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Of all tendon injuries ‘Tennis’ and ‘Golfer’s’ elbow are amongst the most common. Both these conditions involve injury to tendons that are responsible for locking the wrist and gripping in either flexion (bending the wrist forwards) or extension (bending the wrist backwards). This action is common when using power tools and doing DIY. Less frequent injuries to other tendons in the elbow include the biceps and triceps tendons. Ligament injuries are also not uncommon and can affect the ability to turn the palm of your hand over to the back of your hand (pronation and supination)
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There are two bones in the forearm called the radius and the ulna. When you turn and rotate your hand over (pronation and supination) the smaller of the two bones, the radius, rotates around the stationary and heavier ulna bone. The radius can be dislocated by a sudden pull of the forearm; a typical case would be a small child who is lifted suddenly. This action would be likely to damage the small ligament that holds the secures the radius in position.
The olecranon is the pointed sharp prominent bone at the back of the elbow - the bit that you lean on typically. Bursae are structures that occur throughout the body and they are basically little sacks of fluid that typically occur between bony surfaces and overlying soft tissue (such as a tendon). The bursa behind the elbow can become inflamed and cause a condition called ‘olecranon bursitis’.
It is also important to remember that another important aspect of elbow pain is that often it can be referred from somewhere else. The good news is that most of these issues are very treatable. The most common causes of referred pain in the elbow are trapped nerves in the neck or one of several shoulder conditions. Delicate nerves and blood vessels in the shoulder can also sometimes be compressed causing pain (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome)