Overuse injures can cause pain and other problems in the elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. These injuries typically affect athletes and people who perform repetitive motions. Children and adolescents, whose bones have not yet matured, and factory workers are particularly susceptible to overuse injuries.
Repetitive motions such as overhand throwing, pushing or pulling, twisting or bending the arm can place severe stress on the bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles of the arm and elbow. Over time, this stress can cause damage, pain and eventually, scarring of the tendon. Because tendons have a poor blood supply, healing can be difficult.
Types of Injuries
Some overuse injuries are so commonly caused by specific activities that they are referred to by that name. Some examples are tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, student’s elbow and Little League elbow.
Overuse injuries can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, swelling, tenderness, weakness, tingling, numbness, loss of mobility, and popping or clicking sounds in the joint. Different types of injuries have very specific and recognizable patterns of symptoms.
Treatment options will depend on the injury, but may include rest, cold compress, anti-inflammatory medications, immobilization in a cast, splint or brace, physical therapy, and, in severe cases, surgery.