Here's What's Really Causing Your Elbow Pain

You don't realize how much you use your elbow until it starts to hurt. Elbow pain can come on suddenly or happen gradually, but it is typically caused by either an injury or overuse (via WebMD). The elbow is a complicated joint where three bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons all come together. If any of these body parts get injured in any way, you will experience pain in the area.

If your elbow is hurting, it might be due to an injury. Some elbow injuries include a dislocated elbow, which occurs when one of the bones that make up the joint gets knocked out of place. Dislocated elbows are extremely painful and need to be put back into place by a medical professional. You may also be experiencing a fractured elbow. This occurs when any of the three bones in the joint break, crack, or splinter. This usually happens after a sudden blow to the elbow in an event like a car accident or sporting event. Broken elbows are not always painful right away and may still be mobile, so you may not think that the injury is that severe. However, you should visit a doctor if your elbow looks or feels strange in any way after an accident.

Other potential causes of elbow pain

Overuse is another common cause of elbow pain. Golfer's elbow, for example, is a condition that occurs in golfers who repeatedly use their elbows in a repetitive movement (via Mayo Clinic). Tennis players and baseball players also experience this condition. Symptoms include elbow pain, numbness, stiffness, and weakness in the area. Bursitis can also be causing your pain. This occurs when bursa, small fluid-filled sacks that sit in the joints, become swollen and painful (via WebMD). Bursitis can often be treated with rest and pain medication.

Some diseases and health conditions can also be responsible for elbow pain. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can both affect the elbows and cause severe pain in the area. Gout, another form of arthritis, occurs when uric acid forms crystals around the joints. Those crystals can sit on the elbow joint and cause a lot of pain. If you experience elbow pain that is severe and/or does not go away after a few days, schedule a visit with your doctor.