Elbow pain is a common complaint. The discomfort is usually caused by irritated tissues (tendons and muscles). This can spread further into the arm making gripping and lifting activities difficult. Although this pain can be worrying it is rarely due to anything serious. It will likely get better by itself with time.

How Can I Help Myself?

It is best to keep using it, but to make some adjustments to how you use it: There are some things that you can do to help your elbow when it is painful.

  • Try to reduce the load rather than avoiding lifting.
  • Take more breaks, do ‘little and often’.
  • Ask for help with things that you find uncomfortable.
  • You can also try taking pain relief medication and/or using ice or heat.

What Exercise Can I Do?

It is safe to exercise even if your elbow is sore. Exercise can really help to This can really help to regain movement and strength. If you continue to go to the gym, an exercise class, or swimming you may want to change how much you do for a time. There are some examples of exercises to do below. You can use our symptom tracker to check if what you are doing is helping you to improve.

Would an X-Ray or Scan Help?

X-rays and scans can help for a small number of people and in certain situations. However, most of the time it shows us things that are normal for the age of your elbow and are not related to your pain. These sorts of findings will not help the elbow get better. This is why your GP or clinician may say that it is not needed.

Should I Self-Refer?

Most elbow pain will settle naturally in time with little or no help. Occasionally you may need some extra help to get your elbow better.
If you feel you would like to talk to a healthcare professional to help you further with your elbow you can fill in a self referral form.