Why do I feel pain when bending and straightening my elbow?

It happens when you close a cabinet door. You do it when you’re drinking coffee. What is it exactly? The answer is bending and straightening your elbow. Yet even normal, seemingly easy, tasks like these can be more difficult if these movements are triggering elbow pain.

There are many issues that can trigger pain when you’re bending and straightening your elbow. Wading through the sea of possible conditions isn’t something you should do on your own. Physical therapists have the expertise and training to help you determine the cause of your elbow pain, and they offer many techniques that can help treat your elbow pain, too. 

Five reasons you might be feeling pain when you’re bending and straightening your elbow

  1. Tennis elbow — The impact from playing tennis and other racket sports can place a lot of stress on your elbow. So can doing repetitive elbow movements at home or at work. Tennis elbow occurs when the lateral epicondyle tendon becomes inflamed. This condition tends to lead to pain on this outside of the elbow when it’s moved. 
  1. Golfer’s elbow — Pain when bending and straightening your elbow may also be felt on the inside of your elbow. If you’re feeling pain here, then you may have an issue called golfer’s elbow. This elbow problem happens when the medial epicondyle tendon is inflamed. It’s typically caused by repetitive movements like swinging a golf club or work tasks that require you to grip tools tightly. 
  1. Olecranon bursitis — Does your pain seem to originate at the point of your elbow? If it does, you may have a condition called olecranon bursitis. Bursitis occurs when cushioning structures called bursae become inflamed, and falling on your elbow or repetitive elbow movements can trigger this issue in the bursa at the point of your elbow. 
  1. Elbow osteoarthritis — Like most other joints, your elbow joint contains cartilage that can wear out over time. This natural wearing can trigger joint inflammation that’s known as elbow osteoarthritis. People who have previously injured an elbow are more likely to develop this issue, as are older people. 
  1. Ulnar nerve entrapment — The ulnar nerve runs through the elbow joint, but there is little soft tissue to protect this nerve. As a result, even something as simple as leaning on your elbow too much can trigger this issue. Ulnar nerve entrapment can cause pain on the inside of the elbow. It can also lead to numbness and tingling in your hand and fingers. 

Feeling pain when bending and straightening your elbow? Armor PT can help

At Armor Physical Therapy, our team is ready and willing to help you address pain you feel when bending and straightening your elbow. We’ll start by doing a free screening on your elbow that’s intended to pinpoint the cause of your pain. 

Next, our physical therapists will create a therapy plan that’s customized to your specific needs, and this plan may include therapy methods like: 

Contact us today for more information about treatment options we offer for elbow pain or to schedule your initial appointment. 

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