Stiffness in the elbow can cause pain and loss of range of motion in the elbow, making everyday activities difficult to perform. Our physical therapists at MPOWER Physical Therapy are here to help!
What Causes Elbow Pain
It is common for patients to feel elbow pain after an overuse injury. Anything that causes you to bend your elbow over and over can lead to pain and stiffness. Certain exercises or sports can also be a contributing factor. Athletes in throwing sports, like baseball, are at a higher risk of experiencing elbow pain and stiffness.
Arthritis (sometimes caused by a previous injury) can also be a cause for elbow pain, though elbows are not as likely to have arthritis as others. Tennis elbow bursitis, a tendon rupture or sprain is also common. These injuries would need to be diagnosed by a doctor. A board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the elbow would give the best diagnoses
Treatment for Elbow Pain
Treatment for elbow pain depends on the injury. If you are unsure and your pain is not serious, try resting the elbow. The RICE method (rest, ice, compress, elevate) is a good place to start. If after a week your elbow pain persists, it may be time to see an orthopedic surgeon. An elbow specialist can offer XRAY's, MRI's and other forms of imaging to properly diagnose the injury. From there they can offer a treatment plan.
Other treatments include:
- Physical Therapy
- Cortisol Injections
- PRP Injections
- Dry Needling
When to See a Doctor for Elbow Pain
If after resting, physical therapy, and stretching your elbow it still hurts, it may be time to see a doctor. It is best to not let the pain linger and the injury worsens. You could save yourself from having surgery if you go to the doctor before it worsens!
How Do Exercises Help Elbow Pain?
Building strength and range of motion are key factors in preventing and treating elbow pain. A physical therapist is a highly trained (every PT now is required to have a doctorate degree!) professional. Physiotherapy remains one of the top treatments for elbow pain by orthopedic surgeons.
What Exercises/Stretches Help Elbow Extension (Elbow Flexibility)?
With a towel under your elbow and a weight on your wrist with the palm facing up, let gravity straighten your elbow. Hold in this position a minute. Release tension and repeat up to 4 times.
Support your elbow on a towel and use your other hand to slowly bend your arm so that your wrist is pulled in toward the same shoulder. Keeping your wrist straight, hold this position for a minute. Release and repeat up to 4 times.
Exercises for Elbow Pain
Bend your elbow (without help from the other hand), hold for 3 seconds, and repeat 10 times. You can perform this exercise up to 3 times a day.
Keeping your elbow tucked into your side, slowly twist your palm up and hold for 3 seconds. Then, twist down and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times. You can perform this exercise up to 3 times a day.
What Doctors Treat Elbow Pain at Elite?
Both Dr. Thomas Dovan and Dr. Samuel Crosby treat orthopedic elbow injuries. You can schedule an appointment with an orthopedic elbow specialist here.