Common Elbow Problems

The elbow area includes muscles, tendons, bones, and nerves. These structures are also connected to your hand and arm. This means a painful elbow problem can affect hand and arm movement.

Epicondylitis: Inflamed Tissues

Using your elbow or hand the wrong way can cause an elbow muscle or tendon to become strained, inflamed, or torn. For example, gripping objects too tightly or repeatedly bending your elbow or wrist may lead to epicondylitis. Your elbow may feel warm and become red and swollen. Sharp pain can make it hard to grip, turn your hand, or swing your swing arm.


You can crack or shatter a bone in your elbow. This can happen by falling or by bumping your elbow on a hard object. Pain and swelling may then make motion nearly impossible.


A sharp blow or constant banging can cause swelling and pain in the bursa, a fluid-filled cushion at the tip of your elbow.

Irritated Nerve

You may irritate the ulnar nerve by striking or leaning too hard on your elbow. Your elbow aches, and your ring finger may be tingly or numb.