5 Conditions that Cause Chronic Elbow Pain

5 Conditions that Cause Chronic Elbow Pain

While you may suffer acute, or immediate, elbow pain from a fracture or dislocation, the causes of chronic elbow pain are a bit more mysterious. 

Often chronic elbow pain develops due to overuse at the joint. Chronic elbow pain may show up only when you do certain activities or it may ache all day and all night.

If you’re experiencing chronic elbow pain, consult our orthopedic specialists at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists in Bethesda and Germantown, Maryland. They can diagnose the cause of your chronic elbow pain and offer a treatment plan to help you ease pain and get back to all your normal activities.

Here are five of the most common conditions that cause chronic elbow pain.


Osteoarthritis causes pain in the elbow when the cartilage, or thick cushioning tissue, wears away, and bone rubs against bone. Osteoarthritis can develop due to regular wear-and-tear of the joint or develop due to a prior injury. 

Elbow arthritis is less common than knee or hip arthritis, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a possible cause of chronic elbow pain. 

Movement modifications, corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation, and viscosupplementation injections to improve joint lubrication are possible solutions. 

Some people require surgery and an elbow joint replacement to get full relief from pain. 

Stress fracture

A stress fracture is a small crack in one of your bones. Usually, the injury results from overuse. You often hear about stress fractures in the lower legs and feet, but athletes that do a lot of throwing can experience stress fractures in the bones that comprise the elbow. 

Treatment for a stress fracture involves rest and physical therapy.


Your ankle isn’t the only joint susceptible to a sprain. A sprain occurs when the ligaments, fibrous tissue that connect bones together at your joint, are torn or overstretched. 

An elbow sprain can range in severity, but most cases respond well to rest, ice, compression, and elevation. In severe cases, we may recommend surgery to repair the torn ligaments. 

Golfer’s elbow

You don’t have to hit the greens to experience golfer’s elbow. With this condition, the tendons of your forearm muscles that attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow develop small tears. Rest, icing, and physical therapy can help you overcome golfer’s elbow.

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)

Just like golfer’s elbow, you don’t have to be an avid tennis player to experience this painful condition. Anyone who participates in repetitive movements that involve the elbow — like plumbers, carpenters, and painters — can develop tennis elbow. 

Tennis elbow results when the area where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow become inflamed. Tennis elbow affects the outer elbow, while golfer’s elbow affects the inner elbow. 

Let our team here at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists determine the reason for your chronic elbow pain so you get effective treatment and quicker resolution or management of pain. 

Call our Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland, office or set up an appointment here to get a comprehensive evaluation of your elbow.

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