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Pain in the elbow when touched: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The presence of pain in the elbow, when touched, is a sign that something is happening in that joint. The arm and forearm are united through this joint; the permanent movement to which the upper limb is subjected generates a predisposition to suffer an injury that affects the normal functioning of this joint.

The appearance of pain in the elbow when touched is not severe. This can be due to the excessive use of the joint. The daily practice of a sport or a job where repetitive movements of the upper limb and, consequently, the elbow joint can cause pain when touched.

Next, in this FastlyHealarticle, you will have all the information about pain in the elbow when touched: causes and treatment.

Causes of pain in the elbow when touched.

Many causes can cause the appearance of pain in the elbow when touched. Here are some of the most common:


Tendinitis consists of the inflammation or injury of the tendons, which are responsible for attaching the muscles to the bone.

This injury occurs from overuse of the joint, which can be due to:

  • Sports practices, especially golfers and tennis players.
  • Stress activities like weight lifting.
  • Performance of daily work, with loads and heavy lifting.

See more information about the causes of elbow tendonitis and treatment in Exercises for elbow tendonitis.


A condition is known as tennis elbow consists of inflammation of the outer part of the elbow. This inflammation is due to repetitive use of the joint, which can be caused by:

  • On the use of the forearm.
  • Misuse of muscle.
  • Playing sports, such as tennis.
  • Professions such as painters, mechanics, or plumbers.

If you want to know more about epicondylitis or tennis elbow, see the article Epicondylitis: symptoms and treatment.

Muscle strain

This alteration arises when the muscles surrounding the elbow joint are subjected to an exaggerated stretch that can lead to a tear. Muscle strain can be caused accidentally or by improper use of the common.

The symptoms that show a muscle strain include:

  • Pain in the elbow when touched.
  • Pain when moving the elbow.
  • Inflammation.
  • Swelling.
  • Presence of bruises with color changes in the area.


Bursitis is a common joint condition. It consists of inflammation or irritation of the bursae, fluid-filled pockets located at the sites where bones, tendons, and muscles rub against each other.

The inflammation of these bursae occurs in those areas where joint movement becomes repetitive, such as in the elbow, knee, shoulder, and other joints. Bursitis is characterized by symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the elbow when touched.
  • Tenderness when pressing the elbow.
  • Redness
  • Swelling.

Elbow infection

A wound in the elbow region can be the entry point for a germ or microorganism, which can give rise to an infectious process, generating the following symptoms:

  • Fever.
  • Pain in the elbow when rubbing.
  • Inflammation.
  • Color change.


The fracture in the elbow region is caused by the breakage of one or the other bones that make up the joint as a result of a fall, twist, or direct trauma to the joint.

The fracture is characterized, in addition to pain in the elbow when touched, by the following symptoms:

  • Tenderness when moving the arm.
  • Sensitivity to rubbing.
  • Inflammation.
  • Joint deformity.

Symptoms of pain in the elbow when touched.

As we have seen in some of the causes, pain in the elbow when touched may be accompanied by other symptoms that will indicate the difference in each situation, such as:

  • Severe pain when moving the elbow.
  • Limitation to moving the joint.
  • Swelling.
  • Hematoma around the elbow.
  • Inflammation.
  • Sensitivity to rubbing.

Treatment of pain in the elbow when touched.

The treatment of elbow pain will depend on the cause that originates it and a professional’s diagnosis. Here are some of the medicines that are recommended for some elbow injuries:

  • When it comes to acute injuries caused by a heavy or inappropriate load, they can go away independently.
  • In the case of tendinitis, treatment, in addition to relieving pain, consists of immobilization of the elbow joint.
  • Suppose it is bursitis, in addition to the doctor’s treatment. In that case, we recommend home remedies to relieve pain, such as applying cold compresses—more information on home remedies for bursitis.

It is essential to know that pain and inflammation are the symptoms that will be treated in the first instance, for this will require analgesics or anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen; in the cases that persist, the use of corticosteroids or anesthetics will be used to relieve both symptoms.

Chronic pain in the elbow

If the pain is chronic, you should go to a specialist who will analyze it to be able to implement a treatment according to the symptoms you present. The treatment will probably be based on nerves, injecting with infiltration analgesics or anesthetics which block transmission of the pain in the elbow.

If the above treatment is ineffective, a surgical treatment called arthroscopy will be performed to check the joint and repair the damaged tissues.

In this sense, it is recommended to apply therapies such as:

  • Shock waves.
  • Electrotherapy.
  • Ultrasound treatments can improve joint mobility and eliminate pain as well as inflammation.

How to avoid elbow pain when touched

To avoid pain in the elbow when touched, you must follow specific measures that will help you prevent the injury from worsening or intensifying its pain. The first thing to do is:

  • Protect the elbow area. This will prevent a more significant injury from occurring.
  • Dale rests the joint to feel less pain.
  • Apply ice packs to the painful area for about 15-20 minutes 3 times a day.
  • Wearing a pressure bandage will decrease swelling and pain.
  • Keep your arm elevated, so the swelling goes down faster.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pain in the elbow when touched: causes and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, joints, and muscles.

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