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"My elbow has been hurting on and off for the past month and a half. Could it be arthritis?"

ZocdocAnswersMy elbow has been hurting on and off for the past month and a half. Could it be arthritis?


I'm a 46 year old man who started lifting weights about three months ago. About a a month and a half ago, I started to have elbow pain. It was fairly bearable at first, but it has gotten to the point of very painful and I have difficulty moving it. Could I have arthritis, or is there any other possibility. I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, but the doctor said that the elbow was unrelated.


This is a great question as elbow pain is a very common complaint. There are many different causes of elbow pain, therefore, it is important to see your primary care doctor or orthopedic doctor to have a thorough exam and get the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Most injuries are caused by overuse which sounds like you are describing.

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Repetitive motions cause strain on the tendons and ligaments which leads to inflammation and pain. Lateral epicondylitis, or "tennis elbow", causes pain on the outside of the elbow, whereas medial epicondylitis, or "golfer's elbow", causes pain on the inside of the elbow. Elbow pain can also be caused by bursitis, tendinitis, arthritis and sprains. To help relieve your symptoms it is important to rest your elbow. Ice your elbow often, at least 15 minutes a few times a day. Try taking over the counter ibuprofen to help with the pain. An elbow brace (sold at most drug stores) can also sometimes be helpful. It is sometimes necessary to see a physical therapist who can use different modalities to improve your pain. It is important to make sure that you are using proper form when lifting weights and do not use too much weight too quickly.

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