Health blog

Top three causes of elbow pain when extending your arm

February 6th, 2021
Elbow Pain When Extending

Extending your arm is a movement you make every day, and you probably don’t think much about it until you start to feel pain in your elbow when extending your arm. Fortunately, you can turn to a physical therapist for help with treating your painful elbow. 

Elbow pain is far less common than shoulder, neck or back pain. However, there are up to 7 out of every 1,000 Americans who develop lateral elbow pain every year. The first step you’ll need to take to start treating your elbow pain is learn what’s causing it, and physical therapists have the knowledge to help you learn the cause of your pain. These specialists can help you find effective treatment for elbow pain when extending your arm as well. 

These are three of the top causes of elbow pain

Feeling elbow pain when you’re extending your arm can often be linked to either elbow tendons or nerves. Both of these structures are working when you bend your elbow, and they can easily be injured, too. Three of the top conditions that can affect your elbow tendons or nerves are: 

  1. Golfer’s elbow — This condition is also called medial epicondylitis, and it has this name because it affects the medial epicondyle tendon on the inside of your elbow. Moving your elbow can lead to pain when you have golfer’s elbow. You might also have swelling or tenderness on the inside of the affected elbow.
  1. Tennis elbowLateral epicondylitis is another name for tennis elbow. It occurs when the lateral epicondyle tendon in the outer elbow is inflamed. This inflammation can trigger pain on the outside of the elbow when it’s moved. The outside of the elbow may also be tender to the touch or swollen. 
  1. Cubital tunnel syndrome — The cubital tunnel is a structure in the elbow through which the ulnar nerve passes. Cubital tunnel syndrome can cause an aching or burning pain in the elbow. It can also commonly trigger numbness and tingling in the ring and pinkie fingers. These are especially likely when the elbow is bent. 

How can a physical therapist treat your elbow pain?

Physical therapists have many techniques they can use to treat pain in your elbow when extending your arm. A few of the techniques your therapy plan may include are: 

  • Dry needling intended to reduce tension in soft tissue in and around the affected elbow. 
  • Therapeutic exercises that can help improve strength and reduce tension in muscles that support your elbows. 
  • Work conditioning designed to help you return to work faster after a work-related elbow injury. 
  • Manual therapy that focuses on improving the flexibility of your elbow joints. 

Get effective treatment for elbow pain when extending your arm at Rehab Access PT

Not sure where to turn for help with the elbow pain you feel when extending your arm? Look no further than our team at Rehab Access Physical Therapy. Our specialists can evaluate your painful elbow to determine exactly what’s causing your pain. We can then create a personalized therapy plan for you that’s designed to reduce your pain. You can even use our virtual therapy service to work with our physical therapists without leaving home. 

Contact our team today for more information about the therapy options we offer for elbow pain or to schedule an initial appointment.