Elbow Pain

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

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How is elbow pain diagnosed?

Elbow pain is most commonly diagnosed simply with a review of the history and physical examination. Most causes of elbow pain require no further testing. As described above, for some diseases, further testing can include X-ray examination, MRI scanning, arthrogram testing, and aspiration of fluid from the involved elbow area.

What are treatments for elbow pain?

The treatment for elbow pain depends on the precise cause of the pain. Treatments for simple inflammation can include immobilization, anti-inflammatory medications, and cold application. Treatments for fracture include casting and surgical repair. Treatments for infection include drainage and antibiotics.

What is the prognosis of elbow pain?

The outlook for elbow pain depends on the particular cause as described above.

Can elbow pain be prevented?

To the extent that injuries can be avoided, most causes of elbow pain can be prevented.

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

REFERENCES:

Klippel, J.H., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. New York: Springer, 2008.

Koopman, William, et al., eds. Clinical Primer of Rheumatology. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003.

Ruddy, Shaun, et al., eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 2000.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/2/2015

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