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Athletic Training

Elbow popping

06/25/2007

Question:

My elbow pops. Why? First my elbow would pop normaly then it progressivly got worse. When I open and close it always pops with no pain. After I go bowling it hurts. What do I do?

Answer:

The elbow normally does not pop or crack when you bend or straighten it. Usually this indicates some type of problem. This popping may be caused from several things. The two most common that I am aware of are either a loose body in the joint or the ulnar nerve jumps out of the groove. A loose body usually has pain associated with it. The nerve may not.

Without pain, I think it becomes an issue of activity. Because the popping can come from different problems of varying severity, I would suggest you get it checked out by your family doctor or an orthopedist. Palpation usually can determine the integrity of the nerve and an Xray or more is needed to determine if a loose body is floating in the joint.

Hope this helps!

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Response by:

Katrina B Stibel, MA, ATC Katrina B Stibel, MA, ATC
Former:
Assistant Athletic Trainer, Instructor
Department of Athletics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University