What are the Most Common Causes of Inner Elbow Pain?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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Some of the most common causes of inner elbow pain include golfer’s elbow and ulnar nerve entrapment. Both of these conditions can cause pain on the inner side of the joint and are generally the result of overuse. A strain to the medial collateral ligament, which is found on the inside of the elbow, can also cause pain in this area. This type of injury can occur due to overuse or a sudden impact.

Golfer’s elbow, or flexor tendinitis, is among the most common causes of inner elbow pain. It is an overuse injury, often due to repeated golf club swinging, that causes discomfort around the bone on the inside of the elbow. Those with the condition may find that the wrist feels weak and that pain is increased when gripping an object.

Treatment for golfer’s elbow almost always involves rest from painful activities until the soreness has subsided. During this initial period, applying ice to the injured area can reduce inflammation and pain. Once the inflammation has disappeared, heat can be applied to speed up the healing process. A sports injury specialist should always be consulted about this injury; extra treatment such as ultrasound therapy, protective bracing, and sports massage may be needed.


Another cause of inner elbow pain is ulnar nerve entrapment. The ulnar nerve runs along the inside of the elbow and can cause pain and tingling if it becomes trapped. Other symptoms of this condition include pain in the outside two fingers and numbness along the forearm. The symptoms are very similar to those of golfer’s elbow, but may need to be treated differently.

Ulnar nerve entrapment can be caused by a variety of issues including repetitive strain, inflammation around the joint, and a direct impact. Treatment usually starts with a hiatus from any activity that causes the pain as well as cold therapy to reduce inflammation. In rare cases, the nerve may need to be released through surgery, but conservative treatment is usually attempted first.

There are a number of other potential causes of inner elbow pain. If a medial collateral ligament becomes strained, for example, then this will cause pain and tenderness on the inner side. The injury will also sometimes make the joint feel unstable. A physician who specializes in sports medicine or a physiotherapist should always be consulted about inner elbow pain because it may be difficult to differentiate among the potential causes.



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