Pain in One Elbow Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand pain in one elbow symptoms, including 7 causes & common questions.

Pain In One Elbow Symptom Checker

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Contents

  1. 7 Possible Pain In One Elbow Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics
  4. Related Articles

7 Possible Pain In One Elbow Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced pain in one elbow. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Elbow sprain

An elbow sprain is an injury of the tendons or muscles of the elbow.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: elbow pain, elbow pain from an injury

Symptoms that always occur with elbow sprain: elbow pain from an injury

Urgency: Self-treatment

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the muscles of the forearm to the side of the elbow.

It is caused by using the arm in repetitive motion, such as swinging a tennis racquet. The forearm muscles become weakened and damaged from overuse, putting strain on the tendons.

Most susceptible are people over 30 who work using overhead motion of the arm. Auto mechanics, painters, carpenters, and butchers are often affected, as well as anyone playing racquet sports,.

Symptoms begin gradually and consist of burning pain on the outside of the elbow, with loss of grip strength.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination with simple neurological tests that use the forearm muscles, such as shaking hands. X-rays or MRI may also be ordered.

Treatment involves rest; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers; physical therapy; an arm brace just below the elbow; and sometimes steroid injections. Surgery is rarely needed.

Using the right equipment, as well as proper technique for overhead motions of the arm, can help prevent the condition.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: elbow pain, pain in one elbow, hand weakness, pain in the thumb side of the elbow, elbow pain from overuse

Symptoms that always occur with tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis): elbow pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis)

Medial epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow) is similar to it's opposite cousin (Lateral Epicondylitis- Tennis Elbow). Both are caused by the overuse of the elbow, but this one is more frequent in golfers, bowlers, archers, and weight lifters.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: elbow pain, pain in one elbow, elbow pain from overuse, pain in the pinky side of the elbow

Symptoms that always occur with golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis): elbow pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Pain In One Elbow Symptom Checker

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Elbow (olecranon) bursitis

Bursae are small fluid-filled sacks located around the body in strategic locations to provide a cushion and help reduce friction. Olecranon bursitis, or elbow bursitis, is an inflammation of the bursa right on the angle of the elbow, causing pain.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: pain in one elbow, swollen elbow, warm and red elbow swelling, elbow pain from an injury, elbow bump

Symptoms that always occur with elbow (olecranon) bursitis: swollen elbow

Urgency: Self-treatment

Overuse elbow injury related to throwing motion

Overhand throwing places extremely high stresses on the elbow. In baseball pitchers and other throwing athletes, these high stresses are repeated many times and can lead to serious overuse injury.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: pain in one shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse, pain in one elbow, elbow pain from overuse, pain in the pinky side of the elbow

Symptoms that always occur with overuse elbow injury related to throwing motion: pain in one elbow, elbow pain from overuse

Urgency: Self-treatment

Elbow dislocation (radial head subluxation)

Radial head subluxation is a partial dislocation of a bone in the elbow called the radius. Dislocation means the bone slips out of its normal position.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: pain in one elbow, swollen elbow, difficulty moving the elbow, holding arm close to body because of pain, elbow pain from an injury

Symptoms that always occur with elbow dislocation (radial head subluxation): pain in one elbow

Symptoms that never occur with elbow dislocation (radial head subluxation): elbow locking

Urgency: In-person visit

Ulnar nerve entrapment of elbow

Ulnar nerve entrapment of elbow is also called cubital tunnel syndrome. The ulnar nerve begins at the spinal cord in the neck and runs down the arm into the hand. This very long nerve can become compressed, or entrapped, by other structures at certain points along the way. Entrapment often happens in the cubital tunnel, which is the narrow passage at the inside of the elbow.

The exact cause for entrapment may not be known. Fluid buildup and swelling inside the elbow; previous elbow fracture or dislocation; or leaning on the elbow for long periods of time can put pressure on the ulnar nerve inside the cubital tunnel.

Symptoms include numbness and tingling of the hand and fingers, sometimes leading to weakness and even muscle wasting in the hand.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, x-ray, and nerve conduction studies.

Treatment begins with wearing a supportive brace and adjusting activities to avoid further irritating the nerve. Surgery is usually not needed unless the nerve compression is causing weakness and loss of use in the hand.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: hand weakness, weakness in one hand, numbness in one hand, pain in one elbow, pain in one forearm

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain In One Elbow

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • How would you explain the cause of your elbow pain?
  • Where does your elbow hurt most?
  • Do you currently smoke?
  • Do you work with your hands for a lot of the day? (e.g. at a computer, doing manual tasks, etc.)

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your pain in one elbow. These questions are also covered.

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Pain In One Elbow Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced pain in one elbow have also experienced:

  • 14% Pain In One Shoulder
  • 6% Pain In One Arm
  • 4% Pain In One Shoulder Blade

People who have experienced pain in one elbow were most often matched with:

  • 33% Elbow Sprain
  • 33% Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
  • 33% Golfer'S Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

People who have experienced pain in one elbow had symptoms persist for:

  • 39% Over a month
  • 20% Less than a week
  • 18% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Pain In One Elbow Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your pain in one elbow