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Common Causes of Elbow Pain

November 15, 2019

elbow x-ray

The elbow joint connects the bones of the upper and lower arm, allowing the arm to move and bend smoothly. When patients suffer from elbow pain, it can limit functions and movement, and cause significant discomfort.

The team of doctors at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin offer treatment to relieve discomfort and restore range of motion. While we strive to provide patients with non-invasive treatment methods, we also offer elbow surgery to repair extensive damage. With our wide range of treatments, we can provide our Austin, TX, patients with relief from the most common causes of elbow pain.


A dislocation is a sudden injury that develops when the elbow joint gets knocked out of place. This could be the result of a fall, or from the arm being moved or jerked suddenly. A dislocated elbow is likely to cause significant pain, and will greatly limit the movement of the elbow. It is important to put a dislocated elbow back in place as soon as possible, so a suspected dislocation should be reported to our doctors immediately.

Broken Bone

A fracture or break in the elbow is another common cause of pain. Breaks are most often the result of a sudden accident, like a fall or car crash. Even if the elbow seems to maintain a full range of motion, that doesn't mean that there isn't a break within the elbow or the arm. If a patient develops sudden, significant pain, they should have the arm and elbow examined as soon as possible.

Tennis or Golfer's Elbow

While a sudden injury can cause elbow pain for our Austin patients, it is also common for pain to be the result of prolonged wear and tear. For instance, tennis or golfer's elbow describes pain stemming from damage to the tendons of the elbow. This damage is caused by repetitive motions, such as that made when swinging a tennis racket or golf club. The only difference between these two conditions is that tennis elbow affects the tendons of the outer elbow, while golfer's elbow affects the tendons of the inner elbow.


Bursitis is an inflammatory condition that is caused by trauma, pressure, repetitive motion, or infection. The elbow joint has small sacs of fluid, called bursa, that help the skin slide easily over the bone. When bursitis is present, these sacs become swollen, which can cause irritation and make movement more difficult. Bursitis often responds to medication, but may require more invasive treatment in some cases.

Nerve Entrapment

Many people have heard of carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel is painful condition affecting the wrist or forearm. Carpal tunnel develops when the nerve that passes through the wrist is squeezed and becomes entrapped. The ulnar nerve that passes through the elbow, can also become compressed or entrapped, resulting in similar symptoms, such as pain, numbness, or a burning sensation. Anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injections are usually successful at treating this condition, but surgery may sometimes be necessary.

Contact Us

No matter what is causing pain within the elbow, the doctors at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin can create an appropriate treatment plan to restore comfort and movement for our patients. To learn more about the services available at our practice, call (512) 476-2830 or send us a message at your earliest convenience.