What Are the Most Common Causes of Arm Pain in Women?

Forearm injuries are a common cause of arm pain in women.
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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 July 2014
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There is a variety of issues commonly to blame for arm pain in women. Injuries to the shoulder, elbow, or forearm are frequently to blame. Overuse, particularly in the woman's stronger arm, can often lead to ongoing discomfort. Arthritis in one or more joints in the arm is another common problem. Women are particularly likely to develop pain in their left arm when they are having a heart attack or other issues with the circulatory system.

Women's arm pain is often the result of an injury to the joints, muscles, or nerves there. Car accidents, falls, or blunt trauma can cause problems ranging from severe strains to a dislocated shoulder to a broken bone. Sports injuries such as pulled muscles, strained tendons or ligaments, and damaged rotator cuffs are also common culprits. Injuries such as burns, cuts, and abrasions on the arms may also be painful.

Another common cause of arm pain in women is simple overuse. This may be particularly problematic in one arm if it is stronger and therefore used more than the other. Overuse may occur due to a single instance where the woman is doing something physically strenuous like lifting a heavy weight, or it may be the result of doing the same repetitive motion over and over for a long period of time. It may involve acute strain to the muscles, joints, or connective tissues, or it could result in a longer term issue, like carpal tunnel syndrome, that affects the nerves.


Arthritis is another problem that frequently leads to arm pain in women. The condition can lead to the breakdown of cartilage and inflammation in any joint, so it may attack the shoulder, elbow, or wrist, as well as any of the finger joints. As the disease progresses, the joints can become more and more damaged and deformed, leading to increasing, chronic pain.

One potentially serious cause of arm pain in women is heart disease. Women are more likely than men to experience pain radiating down their left arm when they are having a heart attack, though they may notice discomfort in their arm well before getting to that point. It may also be an extension of angina, or pain in the chest caused by decreased amounts of blood reaching the heart. In some cases, arm pain can also indicate poor circulation and insufficient blood getting to the tissues of the arms.


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