Pain in the elbow | Sunday Observer

Pain in the elbow

2 May, 2021

Pain in the elbow can be due to a tennis elbow or a golfers elbow. Even though the pain can be present in tennis players and golfers it can also occur in persons who do not take part in either of the sports. 

Tennis elbow 

This is also known as lateral epicondylitis where the outer part of the elbow becomes painful and tender. This is due to small tears in tendons of muscles that attach to the outer aspect of the elbow. Pain can also radiate to the back of the forearm and as a result the grip on that side can be weak and could generate pain in the elbow. The onset of pain is gradual. It’s mainly due to over loading of the tendons attached to the outside of the elbow. Overloading can occur due to repetitive movements of the wrist and forearm. Other than the tennis players people such as carpenters, painters, butchers and plumbers can develop the pain.

Pain typically radiates from outside of the elbow to the wrist and the forearm. Specially when holding a cup of tea, gripping an object, turning a door knob. 

Risk factors

Age 30-50 yrs,

Occupations listed as above

Sports such as Tennis with a poor technique.


Mainly by physical examination. Outer aspect of the elbow is very tender when pressure is exerted. 


Simple analgesics 

If the pain persists corticosteroid injection to the elbow.

This has a good outcome.


Release of tennis elbow in a rare case

Golfers elbow 

Also known as medial epicondylitis causes pain in the inside of the elbow.

Similar to the tennis elbow but the pain is in the opposite sides of the elbow. Symptoms are similar to the tennis elbow with pain in the wrist and forearm. It’s not limited to golfers or tennis players. Anyone who repeatedly use their wrists or clench their fingers can get it


Pain and tenderness. Typically starting in the inner aspect of the elbow goes down the inner of the forearm to the wrist. 

Stiffness of the elbow 

Weakness in the hand and wrist

Numbness and tingling of the ring and small finger. 


Playing golf 

Racket sports 

Throwing sport like Javelin 

Professions such as carpentry, plumbing, painting 

Risk Factors

over 40’s

Repetitive movements 




Strengthening the muscles 

Loosening up before the sport 

Using proper technique in sport


Physical examination and eliciting tenderness in the inner bone of the elbow. 

X-rays and MRI not needed 


Conservative management ie rest, brace, ice 


Injection into the site 

Surgery - rarely needed