There are many causes of tendonitis in the elbow, including:
Distal Bicipital Tendinitis
The first two are by far the most frequent and important ones and that is why we are going to dedicate you more time.
Epicondylitis or tennis elbow
It is produced by slight repetitive trauma in the area of insertion of the extensor tendons of the arm (lateral zone of the elbow) when small breaks of this musculature take place.
It appears more frequently in patients who perform work with a lot of manual pressure, people who give strong hand shakes, racket sports and other professions in which the forearm is abruptly turned against resistance.
The patient complains of a continuous and intense pain in the lateral area of the elbow that increases when the wrist is extended and when the fist is closed tightly. The mobility of the elbow is normal.
In addition to the general treatment described above, it may be beneficial to use a Velcro strap around the extensor tendons since it seems to relieve them of their function and improve pain in some patients.
Epitrocleitis or Golfer’s Elbow
It is produced by slight repetitive trauma in the area of insertion of the flexor tendons of the arm (internal area of the elbow) when small breaks of this musculature occur.
It appears frequently in patients who perform repetitive movements of flexion of the wrist, such as occurs when taking out in golf, throwing a ball and carrying suitcases with great weight since in all of them there is flexion of the wrist and pulling of these tendons with a great weight or with a sudden movement that originates the small muscular breakage.
Patients complain of pain in the inside of the elbow that worsens when the wrist is contracted hard (use a screwdriver, for example). When trying to flex the wrist against the resistance of the doctor the pain is triggered, being this a typical test to the exploration. As in epicondylitis, the arch of movement of the elbow is normal.
In addition to the general treatment described above, it may be beneficial to use a Velcro strap around the flexor tendons since it seems to relieve them of their function and improve pain in some patients.
Distal Bicipital Tendinitis
It is produced by microtrauma or after a sudden exercise of flexion of the elbow with it in supination position (with the palm forward).
The patient feels pain in the area of the biceps tendon with flexion against painful resistance and supination.
The diagnosis is clinical and the treatment consists of rest, analgesics and rehabilitation after the acute phase.
In more severe cases rupture of the tendon may occur, leading to greater limitation and deformity of the arm musculature.
It is usually produced in athletes (type of pole vault) or in certain work activities.
It usually presents with pain in the insertion of the triceps on the back of the elbow in which an increase of soft parts can be seen due to inflammation.
The treatment is conservative with rest, analgesia and rehabilitation after the acute phase.