Hurts to bend your elbow? Here are three possible reasons why

Hurts to Bend Elbow?

If you’re dealing with elbow pain that is preventing you from participating in your favorite activities, it can be very frustrating. There’s a wide range of causes that can manifest in a large number of symptoms, including pain that is more pronounced when bending your elbow. While this type of pain can be mild and improve in a short period of time, if it becomes persistent and debilitating, it’s time to seek treatment. 

Seeking treatment for pain can be a source of anxiety for many, but a great way to be more engaged and confident as a patient is to educate yourself. By having a clearer understanding of potential causes, you can be more engaged as you work with a professional to identify and address your elbow pain. 

Potential elbow pain causes include the following injuries and conditions

Three of the most common causes of pain, especially when bending the elbow, include: 

  1. Osteoarthritis — This condition describes joint inflammation related to the natural breakdown of cartilage. The likelihood of developing arthritis increases with age, with elbow arthritis being one form of this condition. Frequently reported symptoms include aches, pains and stiffness that can make it painful to bend at the elbow. 
  2. Tennis elbow — Most people have probably heard of this injury but are surprised that it doesn’t just affect tennis players. Also called lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow occurs when the tendons that connect the forearm to the outside of the elbow become inflamed due to repetitive motion. This injury can affect carpenters, plumbers, butchers and any other profession or activity that involves rotating the arm. 
  3. Golfer’s elbow — Very similar to tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow is a repetitive motion injury that is caused by inflammation of the tendons that connect the forearm to the inside of the elbow. This injury is common among the same activities and professions as tennis elbow but is more commonly associated with clinching the wrists and performing certain finger movements. 


Less common and more severe causes of elbow pain when bending can include fractures, dislocation, sprains and tears. For nearly any cause of elbow pain, physical therapy can be a highly effective form of treatment. 

Find elbow pain physical therapy at Whatcom Physical Therapy

When you see one of our friendly and experienced therapists regarding elbow pain, we’ll perform a thorough evaluation to identify the sources of your pain. We’ll then work with you to develop an individualized therapy program designed to restore function, strengthen the elbow and promote the natural healing process. 

If you’d like to learn more about identifying and treating the sources of your elbow pain, contact us today. We’ll also be happy to schedule your initial appointment if you’re ready to start your treatment journey.