Elbow Pain: When to Seek Treatment

Elbow pain is a common issue that millions of people deal with on a daily basis. It can greatly impact your day to day activities as well as create issues at work and play. If you are suffering from elbow pain, it is possible you already know the source of the pain. However, some individuals report having elbow pain without knowing the specific cause of this discomfort.

Identifying the source of your elbow pain can help in determining the best course of treatment. Did you suffer a one time injury? Do you have a condition such as arthritis? Does your work or exercise routine require repetitive movement with the elbow joint causing an overuse injury?

Here are some of the most common causes of elbow pain:

  • Elbow fracture
  • Elbow dislocation
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Bursitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Nerve issues (cubital tunnel syndrome or radial tunnel syndrome)
  • Elbow strains and sprains

Meeting with an orthopaedic surgeon, specifically one trained in elbow conditions, can help you determine not only the cause but also the best way to treat your elbow pain. Some types of elbow pain are easily treatable at home with rest and ice but other elbow issues will need medical attention.

If you have been suffering from pain for several days and the pain has either been constant or has gotten more intense, you may benefit from getting an evaluation by an orthopaedic surgeon. Further, if your pain is accompanied by swelling and/or bruising, you could have a more serious issue that requires medical treatment. If you have sustained an injury that has severely limited the use of your elbow without pain, seeing an orthopaedic surgeon might be the best option.

If you are hesitant to see an orthopaedic surgeon for fear that the treatment plan will include surgery, you can rest easy knowing that there may be alternatives. Surgery is optimal for some types of elbow pain but many elbow issues can be treated non-surgically. In some cases, physical therapy, rest and medication will be enough to relieve your pain and address the underlying issue.

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