Most of us tend to take our elbows for granted unless we injure them, but the elbow represents an essential and somewhat complicated part of the human anatomy.
Technically a joint, the elbows composition consists of three bones supported by ligaments. The bones of the elbow include the following:
- The humerus bone extends in length from the shoulder.
- The radius stretches from the forearm to the thumb.
- The Ulna makes up the part of the elbow from the pinkie finger to the inside of the wrist.
Causes of elbow pain and injuries:
We use our elbows many times throughout the day, often without a second thought. Some of the more common elbow movements include the following:
- The hinge movement occurs while doing everything from bicep curls to picking up a toddler or bags of groceries.
- Hand rotation involves the elbow, whether you’re waving or otherwise expressing yourself.
- Wrist movement also calls on the elbow. Wrist movement could involve playing a keyboard instrument, typing, or taking part in a racquet sport.
Three basic types of injuries tend to affect the elbow:
- A torn or ruptured ulnar collateral ligament results in severe pain, swelling, and bruising. This type of injury often occurs in baseball pitchers, quarterbacks, and tennis and hockey players.
- Bone fractures result from sports injuries as well as accidental falls.
- At times the radius or Ulna suffers such severe damage from a break that the injury requires a cast or even surgery involving pins and braces.
The elbow represents one of the most durable joints in the body. Its durability makes it less susceptible to arthritic pain, but occupations, hobbies, sports, and everyday activities that call for repetitive motion often result in inflammation and pain. The following conditions may require attention when it comes to the functionality of the elbow:
- Any break in the arm would cause more stress on the elbow.
- Bursitis in the shoulder or elbow itself may cause severe pain.
- Stress fractures
- A trapped or pinched nerve
- An inflammation or irritation of the Ulna otherwise known as ‘tennis elbow.’
Activities that may result in elbow pain and irritation:
Some ways we overstress our elbows happen due to things we need to do and often love to do. Some of the more common activities include:
- Racquet sports such as tennis, squash, or racquetball
- Weight lifting involving the arms and upper body, but also squats affect the elbows
- Typing or texting
- Knitting, crocheting or other needlework
- Playing musical instruments of any kind, but especially keyboards and strings
- Painting of any kind
- Yard work such as raking and gardening
After overindulging in any of the above activities, you may notice pain when you open a door, raise your arm or hand, or grip or grasp an object.
Treatment for sore elbows:
Most of the time, if you occasionally overwork your elbow by raking those fall leaves or playing in a weekend baseball tournament, relieving the pain and inflammation takes a bit of common sense.
But, if your occupation or passion calls on constant overuse of the elbow, simple remedies exist that help you prevent and ease discomfort. Proper stretching and warm-ups before workouts or starting an active day always make sense. Range of motion exercises also helps keep the motion of the elbow fluid, thereby reducing pain.
When you do experience pain or inflammation, use ice compresses in the affected area. Topical analgesic creams may also offer some relief.
If elbow pain affects your productivity or quality of life, you may want to explore chiropractic or physical therapy options.
Support products to heal and protect your elbow:
Lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow represents the most common cause of elbow pain, especially among athletes and active people. The pain from tennis elbow results from a repetitive motion involving the thumb and two fingers.
Those whose occupation involves these kinds of repetitive motions don’t possess the luxury of taking extended time off to heal their elbow or other body parts. Those with a passion for fitness or bodybuilding also need extra help to help them achieve their personal goals.
Many products exist to help protect your elbow during workouts and throughout the day. A support sleeve provides compression and warmth to aid in support and healing. A brace provides more targeted support to help relieve pain. Support straps sit on the muscle right below the pain aiding in movement.
High-quality products make a difference:
A lot of companies offer many support products for your elbow and other body parts. The quality of these products, of course, varies greatly. At Mueller Sports Medicine, we pride ourselves on providing products with the best materials and advanced technology to improve the recovery process. We listen carefully to athletes when they tell us what their bodies need and what they expect from a product.
You’ll find many products to choose from when it comes to protecting your elbows and surrounding areas. Several popular items include:
- Our Tennis Elbow Support with Gel helps relieve pain and discomfort associated with tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis). The Gel pad provides concentrated pressure for pain relief the support is made of soft, breathable materials for increased comfort.
- The Mueller® Green Adjustable Elbow Support helps protect and support sore, weak, or injured elbows. This support retains body heat for increased circulation to help relieve pain, promote healing, and keeps your elbow flexible.
- The 4 Way Stretch Premium Knit support with Thermo Reactive Technology absorbs and reflects your own body heat. That means increased blood flow and improved recovery time for you. The Soft, breathable 4-way stretch fabric moves with you so when your on the move, it doesn’t get in the way.
- The Graduated Compression Arm Sleeve helps improve blood and oxygen circulation in your forearm, elbow, and bicep. The compression fabric helps reduce muscle vibration which could cause soreness and fatigue.
Of course, choosing a product depends on your particular sport and level of activity. Keep in mind that we all grow and heal at different rates and make sure to listen to your body and your healthcare professional to make sure your workout or exercise routine makes sense for you.
You don’t need to bench 400 pounds or play tennis professionally for support products to make a difference in your life. If you’re working overtime at the office, lifting boxes all day long or getting in that workout, consider how support sleeves and braces could help you.
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*Please consult with a medical professional if you have any medical issues that may be affected by the suggested activities.