What is Elbow Tendinitis?

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  • Written By: Alison Faria
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Elbow tendinitis is the irritation, swelling, and inflammation of the elbow tendons. The elbow itself is meant to allow people to extend and then contract their arms. As people age, the elasticity in their elbow tendons can degenerate and become brittle. This elbow injury is typically experienced by people who play squash, golf, or tennis, but it can appear in anyone who repeatedly overworks their elbow tendons.

There are several ways elbow tendinitis can occur. A sudden increase in the amount of activity, exercise, or movement in the arms is a significant cause. People who work in factories are usually prone to elbow problems because of this. Various injuries, such as a fall, can also cause elbow tendinitis. Athletes who repeatedly use their arms for sports or strength training are generally encouraged to gradually condition their tendons in order to avoid elbow problems.

If elbow tendinitis symptoms are recognized and treated soon after they begin, there is usually a better chance of the tendons healing quickly. Symptoms can include pain behind the elbow joint after exercise, feeling pain whenever the arm is extended, or feeling a burning sensation after exerting the arm. Stiffness might also be experienced while trying to bend the arm against resistance.


Successful treatment of elbow tendinitis usually involves being able to relieve pain, and reduce tendon inflammation. In some mild cases, resting the tendons can allow them to heal on their own. Specifically, this treatment is often referred to as R.I.C.E, meaning Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Non-impact aerobic conditioning and light stretching may be gradually implemented if the tendons start to improve. If discomfort is experienced afterward, however, a longer period of rest usually is suggested.

There are a variety of methods to help prevent elbow tendinitis. Warming up before doing any form of exercise or athletic activity can help tendon elasticity. This can, in turn, lower the chances of inflammation or injury. People who have a manual job, or those who work in a factory, are typically advised to do stretching exercises before they begin work each day.

Knowing the limits of one's body is very important when trying to prevent elbow tendinitis. Elbow tendinitis is usually less prevalent in those who have, over time, conditioned their tendons to be flexible. If a person tries to push their body beyond what it is capable of doing, they'll be more susceptible to injury.


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Post 1

Can you use elbow crutches with elbow tendinitis? I am on crutches with a broken right foot and my elbow tendinitis which was gone is now back. Please advise.

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