Read below about pain in one elbow, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your pain in one elbow from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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10 Potential Pain in One Elbow Causes

  1. 1.Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

    Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) is soreness or pain on the outside of the upper arm near the elbow.

    2-3 weeks and up to 12 months

    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
  2. 2.Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow

    Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow is the compression of the ulnar nerve, causing numbness and/or weakness in the hands.

    Mild symptoms resolve on their own, severe disease resolves with surgery

    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
  3. 3.Non - Specific Elbow Pain

    Elbow pain can be caused by a host of things, but is often idiopathic (without cause).

    1-2 days

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    elbow pain, pain in one elbow
    Symptoms that always occur with non-specific elbow pain:
    pain in one elbow
    Symptoms that never occur with non-specific elbow pain:
    recent elbow injury
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.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.

    Symptoms should resolve within a week on their own.

    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
  5. 5.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.

    Days with treatment

    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

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  6. 6.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.

    6-12 months depending on rest

    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
  7. 7.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.

    6-9 weeks with rest

    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
  8. 8.Elbow Bruise

    A bruise is the damage of the blood vessels that return blood to the heart (the capillaries and veins), which causes pooling of the blood. This explains the blue/purple color of most bruises. Bruises of the elbow are common, often due to minor injury.

    Bruises tend to begin healing within one week.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    constant elbow pain, pain in one elbow, recent elbow injury, elbow pain from an injury, swollen elbow
    Symptoms that always occur with elbow bruise:
    recent elbow injury, elbow pain from an injury, constant elbow pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  9. 9.Osteoid Osteoma

    An osteoid osteoma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor that usually develops in the long bones of the legs. The thigh bone (femur) is affected most commonly, although the bones of the hand or the spine can have occasional involvement. This condition is most often found in young people.

    Good prognosis, 90% chance that the condition will not come back. A short recovery time after surgery is expected.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, upper back pain, spontaneous back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, severe back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with osteoid osteoma:
    hip pain, bilateral leg swelling, weakness in both arms, weakness of both legs
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Synovial Chondromatosis

    Synovial chondromatosis is a disease affecting the synovium, which is a thin flexible membrane around a joint. It can often be confused with tendinitis and/or arthritis.

    Surgery is the only effective treatment at this time, but this condition is considered benign, and spreading to other tissue is very rare.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    joint swelling, pain in one knee, pain in one hip, swollen knee, spontaneous knee pain
    Symptoms that always occur with synovial chondromatosis:
    joint swelling
    Symptoms that never occur with synovial chondromatosis:
    fever, night sweats, unintentional weight loss, warm red ankle swelling, warm red knee swelling, warm and red elbow swelling
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain in One Elbow

  • Q.How would you explain the cause of your elbow pain?
  • Q.Which of the following describes your physical fitness:
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Where does your elbow hurt most?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our pain in one elbow symptom checker to find out more.

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Pain in One Elbow Symptom Checker Statistics

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

    • 15% Pain in One Shoulder
    • 6% Pain in One Arm
    • 4% Pain in One Shoulder Blade
  • People who have experienced pain in one elbow had symptoms persist for:

    • 39% Over a Month
    • 19% Less Than a Week
    • 18% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced pain in one elbow were most often matched with:

    • 53% Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
    • 28% Non - Specific Elbow Pain
    • 14% Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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