Elbow Pain

Elbow Pain

Elbow Pain: Understanding Causes & Treatment

We at Forest Hills Rehabilitation have an extensive background in treating patients with all types of elbow conditions and injuries. Through physical therapy, sports medicine, chiropractic, and rehabilitation techniques, we have successfully helped many patients like you with gentle conservative protocols.

This article will help you to identify some of the most common causes of elbow pain with tips to help prevent and resolve these potentially disabling conditions.

A more in depth discussion of elbow injuries follows:

Anatomy of the Elbow


The elbow joint is quite complex and allows for hinge-like movement with flexion/extension, and rotation (pronation/supination).

The bones of the elbow, like most joints are kept intact with fibrous bands called ligaments, that prevent excessive movement in any direction. Additionally multiple muscles attach at or around the elbow joint and as such provide multiple possibilities for complex injuries.

Injury to the sensitive structures around the elbow, or inflammatory conditions such as bursitis or tendonitis often respond well to conservative physical therapy. Conversely if left untreated, may require more invasive medical treatments such as injections or even surgery. The following is a partial list of conditions that we treat successfully at our office:

The biceps muscle in a large muscle that works to bend the elbow as well as elevate the shoulder. This muscle is connected to the bones above and below the arm by a thick strong tendon. There are two heads to the biceps muscle, the long head and the short head. With repetitive use, the biceps tendon can become inflamed and painful during use.

Symptoms may include pain, burning, weakness, swelling.

The bursa is a slippery sac between the skin and the bones at the tip of the elbow. The bursa allows the skin to move freely over the underlying bone. Normally, the bursa is flat. If it becomes irritated or inflamed due to repetitive movement, a condition known as olecranon bursitis develops.

Symptoms may include pain, burning, weakness, swelling.

Golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis) is an inflammatory disorder. Golfer's elbow results when the muscles that flex the wrist are overused. This overuse results in swelling or inflammation of the muscle tendons. Golfer's elbow is named as such due to its common occurrence in people who play the sport. Repetitive flexing of the wrist contributes to this disorder.

Symptoms may include pain, burning, weakness, swelling on the inner portion of the elbow.

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is also an inflammatory disorder. Tennis elbow results when the muscles that extend the wrist are overused. This overuse results in swelling or inflammation of the muscle tendons. This inflammation causes pain and discomfort at the outer aspect of the elbow joint.

Symptoms may include pain, burning, weakness, swelling on the outer portion of the elbow.

The cause and the nature of the elbow injuries of course dictates the appropriate course of physical therapy or medical treatment.

Elbow conditions can be a stubborn condition occasionally requiring medical intervention, but is often times solved through the appropriate course of conservative therapy.

The bad news is that if left untreated, scar tissue develops which can lead to other more serious conditions, and can make reversal more difficult.

Since many elbow conditions present with the same symptoms, it is important to get evaluated by a trained clinician ASAP. At Forest Hills Rehabilitation, our doctors and physical therapists are specifically trained to diagnose and treat all types of elbow injuries, but don’t guess if this condition will get better on its own – because it probably won’t!

The doctors and physical therapists at Forest Hills Rehabilitation have been helping patients just like you recover from serious elbow injuries, without surgery for more than 15 years.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with a elbow injuries call our office today to see how our techniques can benefit you.

(718) 520-8480

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Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 9am – 8pm
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108-14 72nd Avenue
4th Floor
Forest Hills, NY

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Between Queens Blvd. & Austin St.

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