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Most elbow problems will start to improve within 8-24 weeks

Elbow pain can be a symptom of many different conditions. Sometimes it is difficult to know what is causing the elbow to be painful, as there may not have been an obvious reason. Often an elbow can become painful a few days after doing an activity that is different for you, such as gardening or decorating.

The pain can be felt around the elbow joint and at times can spread into the forearm.

For some their elbow pain may be the result of a direct injury sustained from playing a sport or a fall or a blow to the elbow.

Most elbow problems will start to improve within 8-24 weeks

No matter the cause of your elbow pain there are some simple things you can try to help your elbow recover:


Self help

  1. Rest – reduce or stop any activities that aggravate the elbow. This may involve spending less time gripping or typing.
  2. Ice – apply an ice pack if the elbow is warm or swollen (or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel) to the injury for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Compression – wrap a bandage around the injury to support it if it is swollen.
  4. Elevate – keep it raised on a pillow as much as possible if it is swollen.
  5. Use pain killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen as they can help you to remain active, which helps you recover quicker. Remember to check they are safe for you. If you are not sure or struggling to manage your pain, then speak with a pharmacist. (Do not use ibuprofen in the first 48 hours after an injury as it may slow down healing).
  6. To help prevent swelling, try to avoid heat (such as hot baths and heat packs), alcohol and massages for the first couple of days.



Golfers Elbow – Advanced


Golfers Elbow – Medium


New Onset Elbow Pain – Advanced


New Onset Elbow Pain – Easy


New Onset Elbow Pain – Moderate


Tennis Elbow – Advanced


Tennis Elbow – Easy


Tennis Elbow – Moderate

When to get immediate medical advice

You should contact a GP or NHS 111 immediately if you have back pain and:

  • numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks/inner thighs
  • loss of bladder or bowel control or difficulty urinating, leaking of urine or bowel movements.
  • Changes in sexual function, including loss of sensation during intercourse, inability to achieve an erection or ejaculate
  • sudden, significant weakness in your arms or legs
  • lack of coordination or heaviness to your arms and legs that is affecting your walking
  • severe arm pain with accompanying tingling or numbness
  • chest pain
  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • a swelling or a deformity in your back
  • it does not improve with or at rest or is worse at night
  • it started after a serious accident, such as after a car accident

These problems could be a sign of something more serious and need to be checked urgently.

If your elbow pain persists, or you are not sure what to do, you can self-refer to see a local physiotherapist who can help you with your problem.

Physiotherapy self-referral

If you are an NHS patient registered to a qualifying GP surgery, you can now refer yourself directly for MSK physiotherapy without needing an appointment at your GP practice.

You must be aged 16 or over and registered with a Wakefield GP.

Call 01924 224497 or complete the online form by clicking the link below.