Tennis elbow pain usually starts small and slowly increases, although occasionally (if rarely) the pain comes suddenly and as though out of nowhere. With tennis elbow, it can hurt to shake hands or squeeze an object. Any activity involving the elbow joint then exacerbates the pain (lifting, brushing teeth etc.).

Tennis elbow should not be ignored, and it is unlikely to go away on its own. While pain from tennis elbow starts on the outside of the elbow, if the condition is left untreated, the pain can spread down the arm all the way to the wrist. When this happens, simple tasks liking turning a key in a lock or open a door become painful and difficult, if not impossible.


Treatments that may be indicated for pain relief from tennis elbow include:

  • Ice

  • Rest

  • Graded exercise programs

  • Myofascial release

  • Cross friction massage

  • Joint manipulation

  • Mobilization (in the subacute phase)

Posterior Tennis Elbow (Triceps Tendonitis):

Also known as posterior elbow tendinitis, the difference between posterior tennis elbow and tennis elbow is in the part of the joint that’s affected. In “regular” tennis elbow, it’s the outside of the elbow. In posterior tennis elbow, it’s the back or underside of the elbow that’s involved.

At risk are people who frequently do any activities/motions that rapidly extend the arm, such as:

  • Throwing

  • Serving

  • Certain weightlifting exercises (specifically those involving the triceps and the ulna)

  • Punching (lending to the condition’s sometimes nickname “Boxer’s Elbow”).

Indicated treatment for posterior tennis elbow includes:

  • Myofacial release

  • Cross friction

  • Massage

  • Ice

  • Rest

Golfer’s Elbow or Medial Epicondylitis:

Golfer’s elbow is also quite similar to tennis elbow, the only real differences being, as with posterior tennis elbow, the location of the pain and the activities/motions that cause it. With golfer’s elbow, instead of the outside or back or the elbow being affected, it’s the inside of the elbow that is.

With golfer’s elbow, a person may feel a shooting pain down the inside of their forearm as they’re trying to grip an object. Golfer’s elbow can be caused by a single violent jolt, but more often it is a form of repetitive stress injury, in which pain develops gradually over time as the repetitive actions continue being taken and the condition, untreated, worsens. Obviously golfers are particularly susceptible to this condition but so are other types of people, some not even athletes – such as a “weekend carpenter” who uses hand tools.

As far as treatment is concerned, golfer’s elbow is so similar to tennis elbow that their recommended treatments are virtually identical. It is important to note, however, that golfer’s elbow is not to be taken lightly, as the longer the condition lasts, the longer it will take to treat it.

Posterior Impingement Syndrome:

Also known as Posterior Elbow Impingement, as distinct from Posterior Ankle Impingement, Posterior Impingement Syndrome, is caused by repeated overextension of the arm, especially when the motion is forced, such as when throwing. The injury starts with this repeated forced extension of the arm causing the tip of one bone to jam into the hollow of another. This leads initially to an inflammation of the joint lining, but if left untreated can lead to pain in the cartilage and bone as well.

Symptoms of elbow impingement are generally felt as tenderness or pain in the back of the elbow, particularly while attempting to straighten the elbow or throw an object. The elbow may swell up, and become stiff, with an increasing difficulty in fully straighten the arm out. Pain generally starts out gradually and develops over time with continued aggravation and no treatment.

People especially prone to posterior impingement syndrome include:

  • Swimmers

  • Boxers

  • Racket sport players

Treatment for Posterior Impingement Syndrome:

  • Rest

  • Ice

  • Bracing

  • Taping

  • Occasionally, however, a surgical referral may be made.

Little League Elbow:

An overuse injury occurring in young little league baseball players (and especially pitchers) around the age of puberty (ages 9-16), little league elbow is caused by repeated forced throwing. What happens is the ligament that attaches to the inside of the elbow starts to tug at one of the growth plates, pulling it away from the bone. The growth plate is extremely important at this stage in a child’s life because it is the site where the muscle groups attach that are responsible for flexing the rest and rotating the arm with palm facing down. Because a pubescent child is still growing – and obviously that includes his bones – it causes the dislocated growth plate to become weak and injury prone. Then, when tissue starts breaking down from the overuse of the arm and elbow, it breaks down too fast for the body to be able to repair it.

Little league elbow can be caused or worsened by:

  • Throwing the ball too hard

  • Throwing the ball too often

  • Upping the number of weekly pitches too fast and too soon

  • Throwing too many sliders or curve balls at too young an age

  • Switching into a league that has the pitcher’s mound located farther away than the child is used to from home plate, or the mound is raised, and the child has never thrown from an elevated mound before

Symptoms of little league elbow include:

  • Pain when throwing overhead

  • Pain located around the bony knob situated on the inside of the elbow

  • Swelling and inflammation

  • Redness

  • Warmth

  • Pain when lifting heavy objects or gripping something

Treatments include:

  • Rest

  • Changing activities

  • Learning how to do the same activities in a healthier and safer manner

  • Practicing warm-up stretching before activity

  • Occasionally, however, an orthopedic consult may be needed.

Olecranon Bursitis:

Bursae are the joint’s shock absorbers. They are the gelatinous sacs referred to at the beginning of this article which cushion the bones that meet at a joint. Olecranon bursitis (also known as elbow bursitis) is when the bursa in the elbow joint is injured, irritated, or inflamed. 

There are several things that cause elbow bursitis:

  • Traumatic injury

  • Extreme pressure for prolonged periods of time (like leaning on a desk for a long time)

  • Infection

  • Certain medical conditions including gout and rheumatoid arthritis

The bursa of the elbow joint is located at the tip of the elbow, between the bones of the elbow and the loose skin surrounding it. Its purpose is to enable the skin free movement over the bone beneath. Usually this bursa is flat, but when it becomes injured or irritated it can become inflamed.

The main sign of olecranon bursitis is inflammation, though since the skin around it is so loose, it is sometimes hard to notice right away. But over time, untreated, further inflammation develops, causing pain and eventual difficulty moving the elbow. If an infection is involved, then redness and swelling might also be present.

Treatments includes:

  • Ice and ultrasound.

If you are experiencing elbow pain, then contact Synergy Chiropractic Winfield, today to schedule an appointment and see what chiropractic care can do for you!

Tennis Elbow and Elbow Pain

Elbow pain is a common issue we address in our office. It is most common in a person’s dominant arm. Some of the most common causes of elbow pain follow below.

Tennis elbow:

Tennis elbow is a pain or soreness that is felt on the outside of the elbow. A form of tendonitis, it is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons connecting the forearm muscles (the ulna and radius) to the elbow joint. Specifically, tennis elbow involves the muscles and tendons that connect to the bony spur on the outside of the elbow (called the lateral epicondyle). This damage is most frequently caused by overuse of the joint, particularly when that overuse is repetitive.

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