What it might mean if you have elbow pain when straightening your arm

pain in elbow when straightening arm

We use our arms every day for the majority of our favorite activities and our daily tasks, like getting dressed, taking a shower or working. When you have elbow pain when straightening your arm, it can be difficult to do much of anything you need to get done in your daily life. 

There are different reasons you may have elbow pain when straightening your arm. Take a moment to look at these reasons below and discover why you might need to see a physical therapist for treatment. 

Possible reasons you have elbow pain when straightening your arm

  • Tennis elbow — Tennis elbow is the inflammation of the tendon that attaches your elbow bone to the muscles that control your wrist and fingers. Overuse or overexertion of the elbow in physical activities, such as swinging a tennis racket, can irritate this tendon, causing it to become inflamed. The result is a burning sensation and sensitivity when trying to straighten or bend your elbow.
  • Bursitis — Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae, which are tiny sacs of fluid found in your joints. The bursae are supposed to prevent the tendons from rubbing against your bones and muscles, but overuse and overexertion of your elbow can cause the bursae to become inflamed. This causes swelling and tenderness that can limit your ability to bend or straighten your elbow.
  • Biceps tendinitis — Biceps tendinitis is the inflammation of your biceps tendon, which connects your biceps muscle to the inside of your elbow joint. Overexerting your elbow by lifting heavy objects can cause irritation to this tendon, which can be felt when trying to straighten or bend your elbow. It’s also possible for this tendon to completely rupture, which will cause intense pain and can be identified by swelling and bruising where the biceps connects with the elbow.

More rarely, your elbow pain might be the result of a dislocation. The elbow joint is pretty hard to dislocate, but it’s possible if you fall on your arm while it’s extended, causing it to twist and force your elbow out of place. When this happens, it’s painful to try to bend or straighten your elbow. There will be noticeable swelling, bruising and a deformed appearance with this injury, so it’s usually pretty clear if this is or is not the source of your pain. 

Visit Advent Physical Therapy for elbow pain treatment

Are you having trouble moving your arm because of elbow pain? Our physical therapists at Advent are highly skilled in treatments that help reduce elbow pain and improve your range of motion, so you can start regaining the use of your arm. Contact our team today for more information about elbow pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.