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Leading Causes of Elbow Pain

Your elbow is a relatively underrated part of your body. It’s responsible for so much of your ability to move and perform various tasks, but you often don’t think about it until you bump it against the corner of the table. Because your elbow is vital to your daily functioning, it’s easy for it to become irritated and painful. Figuring out what’s causing your pain is the first step in getting pain-relieving treatment. 

Our team of four expert doctors and three experienced physician’s assistants at Rincon Pain & Spine specialize in identifying the source of your elbow pain and giving you the treatment you need. 

An overview of your elbow

Your elbow is one of the largest joints in your body. It bridges the gap from your hand and wrist to your shoulder and gives you the 180 degrees of mobility you need to extend and rotate your arm. 

A complex network of ligaments connects the humerus in your upper arm and the radius and ulna in your lower arm. At the same time, thick, fibrous bands called tendons join the muscles in your arm at the elbow joint.

Your elbow is designed for everything from keeping your arms from hitting your body as you walk to making it comfortable to sit at a keyboard and type for hours. 

Unfortunately, with great responsibility comes great risk, and your elbow is both one of the hardest working and most vulnerable parts of your anatomy. 

Most common causes of elbow pain

With so many important tissues, tendons, and other structures coming together at one point, it’s no wonder that your elbow can easily cause you pain. There are a few main reasons why your elbow is hurting: overuse, disease, and injury. 


From major league pitchers on the mound to factor workers on the assembly line, overuse of the elbow joint is the leading cause of elbow pain. You might know some of the conditions related to overuse as tennis or golfer’s elbow. That’s because these sports are famous for repetitive motions especially when it comes to the elbow joint. 

Whether they’re sports or work-related, these repetitive motions can cause inflammation known as bursitis and tendonitis, undue stress, pinched nerves, and even tendon tears in your elbow, any of which can be extremely painful. 


Sometimes, your elbow pain occurs through no fault of your own but due to an underlying disease attacking your bones and joints. Most often this disease is arthritis. The two types of arthritis that have the biggest impact on your elbow joint are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects your bones from rubbing against each other starts to break down, usually due to age. Rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of autoimmune disorder in which your own immune system attacks healthy cells. This kind of arthritis can result in painful bone erosion and joint deformity in your elbow. 


Other times, you’ve simply injured your elbow and are experiencing the resulting pain. Your elbow has incredible range of motion, but it does have it’s limitations. It’s very easy to hyperextend, dislocate, or fracture your elbow. This is especially common in contact sports but can happen to anyone. 

Treating your elbow pain

If you know you’ve been injured or are experiencing pain along with swelling, bruising, range of motion issues, weakness, tingling, or numbness, you should see one of our providers immediately. We’re proud to offer a comprehensive list of treatment options for you including: 

We seek to relieve your pain as conservatively as possible. A consultation and evaluation with one of our doctors can help us tailor a treatment plan to meet your exact needs. 

No matter what’s causing your elbow pain, you don’t have to suffer from it any longer. Our dedicated and skilled providers at two conveniently located offices in the Tucson area are ready to get you started on your journey to a pain-free life. 

If you’d like more information or would like to get started with a consultation, call our friendly staff or schedule an appointment online today.

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