Sports and other activities that require the repetitive and strenuous use of the elbow joint can put stress on the tendons and ligaments that hold it together. Conditions related to overuse include:
- Bursitis, an inflammation of a fluid-filled sac called the bursa
- Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, when tendons that attach to the elbow become swollen, also known as tendonitis
- Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears, common in baseball players and other athletes whose sports involve throwing
- Little league elbow, damage to immature cartilage and painful inflammation of the growth plate
A previous injury or normal wear and tear over time can damage the protective cartilage in the elbow joint. People whose work or activities put extra demands on their elbow joints are more likely to develop elbow arthritis.
- Sports, falls, and biking or traffic accidents can result in traumatic injuries, including elbow fracture.
- Elbow instability usually occurs from a trauma such as a fall onto an outstretched arm. The elbow joint can become loose or lock up. You may feel a catching or clicking sensation.
- Tendon ruptures in the elbow (such as the biceps or triceps tendons) may also result from a sudden injury.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Numbness or tingling in the ring finger and little finger can occur when the ulnar nerve (also known as the “funny bone” nerve) repeatedly slides out of place or is stretched from keeping the elbow bent for long periods.