Lateral Elbow Pain or in simple terms Pain on Outer Side of Elbow can occur due to many reasons. It could be from an injury or from some medical condition. Pain on outer side of elbow is also commonly known as lateral epicondylitis.
What Does Pain on Outer Side of Elbow Indicate?
Pain on the outer side of the elbow can indicate the following conditions:
Tennis Elbow is actually a general term used for referring to pain on the outer side of the elbow. The cause for this is degeneration or inflammation of the tendon of the wrist extensor muscles at the point where they insert into the elbow. This condition occurs from repetitive use of arm and elbow, such as seen in certain occupations such as typing, carpentry, knitting, playing tennis etc. Tennis elbow is also known by other names including extensor tendinopathy or lateral epicondylitis. Along with feeling pain on outer side of elbow, patient also experiences the following symptoms: pain when lifting something, pain when shaking hands, pain when gripping something and pain upon extending the arm. Treatment for pain on the outer side of the elbow resulting from tennis elbow consists of icing the area, NSAIDs for pain relief, use of elbow strap, steroid injections and physical therapy.
Osteochondritis Dissecans is a condition where there is fragmentation of the cartilage and in some cases the underlying bone due to decreased blood flow. Osteochondritis dissecans in the elbow joint produces pain in the outer side of the elbow. Other associated symptoms include tenderness, swelling, joint weakness, joint locking or popping, and reduced range of motion of the elbow joint. Treatment consists of rest, pain medications, physical therapy and in severe cases, surgery is needed.
Radial Tunnel Syndrome
Pain on outer side of elbow can also be an indication of radial nerve entrapment or radial tunnel syndrome where there is compression of the radial nerve in the tunnel in which it passes. The cause for this condition is injury to the elbow, inflammation and bone tumors. Along with pain on outer side of elbow, patient experiences symptoms which include sharp pain on top of the hand and pain upon extending the hand and wrist. Treatment for pain on outer side of elbow occurring as a result of radial tunnel syndrome consists of NSAIDs for pain relief, corticosteroid injections for relief of inflammation and splinting of the elbow.
Pain on the outer side of the elbow can be an indication of Radiohumeral Bursitis where there is inflammation of the bursa present between the bone and the tendon. This condition is similar to tennis elbow. Additional symptoms consist of tenderness, stiffness, and redness of the elbow joint. Treatment consists of pain medications, ice application, cortisone injections and surgery in severe cases.
Elbow Joint Synovitis
Pain on the outer side of the elbow can also be an indication of synovitis of the elbow joint where the there is inflammation of the synovial membrane which covers the elbow joint. Causes include injury, infection, overuse of the elbow joint and arthritis. Other symptoms include stiffness in the elbow joint, nodule formation and decreased range of motion of the elbow joint. Treatment for relief of pain on the outer side of the elbow occurring as a result of synovitis of the elbow joint consists of rest, ice application, elbow braces, NSAIDs for pain relief and physical therapy.