Painful and swollen elbow


Hi I came to see you today and was diagnosed with grade 5 in both hands. What I forgot to mention was that for over a year I have also had pain and swelling in my right elbow, at first my gp thought it could be tennis elbow but it's not actually in the joint it's more muscle. Do you think this could all be to do with CTS or would I have it in both elbows as I have it in both hands?




CTS does not cause swelling in the elbow so it seems highly likely that there is another problem there. Tennis elbow is not actually in the joint - it is technically called lateral epicondylitis - lateral because, with the limb in the 'anatomical position' a bony prominence called the epicondyle of the humerus is at the side of the elbow away from the body. To figure out 'anatomical position' think of a body lying flat on its back, arms at the sides, palms up. There is another epicondyle on the inner side of the elbow, known as the medial epicondyle and when that one is inflamed it is known as golfer's elbow - I always have trouble remembering which side is which, but neither is actually much associated with the sports anyway. These conditions can afflict one side or both.

It is possible to get pain further up the arm from CTS so it may be interesting to see how the whole presentation responds to treatment but if there is definite swelling then I would go with your GP's suggestion in the first instance. JB

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