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Why Do I Feel Pain In Elbow When Straightening Arm

Do you sometimes feel pain in your elbow when Straightening your arm? Does the pain radiate down to your forearms?

You feel pain in your elbow due to repetitive use and overexertion of the muscles in your elbow and forearms, which usually result in an inflammation of your elbow joints.

You will most likely feel this pain when you straighten or stretch your arms.

What Causes Pain In Elbow When Straightening Arm?

There are different reasons why your elbow may hurt most especially when you straighten your arm.

The elbow joint consists of several tendons that connect various muscles to the bones of the joint.

If you experience pain when you straighten your arm, it may be due to medical health conditions or physical strain.

You however do not need to be an athlete to experience this pain, although it is more common in athletes.

We use our arms everyday for our daily activities and tasks, this continual usage can develop into strain and pain.

Here are some possible reasons why you have elbow pain when straightening your arm.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a condition caused by strain and overexertion of the elbow in physical activities.

It is an inflammation of the tendons connecting the elbow bones to the muscles in the wrist and fingers, these muscles are responsible for control and mobility.

Symptoms of this condition include sensitivity and a burning sensation when bending or straightening the elbow.

Bicep Tendonitis

Bicep tendonitis is an inflammation of the bicep tendons, the tendons that attach the bicep muscles to the inner part of the elbow joint.

This condition gradually starts off as an irritation from overexertion of the elbow, this tendon can also be completely ruptured in severe cases and lead to intense pain.

Other symptoms include swelling and bruising around the biceps connected to the elbow.

Elbow Osteoarthritis

Elbow osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear in the joints and protective cartilage that cover the bones.

This wear and tear damages these cartilage, making them rub against one another and become swollen, painful and deformed.

This condition can develop in any part of the body including the elbow, fingers, knees, hips or toes.


This is a condition caused by inflammation of the sacs of fluids found in the joints, known as the bursae.

The bursae help prevent the tendons from rubbing against the muscles and bones. Symptoms of bursitis include swelling, tenderness and limited mobility in the elbow.

Symptoms Of Pain In Elbow When Straightening Arm

Most often, this condition is accompanied by certain symptoms that gradually develop and may become severe in cases where there is no adequate or early treatment.

Symptoms include;


This is the most common symptom you experience, it ranges from mild to severe and becomes worse and more prominent when you twist your arm, or bend and straighten your elbow.

Repetitive wrist movements can also trigger this pain.

Scenarios when this pain is more obvious includes;

  • When gripping small and lightweight objects
  • When twisting your foreman in similar motions like turning a door handle or opening a jar.
  • When lifting or bending your arm, this may travel down to your forearms.


Individuals with conditions associated with pain in their elbow are more likely to experience limited stiffness and range of movement.

This is due to the overexertion of the tendons, these joints and muscles are already affected so much that overusing them.

Difficulty Moving The Joint

In addition to pain and discomfort, you may also experience some difficulty moving the joint.

This is usually as a result of stiff muscles and moving these muscles with force can result in intense pain or complications.

Why You Feel Pain In Elbow When Straightening Arm?

Overuse and overexertion of your arm and elbow is one of the main reasons why you feel pain in your elbow when you straighten your arm. 

This results in tennis blow, a condition characterized by pain in your forearms, this pain usually becomes obvious when you strain your elbows.

Repetitive strenuous activities can affect the muscles in your forearms and lead to tiny tears and inflammation in the bony lump around your elbow, right on the outside of your elbow.

A sudden bang or knock on your elbow can also trigger this pain, you can also develop this condition when you carry out or participate in new activities that your forearm muscles are not used to.

Activities that can cause this type of pain include;

  • Sport activities that involve throwing or racquets such as tennis, javelin, discus, badminton, or squash
  • Repetitive use of hand tools that require pressure on your forearms such as gardening shears, scissors, and screwdriver
  • Activities that involve twisting or flexing your hand and wrists repeatedly, for instance typing and sewing
  • The use of tools while decorating, plumbing or gardening
  • Activities and instruments involving repetitive bending of your elbows such as playing the violin.

You may not necessarily get a tennis blow from all sport activities however racket sports increases your chances of developing this condition.

How To Get Relieve For This Pain

A diagnosis is often done before treatment for this pain, this helps your doctor narrow down the cause, severity and type of treatment required.

During the diagnosis, your doctor will perform a physical examination and some simple tests.

You may asked questions about your job, if you play sports, and how symptoms developed. Pressure might also be applied on the affected tendons.

Here are some procedures to get relieve for this pain;

Nonsurgical Procedures


It is often recommended that you take a break from all activities that trigger this pain. Rest your affected arm for several days or weeks depending on the severity.

Your physician may recommend a brace to help keep the affected muscles in check.


Apply an ice pack on the affected joints, this will greatly help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy involves a variety of simple yet effective exercises and techniques to speed up healing and strengthen the muscles of your forearms.

These workout routines consist of arm exercises, ice massages and techniques for muscle stimulation.

Ultrasound Therapy

This is a procedure involving the use of an ultrasound probe to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery.

The ultrasound probe is placed over the most painful part of your arm for a period of time to emit high frequency sound waves into the tissue


Prescribed over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Consult your physician or a prescription and follow all instructions to avoid side effects.


This procedure is only recommended in severe cases if there is no improvement in symptoms after a year of treatment.

It helps restore muscle strength and flexibility. There are two methods of surgery that involves removing dead tissues and reattaching healthy muscle to the bone.

Although surgery is a successful procedure, you may experience some loss in muscle strength for a while afterwards.

How To Prevent Pain In Elbow

There are several ways to help prevent elbow pain. This includes;

Using The Right Equipment

Make sure you use the right and approved equipment and techniques for your tasks and sport activities.

Knowing the proper tools to use can greatly reduce your chances of injuries and unexpected accidents.

Performing Exercises That Maintain Forearm Muscles

Stick to exercises that do not strain your muscles but maintain flexibility of your forearm muscles.

If you would like to increase the tempo for your workout, start slowly and gradually incorporate it into your daily routine.

Stop or take a break from exercises that overexert your muscles and joints.

Icing Your Elbow After An Intense Physical Activity

Use an ice pack on your elbow after an intense physical activity, this will help reduce pain and inflammation.

If you notice an injury, disinfect the affected area to prevent infections.

Resting Your Elbow

Sometimes, following an injury or strain, your elbow can be easily irritated and prone to inflammation.

Rest your elbow if you experience symptoms of pain and discomfort or if it becomes too painful to bend and straighten. Visit your doctor for treatment.

When To See A Physician

Although pain in the elbow is not prevalent in every individual and does not always become chronic, there are cases where you might have to see a doctor.

You should see a doctor if you experience any of these;

  • If you suddenly develop symptoms that do not go away after a while
  • If symptoms do not improve after a year of treatment
  • If you experience symptoms that become crippling and debilitating and affect your daily routines
  • If you develop intense pain that is triggered when you use your elbow or forearms.

Although pain in the elbow is often experienced by athletes or individuals in sport.

Performing activities that strain and overexert your forearms can also result in this pain. Do not apply self medications most especially if your condition is severe, visit your doctor or health center for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Healthline: Tennis Elbow

NHS: Tennis Elbow

Advent Physical Therapy: What It Might Mean If You Have Elbow Pain When Straightening Your Arm

Arrow Physical Therapy And Rehabilitation LLC: Is Elbow Pain When Straightening My Arm Serious

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