Elbow pain has many causes; therefore, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause of the pain in order to receive the proper treatment. Your physician will diagnose your elbow pain based on the findings of a medical history, physical exam and diagnostic tests.
For your medical history, the physician may ask questions such as:
- Are both elbows affected?
- Does the pain shift from the elbow to other joints?
- Is the pain over the outside bony prominence of the elbow?
- Did the pain begin suddenly and severely?
- Did the pain begin slowly and mildly and then get worse?
- Is the pain resolving spontaneously?
- Did the pain begin following an injury?
During the physical exam the physician will manipulate your elbow to determine how well it moves and where the pain is located.
Depending on the findings of the medical history and physical exam, your physician may also refer you for X-rays to determine the source of your elbow pain.
Common diagnoses for elbow pain include:
- Lateral epicondylitis ("tennis elbow")
- Cubital tunnel syndrome
- "Nursemaid's elbow" in children