Elbow Pain - Describe Your Experience

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How is the elbow designed, and what is its function?

The elbow is the joint where three long bones meet in the middle portion of the arm. The bone of the upper arm (humerus) meets the inner bone of the forearm (ulna) and the outer bone of the forearm (radius) to form a hinge joint. The radius and ulna also meet in the elbow to allow for rotation of the forearm. The elbow functions to move the arm like a hinge (forward and backward) and in rotation (twisting outward and inward). The biceps muscle is the major muscle that flexes the elbow hinge. The triceps muscle is the major muscle that extends the elbow hinge. The outer bone of the elbow is referred to as the lateral epicondyle and is a part of the humerus bone. Tendons are attached to this area which can be injured, causing inflammation or tendinitis (lateral epicondylitis, or "tennis elbow"). The inner portion of the elbow is a bony prominence called the medial epicondyle. Additional tendons from the muscles attach here and can be injured, causing medial epicondylitis, "golfer's elbow." A fluid-filled sac (bursa), which serves to reduce friction, overlies the tip of the elbow (olecranon bursa). The elbow can be affected by inflammation of the tendons or the bursae (plural for bursa) or conditions that affect the bones and joints, such as fractures, arthritis, or nerve irritation. Joint pain in the elbow can result from injury or disease involving any of these structures.

Normal Elbow Illustration - Elbow Pain
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See what others are saying

Comment from: Chicanalady, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 20

I am experiencing painful sudden elbow pain. When I say sudden I mean from one day to the next. I first noticed it the following day after preparing fondant for a cake (kneading and rolling), but it wasn"t for a very long time; a couple of minutes at the most. The following day was worse. It got so bad that night that I ended up going to the emergency room. They guessed tennis elbow. The pain was so intense they gave me morphine and tramadol for the pain. To be honest it made me sleepy, but the pain was still there. It had gone down from a 10 maybe to a 7 or 8. I was sent home with strong medications. It has been a week and I've tried muscle relaxers and I'm still in pain especially at night. For whatever reason I cannot lie down without feeling pressure from the pain, kind of like an earache. When you are standing it is fine, but when you want to sleep it throbs. I am so frustrated from the pain and loss of sleep. My doctor is suspecting arthritis or bursitis. Whichever it is I just want it gone; the pain is in my elbow and upper forearm. Now my pointy finger is starting to feel numb. I am scheduled for an x-ray. Hope I get some answers soon.

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Comment from: Ellie Mae, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I have been experiencing burning on the inner and outer part of my elbow. The burning on the inner part of my elbow is the most painful. It is sensitive when I touch it and feels stiff a lot. I straighten it to get some relief but nothing seems to relieve it. It has started since I purchased a new laptop. I am no longer using a keyboard that was at a lower level and I'm wondering if that is what it is stemming from. It bothers me all the time, not sure what to do about it.

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