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New onset of Elbow pain

I have new elbow pain, what should I do?

Do not panic. There are many reasons as to why your elbow can become painful and mostly these events are nothing to worry about. The elbow is a hinge joint supported by strong muscles and ligaments.

Pain can often be the result of irritation around the soft tissue structures (like ligaments or tendons) or can sometimes be following a slip/trip/fall (trauma). Pain may be at the elbow or into the forearm. You may also have swelling, stiffness or a weaker grip.

This can be easily managed by following some simple steps. Most new elbow pain will resolve in 6-12 weeks

new onset elbow pain infograph

What else can I do?

You could also try these simple exercises to help maintain good movement and support the muscles around the elbow. 

Exercises for New onset of Elbow pain - EASY

Exercises for New onset of Elbow pain - MODERATE

Exercises for New onset of Elbow pain - ADVANCED

What if I have had a fall?

Please read the "symptoms to check" in the red box on the right of this screen first before using this page.

Symptoms to check

Click the plus sign to see a list of problems that could be a sign you may need to be checked urgently

Get advice from 111 now if your arm/elbow:

  • hurts when you exercise but the pain goes away when you rest
  • you are experiencing chest pain/tightness with your elbow pain
  • is swollen and you have a very high temperature or feel hot and shivery
  • is extremely painful and difficult to move
  • the pain is severe and started after an injury or accident, like a fall
  • you have pins and needles or numbness that won’t go away
  • has been injured and you heard a snapping noise or your arm has changed shape

111 will tell you what to do. They can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone.Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111

Immediate medical advice is available by contacting NHS 111

Referral Information

If you are struggling with managing your elbow pain you can self-refer to a physiotherapist for further guidance.