The structure of the elbow

When the word "elbow" is used, most people usually think of a joint bend (elbow strike). In the old days this was the place from the wrist to the bend of the elbow, there was even a measure of length: the elbow is 35.6 cm. Anatomically correct to distinguish:

  • The shoulder - from the humerus to the elbow joint.
  • The joint itself.
  • The forearm - from the elbow to the hand.

The elbow joint is a block-shaped complex articulation of three simple joints joined together by a common ligament. The three bones in the human body (radius, elbow and shoulder), along with their respective muscles (biceps, triceps and brachialis), allow you to bend and unbend your arm, raise and lower it, and perform other actions.

Common causes of pain

Pathologies of joint bones, ligaments, and muscles provoke pain in the elbow joints. The causes can be varied.

Most often the problem is caused by:

  • External or internal epicondylitis (in 80% of cases).
  • Spinal abnormalities - intervertebral hernia of the thoracic region, when there are "reflected" elbow pain (about 20%).
  • Arthrosis (up to 10%).
  • Arthritis (about 7%).
  • Injuries.


One of the main causes of pain is epicondylitis, which a person can get at any age. The pain increases with exertion, lifting and carrying weights, and can be caused by trauma and overexertion. When palpating, unpleasant sensations arise on the sides of the joint, near the lateral bones.
Vertebral hernia.
With problems with the thoracic curvature of the spine, the nature of the pain is somewhat different. It usually recurs in the arm, so it seems that the whole limb hurts. The pain is usually caused by nerve entrapment in a thoracic spinal column vertebral hernia. At first they are insignificant and appear only at loads, but further intensify, become sharp and acute. Such attacks are called sprays.


With osteoarthritis, aching pains are a consequence of the destruction of joint cartilage. When fully flexing/extending the arms, discomfort and crunching occur.


With arthritis, there is pain even at rest, and it gets worse when you touch it. The affected area is swollen and reddish in appearance and a rise in temperature is noted. Arthritis is often accompanied by bursitis - inflammation of the periarticular bag as a result of trauma or constant irritation of this area (a person leans over). In this case on the outside of the hand there is a formation, elastic when pressed, which is filled with fluid. Elbow treatment in Orlando is just right for the sick person who needs treatment.


Of injuries, the most frequent are fractures, dislocations, and sprains and tears of tendons. The cause of abnormalities can be mechanical damage, impact, and accidents. In such cases, there is a strong soreness, which increases with movement or touching. There are swellings, bruises, the joint itself is deformed. In falls and strokes, there are often bruises of the tissues, and dislocations occur if a person falls on an outstretched arm. With subluxations, the symptoms are similar, although somewhat weaker. Such injuries may be accompanied by tearing of the ligaments and periarticular capsule, and the pain is quite severe and it becomes impossible to move the injured limb.


Other Causes of Pathology

In addition to the aforementioned diseases, there are many other causes of pain, such as innervation problems, muscle and other tissue abnormalities:

  • Chondrocalcinosis, a joint disorder caused by salt deposits. The patient suffers from severe pain, there are mobility disorders, fever, redness, the joint is swollen.
  • Osteophytes - the formation of growths on the bone tissues. With activity, tissue trauma occurs, the problem worsens.
  • Synovial chondromatosis. It is also associated with metabolic failures, pathological cartilage structures appear in the joint. It is characterized by pain, swelling, difficulty in bending and straightening the arm. The pain appears during activity, and then can be already at rest.
  • Gout is an inflammation caused by deposits of urate salts. It, in turn, provokes a burning sensation and stiffness.
  • Tumors, which can manifest as faint pulling pains. As they grow, the malaise worsens to the point that drugs must be used to suppress them.
  • Tendinitis is a tendinous inflammation, a disease of athletes. It occurs due to constant overexertion, injuries, and infections. The elbow area is swollen, hyperemic, and the joint hurts a lot.
  • Synovitis - inflammation of the joint capsule, in which fluid accumulates, leading to a squeezing pain.
  • Diffuse fasciitis is a disease of the fasciae (ligaments) and the tissues closest to them. The pain is mild at first, and gets worse as the pathology progresses. The skin on the arm looks like orange peel, and a lump is felt underneath.
  • Cubital canal syndrome associated with impingement of the ulnar nerve. Constant trauma from performing prolonged monotonous movements, autoimmune diseases, and inflammation lead to this pathology. This causes stiffness, difficulty in holding objects, and numbness in the hands and fingers, especially the little fingers.
  • Nephritis is an inflammatory process of the ulnar nerve which causes sharp pain, numbness in the arm, loss of sensitivity, and may even lead to paralysis.
  • Blood diseases (hemophilia), when an internal hemorrhage puts pressure on the nerves, causing pain syndrome.
  • Charcot neurotrophic arthropathy is a sign of disorders of the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. The hand is swollen and its sensitivity is reduced.
Author's Bio: 

Author's Bio:
Author Roger Walker is a Board-Eligible Orthopedic surgeon. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Engineering. He was a member of the Varsity FAU baseball team and was selected in the Major League baseball draft. While practicing as a professional engineer, he obtained a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from FAU. He then pursued his medical degree at Nova Southeastern University. His orthopedic surgery training was performed at the level one trauma center, Broward Health Medical Center, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He continued his training at Orlando Health Medical Center, completing a fellowship in Orthopedic Surgery Sports Medicine.