Elbow discomfort, agony and pain usually develops because of overusing your forearm muscles, flexors and extensors to type, hold, grip or move various materials, heavy or light weight.
But here is the thing…
The pain usually starts out as nothing.
It may be nothing more than a light tingle or a light electrical shock passing through your forearm from time to time.
And you rarely give it a second thought.
However, if the pain persists, it is crucial that you must get it checked.
This pain can cause you to lose your grip on the simplest of things such as a pen.
If you have elbow pain and trouble gripping, here are some of the causes that you should know and avoid, followed by the treatment methods.
As it turns out, there are just 9 reasons and conditions you really need to be aware of:
1. Elbow Avulsion Fracture:
A very harmful cause of elbow pain that results in gripping problems is a condition known as elbow avulsion fracture.
This fracture occurs when the tendon gets pulled away from the bone and in the process it removes a small chunk of bone.
This is why it is so important to get a X-ray when an avulsion fracture occurs.
This kind of fracture causes difficulty in even moving your arm so holding and maintaing a tight grip on things is out of the question.
As soon as the injury occurs, the affected area swells and bruises.
If the removed part of the bone and the main bone are too far apart, then surgery will be required.
But if the injury is not so severe, casting is recommended till the bone mends.
Icing can help alleviate the pain.
No doubt about it …. Always visit your doctor to have this condition verified.
2. Radial Tunnel Syndrome:
The radial nerve is a very important nerve.
It runs from the neck to the arm and crosses the elbow along the way.
The radial nerve enters a narrow tunnel in the elbow which is called the radial tunnel.
So, the radial tunnel syndrome is caused when the radial nerve gets restricted in its passageway and pressure is applied on it.
When trying to straighten the elbow, the patients experience a needle-like poking sensation.
It is a dull aching pain which gradually travels up the arm.
The radial tunnel syndrome is also a cause of elbow pain and causes trouble with gripping.
The treatment for this is the same as that for a tennis elbow.
Medical professionals recommend icing your arm and to avoid any repetitive movements.
What’s more …
Soft tissue massages with anti-inflammatory medication also helps treat this condition.
Be sure to check out this article from Arthritis Research UK on other kinds of elbow conditions.
3. Golfer’s Elbow:
A golfer’s elbow is mostly like a tennis elbow; it is caused by overusing the muscles in your arm.
The pain radiates to your forearm and usually focuses on the bony bit of your elbow.
The golfer’s elbow is mostly caused by repetitive motions such as swinging which cause tears in your muscles and the tears associate with them extreme pain.
It is a form of elbow tendinitis and despite its name, the golfer’s elbow is not commonly caused in golfers.
For Golfer Elbow’s treatment, apply the PRICE principles which stand for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Avoid any repetitive motions such as throwing things.
Icing/cold therapy should also be done for at least 15-20 minutes to relax your muscle and help relieve elbow pain associated with trouble in gripping.
Rest is very important for healing.
Your physiotherapist may often use laser treatment to heal your wounds faster.
If the injury becomes chronic, apply heat to stimulate blood flow.
But that is just part of the story…
4. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome:
The Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, which can cause a weak grip and pain in your elbow, usually revolves around the ulnar nerve getting compressed in its tunnel.
The ulnar nerve is also known as the ‘funny bone’ nerve.
This syndrome can also be caused by keeping the elbow stretched for a long time.
It can cause numbing or a tingling sensation in your arm.
You may start feeling weak and often lose control of your motor control skills.
This is what may cause difficulty in maintaing a tight grip on objects.
The treatment for this syndrome include icing your arm.
This will reduce pain and inflammation and will relax your muscles.
It is also recommended to avoid any kind of repetitive motions such as manual work like carpentry or playing musical instruments.
Anti-inflammatory medication may also help you relieve of pain.
And we don’t stop there …
But before we go on …
Do not miss my in-depth post with loads of golden nuggets on 9 reasons for sharp elbow pain – with tips on how to stop it quickly from home.
5. Median Nerve Injury:
The median nerve has a major role and is often known as the eye of the hand.
