathology.

Non-drug treatment of pain

If the bend of the arm and clenching of the fist is difficult for the patient, the elbow begins to crackle, hurt and even numb, you can use the following methods to restore the functionality of the joint:

  • Reducing the load on the left or right elbow joint using orthopedic devices: orthoses, bandages.
  • Physiotherapeutic procedures: UHF, electrophoresis with dimexide, laser and magnetic therapy, mud or paraffin baths, ozokerite.
  • Aspiration of articular fluid, as well as drainage of the synovial bag (if fluid accumulates inside it).

You can see how the drainage procedure goes in this video:

  • Shock wave therapy.
  • Professional massage using therapeutic ointment.
  • Physiotherapy exercises, manual therapy, as well as radiological treatment.
  • Simple medical training.

In the most extreme cases, treatment of pain in the elbow is allowed with surgery. It provides for the replacement of a bone damaged during an injury, the removal of its fragments. If the elbow hurts severely, the patient will be shown bed rest. The joint at that time can be enclosed in plaster. Despite the fact that some dystrophic diseases cannot be completely cured, the fight against them must be continued.

Elbow pain: treatment with folk remedies

Despite the fact that pain is localized in the inside of the joint, from the side or from the top, it must be treated in any case. For this, in combination with other methods of therapy, folk remedies can be used. If clenching a fist or bending a hand is difficult, recipes like these will be helpful:

    Fresh leaves of cabbage or burdock will help eliminate puffiness. They need to be beaten with a little hammer and tied to the affected elbow at night. It is necessary to treat a sick elbow in this way until the unpleasant sensations subs >

  1. Compress with warm sea salt. Its temperature should be 65 degrees.
  2. Laurel oil with a warming effect. They need to be smeared with the skin directly over the affected joint.
  3. If the elbow hurts, such folk remedy as fresh celery juice can help overcome discomfort, which can be rubbed into the joint or taken orally. Treatment is carried out for 14 days.

Folk remedies, as well as drugs, can not completely cure systemic or degenerative diseases of the supporting apparatus. However, they help to significantly improve the life of the patient.

Elena Malysheva gives excellent tips on what to do with bruises in the area of ​​interest to us:

preventive measures

In order for the compression of the fingers to proceed normally, the training did not cause discomfort, and when the elbow was bent, it did not go numb, it is necessary to timely eliminate all those factors that can provoke a pathological condition. Here prevention plays a huge role. It provides for the implementation of such rules:

  • Athletes or people performing complex work are required to perform daily therapeutic exercises to bend and extend the joint.
  • You should not rely on the elbow for a long time while working at the computer, reading books. This provokes cubital channel syndrome.
  • It is important to eat right.

  • It is advisable to prevent any injuries of the elbow joint.
  • It is necessary to avoid hypothermia, visit saunas or baths.
  • To carry out fast and effective treatment of all inflammatory and infectious processes in the body.
  • If you feel numbness in your hand, you need to urgently contact a neurologist.

Be that as it may, if an elbow hurts, a person cannot fully work, rest. It is advisable to avoid all those factors that can provoke such a pathological condition. An active and proper lifestyle is the main method of disease prevention.

Useful information about gymnastics is told by a rheumatologist and psychophysiologist, academician of RAMTS Evdokimenko Pavel Valerievich:

Shishkevich Vladimir

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews. It specializes in the treatment of diseases in orthopedic, traumatological, vertebrological profiles