What Doctor Do I See
If My Elbow Hurts?


If you go to the ER, you may be seen by an emergency physician first. That doctor will determine whether you can and should be treated in an emergency room or if you require the services of an orthopedic specialist or surgeon. An orthopedic surgeon may examine you right away in some emergency rooms. You may need to see a neurosurgeon if nerve damage is the cause.

Most non-urgent elbow pain can be treated by primary care physicians, but your doctor may refer you to another doctor for more specialized care. Orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine doctors, rheumatologists, physiatrists, physical therapists, and athletic trainers are among the specialists who treat elbow pain and injuries.

Elbow pain can make it difficult to work or play, so it’s important to have your elbow checked if it doesn’t go away. The earlier you begin treatment, the easier and faster your problem will be resolved.


Fast facts on tennis elbow


    • Any type of pain in the elbow joint and/or structures adjacent to the elbow joint is referred to as elbow pain.
    • Elbow pain can be caused by a variety of factors. The majority of elbow pain is caused by overuse or strain on the elbow joint components, but trauma, infection, and/or autoimmune processes can also cause it.
    • Elbow pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including repetitive activities and sports participation, as well as infection, trauma, and rheumatoid arthritis.
    • The shoulder, upper arm, forearm, and wrist and hand joints are all nearby structures that can cause elbow pain.
    • Elbow pain is diagnosed primarily through a patient’s history and physical examination. The structures of the elbow are frequently delineated using radiologic techniques such as X-ray and MRI.
    • Resting the joint by reducing its motion and stress is a common treatment for elbow pain. Other treatments are determined by the source of joint pain. Orthopedic consultation is frequently recommended when developing treatment protocols that may include casting and surgery.
    • Home remedies for elbow pain include rest, ice packs, and elbow compression. Others exist, but they should be discussed with a physician before being used.
    • The prognosis for most patients with elbow joint pain is very good if they are treated quickly and appropriately. If joint pain is allowed to become chronic or is caused by an underlying process that is not treated, the prognosis deteriorates.
    • Some cases of elbow pain can be reduced, if not completely avoided (examples include the Little League pitching rules). It is possible to reduce elbow pain caused by other underlying causes, such as autoimmune disease, but prevention is unlikely.


What is a golfer’s elbow?

Golfer’s elbow (medical name: medial epicondylitis) is a painful condition that is similar to tennis elbow, with the exception that it affects the inner side of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow, like tennis elbow, is caused by repeated stress on the muscles and tendons surrounding the elbow joint.


Causes of Golfer’s Elbow 

A golfer’s elbow is caused by playing golf, as the name implies. Improper throwing, lifting, or hitting movements are frequently the cause. It can also be caused by wrist and finger movements that are too forceful. 6,7

Tennis players, like golfers, can develop this condition, especially if they use a small, heavy racquet or use a lot of topspin. Golfer’s elbow (also known as little leaguer’s elbow) can be caused by improper technique in sports such as javelin, archery, football, weightlifting, and baseball. Golfer’s elbow is a common occupational hazard for construction workers, carpenters, and plumbers.


Symptoms of golfer’s elbow

Golfer’s elbow is characterized by pain on the inner side of the elbow that can sometimes radiate to the forearm. Some movements may aggravate the pain. Tenderness to the touch, weakness, stiffness of the joints, numbness, and tingling are some of the other symptoms of golfer’s elbow.


Are You Looking for Non-Surgical
Relief from an Elbow Injury?


Dr. Chen sees patients at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, California. He is a board certified Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Doctor that specializes in the non-operative medical treatment of a wide variety of various musculoskeletal conditions.  Dr. Chen graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and went on to complete Pediatric residency training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (Rutgers), then went on to fellowship training in Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the perennially top ranked children’s hospitals in the nation. There he provided sideline coverage for NCAA Division I athletics at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (OH). Since graduating, Dr. Chen has continued his love of sports coverage by volunteering for the San Francisco Marathon, the San Francisco Giant Race, and as the team physician for Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. Being a part of The Center for Sports Medicine allows Dr. Chen quick access to a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physiatrists, and physical therapists to return you to your highest functional level quickly and safely. Click here to contact us for your next appointment!


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