Common Causes of Elbow Pain

Common Causes of Elbow Pain

The elbow is an important joint in our arm’s structure. It allows you to bend and twist your arm, making most arm movements, like throwing a ball or doing a push-up, possible. Unfortunately, because of its importance in our daily lives, elbow injuries can be very common. Continue reading to learn a few common causes of elbow pain, and how exercise and stretching can help reduce your risk!


If you’ve ever noticed a persistent aching or dull pain in your elbow that appears to worsen with activity, you might have tendonitis. Elbow tendonitis occurs when the tendons connecting the joint to the muscle become inflamed.

This pain can occur outside the elbow and is called tennis elbow, or may occur inside the elbow and is known as golfer’s elbow. Elbow tendonitis is often seen in athletes and active individuals, especially those whose sports involve repetitive upper arm movements like bowling, golf, and weightlifting.


Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that help lubricate the joints. They’re located in most major joints, most notably the knees, shoulders, and elbows, and help to reduce friction when these joints move.

Everyday activities that involve repetitive bending of the elbow can cause the bursa to become inflamed. Signs of bursitis typically involve pain outside the elbow and a noticeable redness, swelling, or tenderness around the inflamed bursa. Unfortunately, this condition cannot be treated conservatively and should be seen by your primary care provider.

Nerve Entrapment

Whether caused by a sudden impact or gradual overuse, sometimes nerves can become trapped between bone or connective tissue. The radial and ulnar nerves are commonly the nerves that suffer from this condition within the elbow.

A common sign of a pinched nerve may feel like your arm is falling asleep. Numbness and tingling that radiates down the arm and into the hand is also a common sign of a trapped nerve. Nerve entrapment can become a serious problem if it is compressed too tightly or for long periods. Without proper treatment, permanent nerve damage and muscle wasting can leave your arm weakened in the long term.

Avoiding Elbow Pain

Stretching and warming up before working out or performing hobbies can help reduce your risk of injury, strengthen your muscles and joints, and improve your range of motion. Try these three exercises and stretches below!

*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling, or reproduction of your symptoms, contact your doctor.

Lacrosse Ball Flexors & Extensors Exercise


  • Sit at a table or an object similar to the height of a table.
  • Place the lacrosse ball into the meatier portion of the inner forearm.
  • Apply the opposite pressure with your hand and scan for any tender spots in that area.
  • When you find a tender spot, hold it for a few seconds.
  • Complete this exercise for one minute twice a day.


  • For the wall modification, you will place a lacrosse ball on the outside portion of the forearm.
  • Then place your arm on the wall and apply pressure.  You are working from above the wrist and below the elbow, looking for areas of tenderness.
  • When you find an area of tenderness, hold on to that area until it lessens, and then search for another location that may be a little uncomfortable.
  • If you have any tingling and or numbness, lessen the pressure or move away from that spot.
  • Complete for one minute twice a day.

Flexors & Extensors Stretch

  • Extend one arm out in front of the body with the elbow straight.
  • Use the other hand to grasp it across the fingers and bend the wrist up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat by grasping across the knuckles and bending the wrist downwards.
  • Hold again for 30 seconds.
  • Perform this once to twice daily.

Grip Squeeze

  • Bend the affected arm at 90 degrees
  • Move your shoulder blade down and back.
  • Grab something like a stress ball or something you can squeeze easily with your hand.
  • Squeeze and hold for one second, then slowly release.
  • Complete two sets of 5 reps twice a day.

Throw Your Pain Away For Good

Since several conditions can appear as elbow pain, it’s important to seek treatment from a medical professional. If you’re struggling with elbow pain or a nagging injury that just won’t go away, consider scheduling an appointment with Airrosti.

Airrosti Providers aim to resolve injuries like elbow pain at the source rather than treating the symptoms through hands-on manual therapy. Airrosti Providers will also create a personalized treatment plan and resources to help your recovery! 

We offer both in-office and telehealth appointments to best suit your needs. For more information, call us at (800) 404-6050.

Read our Medical Disclaimer here.

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