Common Elbow Injuries

Person holding their elbow

Most elbow injuries are due to overuse. The most common are:

  • Golfer's elbow – a form of overuse injury in which the inner tendons of the elbow become sore.
  • Tennis elbow – a form of overuse injury in which the tendons connecting the outer elbow become inflamed.
  • Fractures.

Golfer's elbow and tennis elbow.

Overuse injuries of the elbow develop when repetitive movements damage the tendons of the elbow.

Many people think that "golfer's elbow" or "tennis elbow" occurs only because of repetitive movements in golf or tennis. But these tendon injuries are caused by many other daily activities, such as repetitive office work, like clicking and moving a mouse. Athletes who practice overhead throwing, or soccer and baseball players, are also prone to elbow tendonitis. 

The symptoms of elbow tendonitis are:

  • Pain on the inside of the elbow and forearm or on the outside of the elbow and forearm.
  • Pain during movements, such as rotating the wrist, making a fist or bending the elbow.
  • Elbow swelling.

Treatment of overuse elbow injuries includes rest, pain medication, and, if necessary, drug injections. In rare cases, chronic elbow tendonitis may occur that does not go away and may require surgery to repair the tendons.