Your doctor can usually determine if
tennis elbow by talking to you about the
history of your symptoms, daily activities, and past
injuries. You'll have a
physical exam too.
X-rays aren't usually needed for diagnosis of tennis
elbow but can sometimes rule out other causes of elbow pain, such as
arthritis, signs of another type of injury, or a
buildup of calcium crystals in a tendon or ligament. X-rays can show unusual
bone structure that might cause soft-tissue damage (such as to tendons or
muscles), but they don't show soft tissues very clearly. If your elbow pain
isn't severe and can't be linked to a specific injury, your doctor may
recommend starting treatment without doing X-rays to see whether the problem
clears up in a few weeks.
Is there anything you can do about the pain and stiffness of arthritis? Perhaps you've heard that heat or cold therapy can help relieve pain and are wondering if it's worth giving them a try. Well, it is.
Many arthritis doctors recommend both heat and cold treatments to help reduce inflammation and ease the pain and stiffness that comes with arthritis. It may take a little "trial and error" to learn which therapy works best for your pain. But by staying with it, you may find the right combination...
If nonsurgical treatment (such as rest,
the use of ice and anti-inflammatory drugs, rehabilitation exercises, and changing or
stopping certain activities) hasn't helped relieve elbow pain, or if the
diagnosis is unclear, other tests may be helpful.
MRI can show problems in soft tissues such as tendons and
Arthroscopy allows the doctor to see
inside the elbow and get information that can be used with what he or she knows
from your X-rays or physical exam. (Doctors can surgically treat tennis elbow
are done in rare cases. They can show stress fractures in the bone or certain
disease conditions, such as a tumor or infection.