Causes of elbow pain

Elbow pain is very common and will affect most people at some point in their lives. It is typically not serious and most elbow problems improve with time, simple changes to lifestyle and appropriate exercises. 

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Tennis elbow is one of the most common causes of elbow pain

Common causes of elbow pain

The most common causes of elbow pain are tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. Tennis elbow is pain from the tendons on the outside of the elbow, and golfer’s elbow is pain on the inside.

It can start as a result of sport but more commonly after repetitive work or overuse. Less common causes of elbow pain include arthritis or gout. As well as being painful both causes usually result in a loss of movement in the elbow.

When should I seek medical help for elbow pain?

These problems can normally be managed in the first instance without the need to attend hospital. However,  if you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical help more urgently:

  • Red skin, swelling and pain over the elbow with a fever and general feeling of being unwell
  • Pain and difficulty moving your elbow after an injury
  • Severe pain and a snapping sensation in the front of your elbow when heavy lifting