What are the medical conditions that cause elbow pain?

The common symptoms of tennis or golfer's elbow are overuse and injuries. Sometimes, they are caused due to certain conditions like:

  • Radiohumeral bursitis: This refers to inflammation caused in a bursa. Bursae are small sacs containing a liquid which acts as a lubricant the moving parts like muscles, joints, and tendons. Repetitive usage, exerting stress or injuries cause inflammation in the bursa.
  • Osteoarthritis: In this condition, the joint cartilage becomes brittle and starts to split. Sometimes, a part of the cartilage may break away and move within the fluid in the joints known as synovial fluid. This causes pain and inflammation.
  • Referred pain: If the vertebrae or the bones of the spine are injured, it can cause irritation in the nerves of the arm. It causes referred pain in the elbow.
  • Nerve entrapment: The main nerve of the arm is called radial nerve. If the movement of this nerve is restricted, it causes pain when the arm is stretched out. This main nerve is disturbed by the bone in the spine known as vertebrae or elbow joint. There is enough evidence to suggest that nerve entrapment causes pain in tennis elbow.
  • Ligament sprain: Ligaments are the bands of connective tissues that support and hold the joints together. These ligaments are torn sometimes, and this type of injury is called sprain.
  • Bone fracture: An accident may cause the bones to break or crack.
  • Avulsion fracture: Contraction in the muscle twists the tendons and takes out pieces of bone.
  • Osteochondritis dissecans: This is the condition where a small piece of bone or cartilage loosens in the joint.