From dry patches to aches and pains – what your ELBOWS can reveal about your health and when to worry

YOUR body can tell you all sorts of things about your health.

Your hair loss could indicate alopecia, or “fruity” breath could indicate that you have diabetes.

Your elbows can reveal a surprising amount about your health


Your elbows can reveal a surprising amount about your health

One place you may never need to check is your elbows.

From flaky skin to pain and swelling, here are seven things your elbows can be telling you—and when it might be a good idea to seek medical help.

1. Eczema

Eczema can occur anywhere on the body, but is particularly common on the inside of the elbows and on the hands and backs of the knees in adults.

This causes the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked and sore, appearing red and inflamed on white skin and appearing dark brown, purple or gray on brown or black skin

The most common form, atopic eczema, varies from mild to severe and sufferers may experience flare-ups two to three times a month.

It is a good idea to seek medical advice to get the condition under control.

2. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that can affect any part of the body, but most commonly occurs on the elbows, knees, or scalp.

It usually causes flaky patches of skin Pinkred or dark purple – which form scales that are white or gray.

According to the NHS, the condition affects around two in 100 people in the UK.

It’s a good idea to see a GP if you think you have psoriasis and they can help you with treatment.

3. Bursitis

Bursitis occurs when the fluid-filled sacs – called bursae – that cushion your joints become inflamed.

If you take a hard blow to your elbow, your bursa there can produce excess fluid and swell, causing a bubble of fluid to form over the pointed part and loosening the skin on the back of the elbow.

According to OrthoInfo, people in certain professions, such as plumbing, may be particularly susceptible to bursitis.

According to the NHS, you could be suffering from bursitis if any of your joints:

  • painful – usually a dull, aching pain
  • tender or warmer than the surrounding skin
  • swollen
  • It is more painful if you move it or press on it

You can rest your elbow, freeze it and take painkillers, but see a GP if your symptoms have not improved after one to two weeks or get worse.

4. Tendonitis

This happens when a tendon becomes inflamed after an injury and causes swelling.

You may experience pain in your elbow – or other joints – and stiffness even though you can’t move it properly.

However, if it is mild, you should be able to treat a tendon injury at home with rest, ice packs, and support such as an elastic bandage.

You should feel better in two to three weeks.

5. Joint infection

If you have:

  • severe joint pain in places such as the elbow that occurs suddenly
  • swelling around him
  • a change in skin color around the joint
  • Fever, feeling hot, shivering and general malaise

These could be signs of septic arthritis, a serious joint infection.

Symptoms of septic arthritis usually develop quickly within a few days and need to be evaluated immediately. Therefore, you should make an appointment with your GP as a matter of urgency, the NHS guidance emphasizes.

6. Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow – also called lateral epicondylitis – is a condition that causes pain on the outside of this part of the body.

It can occur repeatedly during activities such as tennis, which use the muscles of the forearm, which are located near the elbow joint – hence the name.

It might be difficult to straighten your arm and you might feel pain in your elbow and forearm if:

  • Raising or bending the arm
  • Gripping small objects such as pens
  • Rotating the forearm, e.g. B. Turning a doorknob or opening a glass

Try to avoid activities that cause pain and rest for a few days. However, see a GP if symptoms do not improve.

7. Angina pectoris

In some cases, elbow pain can actually be a symptom of heart problems such as angina – chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.

It is not usually life-threatening but could be a warning sign of heart attack or stroke risk, according to NHS guidelines.

Most people experience a tightness or dull, sharp pain in the chest that is triggered by exercise or stress and that goes away after a few minutes of rest.

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The pain often spreads to the arms, elbows, neck, jaw or back.

If you have not been diagnosed with angina pectoris, make an urgent appointment with your family doctor if you experience such pain.

Aila Slisco

Aila Slisco is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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