Skip to content

Pain Management Health Center

Select An Article

Elbow Pain

Font Size

How is the elbow designed and what is its function?

The elbow is the joint where three long bones meet in the middle portion of the arm. The bone of the upper arm (humerus) meets the inner bone of the forearm (ulna) and the outer bone of the forearm (radius) to form a hinge joint. The radius and ulna also meet in the elbow to allow for rotation of the forearm.

 The elbow functions to move the arm like a hinge (forward and backward) and in rotation (twisting outward and inward). The biceps muscle is the major muscle that flexes the elbow hinge. The triceps muscle is the major muscle that extends the elbow hinge. The outer bone of the elbow is referred to as the lateral epicondyle and is a part of the humerus bone. Tendons are attached to this area and can be injured, causing inflammation or tendinitis (lateral epicondylitis, or "tennis elbow"). 

Recommended Related to Pain Management

Is Your Pain Acute or Chronic?

Pain is a normal part of life: a skinned knee, a tension headache, a bone fracture. But sometimes pain becomes chronic -- a problem to explore with your doctor.  WebMD asked Eduardo Fraifeld, MD, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, to help readers understand acute vs. chronic pain.

Read the Is Your Pain Acute or Chronic? article > >

The inner portion of the elbow is a bony prominence called the medial epicondyle. Additional tendons from the muscles attached here can be injured, causing medial epicondylitis, or "golfer's elbow." A fluid-filled sac (bursa), which serves to reduce friction, overlies the tip of the elbow (olecranon bursa). Bumping the tip of the elbow can irritate this bursa. The elbow can be affected by inflammation of the tendons or the bursae (plural for bursa), or conditions that affect the bones and joints, such as fractures, arthritis, or nerve irritation.

 

What injuries can cause elbow pain?

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

pain in brain and nerves
Top causes and how to find relief.
knee exercise
8 exercises for less knee pain.
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
 
illustration of nerves in hand
Slideshow
lumbar spine
Slideshow
 
Woman opening window
Slideshow
Man holding handful of pills
Video
 
Woman shopping for vegetables
Slideshow
Sore feet with high heel shoes
Slideshow
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
man with a migraine
Slideshow