Elbow Pain

Overuse or repeated pressure on the elbow joint can cause injury particularly at the tendon attachments to the joint. The bursa at the back of the elbow at the olecranon can also become injured from repeated trauma or overuse. The elbow joint is integral to most upper limb activities and pain, restricted motion and weakness at the elbow can cause significant impairment to function.

elbow pain treated by physiotherapy

Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy has helped many clients from Gungahlin and the wider Canberra community with all types of elbow pain syndromes.

The most common type of elbow pain is known as tennis elbow. Golfer’s elbow is a less common but similar overuse injury. Despite their names, these injuries can occur as a result of a range of physical activities – racquet sports, rowing, canoeing, weightlifting, hockey, wrestling, swimming – as well as repetitive work tasks undertaken in a variety of occupations. The tendons, which attach the muscles to the bones are damaged and can develop micro-tears. In some cases, adverse neural tension and joint stiffness can precipitate either injury. There is poor blood supply to the tendon junction so these injuries typically can take some time to heal.

Tennis Elbow is an overuse injury occurring at the lateral side of the elbow joint where the forearm extensor tendons attach. The injury is caused by overuse of the forearm extensor muscles that are involved in sports as well as everyday activities such as gripping, keyboard & mouse use, gardening, lifting and carrying.

Golfers Elbow is an overuse injury occurring at the medial side of the elbow joint where the forearm flexor tendons attach. The injury can be caused in much the same way as Tennis Elbow.

tennis elbow treated by physiotherapists

Olecranon Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa (sac of fluid) at the boney prominence at the back of the elbow known as the olecranon. It can develop as a result either of a single blow or perhaps more commonly from repeated minor injuries, such as may be caused by repeatedly leaning on the point of the elbow on a hard surface. The possibility of developing the condition is more common as one gets older. Symptoms include pain and swelling aggravated by movement and any pressure to the area.


How can Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy help your elbow injury?

In most cases, physiotherapy alone offers an effective solution for most elbow injuries. During your first visit, our physiotherapists will examine your elbow to determine what structures have been damaged. In chronic pain cases without trauma we will also assess your neck as your pain may be referred. Establishing the correct diagnosis early is imperative as several elbow injuries mimic symptoms yet have different treatment protocols. We use our unique ‘phase-based rehab system’ to ensure all aspects of a full and lasting recovery are delivered. We will tailor a treatment plan to suit your needs, with you involved in the decision making to make certain that we address your biggest concerns. Our physios will use hands on therapy techniques to improve joint mobility and muscle flexibility. We will nearly always at each session provide home exercises of stretches and strength work so that you keep improving between sessions. Early treatment will be focused on reducing pain and swelling and regaining range of motion. Braces, splinting and taping may be provided to protect your elbow injury in early rehabilitation. The physiotherapist will then prescribe an exercise program to improve the strength and coordination of your elbow, which are important for preventing re-injury. Massage, hydrotherapy, dry needling and our gym may also be used for best outcome. Towards the end of the treatment program you will be given prevention strategies to keep the pain away. The sooner we begin your elbow rehabilitation the faster your recovery and back to the things you love doing.


Why choose us for your elbow pain?

    • We listen, we care and we get results
    • We provide physiotherapy to fix the cause of your elbow injury and not just the symptoms
    • We have physios who have special training in elbow injuries having completed further studies
    • We can refer you for further investigations such as x-ray or MRI if required
    • We understand the demands and technique involved in all sport types
    • We can provide dry needling for pain management and accelerated healing
    • We can use our gym for advanced upper limb strengthening
    • We can supply practitioner only natural anti-inflammatory supplements to help healing
    • Our massage therapists can help improve muscle flexibility around the elbow
    • Our therapists have been recognised for their expertise having been national sporting team consultants
    • We provide braces, splinting or taping to protect your elbow injury on return to activity
    • Many of our physios work with local, state, national and international teams and athletes
    • We provide you with the tools to look after your health long after you leave our care
    • We provide you with a guided return to sport with any technique modifications or training


  • We can recommend referral to a medical specialist if need be to see if your elbow injury requires surgery