This may result in an inability to turn or move the hand because this injury is usually caused near the wrist and hand.
The thenar muscles may be completely paralysed, causing restricted movement for your thumb or no movement at all.
This injury is commonly caused by extremely deep injuries such as blunt force trauma.
Daily activities such as brushing your teeth or hair, tying your shoe laces, opening the door may become difficult because of the inability of your thumb to move.
You may also experience weakness and sensory loss in your fingers which can cause you to drop things frequently and without warning.
Because median nerve injury is usually the result of another injury, you should first treat the initial injury.
This will help is getting rid of some of the symptoms.
As with all the other conditions …
Icing/cold therapy is also said to work as it relaxes the muscles.
Elevation and compression should also be applied to reduce swelling of the muscles and get rid of the pressure on the median nerve.
6. Hook of Hamate Fracture:
Your wrist comprises of carpal bones which are small bones.
The hamate is a carpal bone which protrudes outwards with a hook-like shape.
The hamate bone is located near your pinky finger and can be easily injured.
The hand may become extremely tender to move or press.
The Hamate fracture is caused when you are gripping something, a golf club for example, which, when swung, hits the floor or a pillar.
A sharp force, to be precise.
This can cause a stress fracture which should be treated as early as possible.
Otherwise it may become a full fracture, leaving you with more elbow pain than ever.
If the stress fracture is not treated early, doctors will most likely remove the hamate bone from the hand.
It is also recommended to keep your hand in a cast for sometime.
When the cast is removed, strengthening exercises should be done to make the muscles flexible.
Hamate fractures are usually rare but can be easily caused.
7. Triquetrum Fracture:
Fracturing of the triquetrum bone is another cause of elbow pain which leads to trouble in gripping.
As you already know, the hand consists of small bones called carpal bones.
One of these bones is called the triquetrum which can be caused because of the application of pressure on an outstretched hand.
After the scaphoid, the triquetrum bone in the most common carpal bone to be damaged.
This pain which will be associated with the injury may cause reduced mobility of the hand and swelling.
Triquetrum fracture is also more commonly caused by car accidents or sports such as skate boarding.
Treatment for such a fracture includes placing the hand in a cast to reform the carpal bone.
After a fixed time, the cast can be removed.
The hand should then be given soft tissue massages with ice and heat.
Perform exercises to increase flexibility and to regain motor functions as soon as possible.
Be sure to check out this post from VeryWellHealth.com on other elbow injuries and causes of discomfort….some good tips in there!
8. Radiohumeral Bursitis:
The Radiohumeral bursitis is very similar to the tennis elbow.
It is mainly caused because of the inflammation of a small pouch of fluid.
This fluid moistens the bone and sits between the tendon and bone.
Radiohumeral bursitis accompanies with it pain, tenderness and swelling, maybe even fever in severe cases.
If it is not detected and treated early, an infection will most likely form.
The cause of Radiohumeral bursitis is not commonly known but it is said to be caused by a sharp blow or any form of force used against the elbow.
If you suffer from Radiohumeral bursitis, it is suggested that you rest the inflamed area as much as you can.
Rest your elbow in a sling and ingest anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the tenderness and swelling.
Move your elbow to avoid a numb and frozen elbow.
Wiggle it or move your fingers or hand and rotate it.
9. Tennis elbow:
A tennis elbow develops when you experience pain on the outside of the elbow.
The tendons connected to the elbow become inflamed due to gripping a tennis racket, knitting or even weight lifting.
Repetitive movement can cause tears on the muscles of your elbow joint.
This also causes elbow pain and trouble with gripping.
It prevents you from doing simple things such as a handshake.
The treatment for a tennis elbow involves a good amount of rest and icing the elbow.
Icing helps reduce the pain and inflammation.
Use an elbow strap to keep your elbow in one solid position so as to avoid any further strain.
Occasionally use anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation.
But here is what you must understand …
All the things mentioned about is only for short term pain relief and NOT a permanent fix for tennis elbow.
But that is ok because…
I have put together 5 easy steps that are fail-proof that ARE a PERMANENT fix for tennis elbow.
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