Tennis Elbow: When should one seek medical advice?

By  , Expert Content
Sep 14, 2012

Elbow is a common site of injury, which can cause pain on movement and tenderness. Pain in the elbow region can be caused because of many medical conditions or injury, fracture, and tennis elbow. Therefore, timely and accurate diagnosis and treatment are important for recovery.

Consult a doctor immediately for elbow after an injury if:

  • You have severe pain in the elbow or find it difficult to move your elbow normally.
  • The elbow looks deformed.
  • Swelling appears at the elbow joint after injury.


[Read: How Long does Tennis Elbow take to Heal?]


There are signs and symptoms of damage to the nerves or blood vessels such as: 

  1. Numbness or tingling, or pins-and-needles sensation below the injured area.
  2. pale or bluish discoloration of skin below the injury
  3. injured arm feels colder on touch as compared to the uninjured one.

Call your doctor for pain at the elbow if you have:

  • Pain on lifting any object or bending your arm.
  • Pain on doing fine movements with hand and wrist such as when writing, typing, using a screw driver or trying to grip small objects. So the person may find it difficult to hold small items, such as a pen, brush.
  • Pain on any movement that causes twisting of forearm such as turning a door handle or opening a jar.
  • Pain on trying to fully extend the forearm.
  • Feel weak at the elbow on doing simple activities such as opening a door handle, using a screw driver, shaking hands with someone
  • Stiffness at elbow or arm that progressively increases

[Read: Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow]

If you have mild pain at the elbow you may try treatment at home with rest to the elbow, applying ice or heat several times a day for a few days, simple pain relievers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen. If the pain does not improve in a few days or starts to worsen consult as soon as possible.

Who to Consult

Some health professionals that can be consulted for evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment of tennis elbow, are:

Watchful Waiting

  • your primary care doctor
  • orthopaedician (a doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and management of diseases of the bone and joints)
  • sports medicine specialist
  • emergency medicine specialist.

For further treatment and management you may be referred to a:

  • Physiotherapist (a healthcare professional who specialises in use of physical methods, such as massage and manipulation, to promote healing)
  • Trained sports instructor (for training in sports).


Read more articles on Tennis Elbow Lateral Epicondylitis.



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