Trying a new hobby or activity can be exciting, but if you’re not used to the movements or exercises it may leave you with painful injuries. Additional pressure or repetitive motions from hobbies like baking, athletics, painting, or building can lead to several elbow conditions. Continue reading to learn more about hobbies and elbow pain, and how to reduce your risks!
Common Causes of Elbow Pain
Elbow pain can happen to anyone. It’s often seen in athletes and handy professionals like bakers, artists, or tradesmen. While elbow pain may be caused by several factors, some include:
- Overuse: Repetitive swinging and bending motions can cause the bursa to become irritated from long-term use. Athletics and professions that require repetitive elbow movements, like throwing objects or lifting weights, are more likely to experience an elbow-related injury due to overuse.
- Compression: Even seated activities can irritate the bursa if the elbow is compressed or put under pressure for too long. Many students and office workers develop elbow pain due to posture while typing or writing.
- Impact: A traumatic injury from a fall or blow to the elbow is another common cause of elbow pain or related conditions. An acute injury with enough force can set off inflammation.
Elbow Pain-Related Conditions
While your hobbies or activities may be fun, accidents, poor form, or repetitive motions can increase your risk of developing painful elbow conditions, such as:
- Tendonitis (Triceps or Bicep)
- Nerve Entrapment (Ulnar or Radial)
- Medial or Lateral Epicondylitis
- Olecranon Bursitis (Baker’s Elbow)
While most of the above conditions can be conservatively treated through hands-on therapy and rehab, baker’s elbow, unfortunately, cannot. Olecranon bursitis is a condition caused by irritation or inflammation of the olecranon bursa. The olecranon bursa, a small, fluid-filled sac located at the tip of the elbow, helps reduce friction in the joint during movement.
When the elbow is injured or overused, the bursa can become inflamed, causing elbow pain, redness, and swelling. One distinguishing sign of bursitis is the appearance of a “popeyed elbow,” where the elbow becomes visibly swollen and appears to pop out of the arm. If you are suffering from baker’s elbow, seek treatment from your primary care provider.
Elbow Pain Prevention Tips
Wear Protective Gear During Activity
Even though protective gear like elbow pads and arm wraps may not be comfortable or stylish, they’re still far more effective at minimizing injuries than your bare skin. Make safety your priority and wear protective gear when working or playing to protect yourself from sidelining injuries.
Take Frequent Breaks to Avoid Overuse
Listen to your body. If you start noticing signs of fatigue, soreness, or pain during an activity, stop what you’re doing and take a break. Give yourself a chance to cool down, stretch a little, and recover. Taking regular breaks throughout the day can also help you adjust your posture.
Improve Seated Posture to Reduce Compression
Speaking of posture, how long have you been sitting at your desk? The longer you sit, stand, or remain stationary in one position, the more tired your muscles get. Eventually, you may start slouching, which can cause you to rely on your arms and elbows to prop yourself up leading to increased pressure on your elbows.
To avoid slouching, be conscious of your posture. Practicing good posture habits can also help improve your breathing and make your body stronger in the long run.
Build Arm Strength for Extra Support
Strengthening the muscles around the elbow can help provide stability and support, making repetitive activities less stressful for the elbow joint. Stronger forearms are also helpful for movements involving wrists, like typing or writing. Add these quick wrist flexion and extension exercises to your daily routine to help build forearm strength.
Strong upper arm muscles can also help stabilize your elbow joint while facilitating most overhead movements like throwing and lifting. Try adding some upper arm exercises to your workout routine, like bicep curls or this easy triceps extension movement, to get started.
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling, or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.
Keep Pain at Arm’s Length
If pain from an elbow-related injury is holding you back, consider scheduling an appointment with Airrosti!
Our Providers will conduct a thorough evaluation to help find the root cause of your pain and develop a personalized treatment plan for your injury. Airrosti Providers also share resources and tools you can use to boost your recovery, strengthen your muscles, and help prevent future injuries.
Airrosti offers both in-office and telehealth appointments to best suit your needs. For more information, call us today at (800) 404-6050.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here