The elbow is made up of three bones – the upper arm bone (humerus) and the forearm bones (radius and ulna). These bones meet to create joints that allow you to bend your elbow (flexion), straighten your elbow (extension) and rotate or twist your forearm – turning your palm to face the ceiling (supination) or to face the floor (pronation).

Surrounding the elbow joint is a joint capsule, ligaments and muscles. These structures in combination with the bones help to create a stable and mobile joint.

Common causes of elbow pain

Elbow pain may come from the bones, ligaments, tendons or muscles or other structures around the elbow joint. Generally pain will settle with time and appropriate self-management.

Below are links to more information about common conditions affecting the elbow. Click on the image that best represents the area you have symptoms for more details.

When should I seek help?

Please contact a healthcare practitioner urgently if:

  • Your elbow pain started after a recent significant injury such as falling onto your arm or hand
  • Your elbow is painful and swollen and you feel unwell in yourself (for example a fever).