Welcome to the Elbow Service

The elbow service forms part of a range of services provided by the Sussex MSK Partnership. It is a service provided by clinicians called Advanced Practitioners. These are physiotherapists with specialist knowledge and skills in caring for patients with elbow conditions. The aim of the service is to provide patients with a high quality service that is based in a community setting, such as a GP surgery.

Getting ready for my appointment

To help you prepare for your appointment we have collected some general information on our FAQ’s page.  This will help you understand what to expect from your appointment and how best to prepare.

Where are the clinics located?

To find a full list of our clinic locations please see locations page. 

Getting in Touch

If you need to speak to one of our team about an appointment or referral, please see the contact page for more details.

Information about Your Elbow

The elbow is a hinge joint (see Figure 1) that allows the arm to be bent or straightened. It is surrounded by muscles, ligaments and tendons (Figure 2). A muscle is a band or a bundle of fibrous tissue that has the ability to contract producing movement in or maintaining the position of parts of the body. A tendon is a flexible but inelastic cord of strong fibrous collagen tissue attaching a muscle to a bone. A ligament is a short band of tough, flexible fibrous connective tissue which connects two bones or cartilages or holds together a joint.


Facts about elbow pain

Overuse or misuse of the elbow can lead to pain. Simple strains are caused by injuries to muscles or tendons and sprains are caused by injuries to ligaments. Injuries are usually caused by an injury to muscle. Ligament or tendon injuries are usually caused by overuse. The pain usually comes from strained tendons or inflamed soft tissues. Most elbow pain has a simple cause and clears up within a few days.

What can I do to help myself to get better?

Getting the balance right between rest and activity: If you have elbow pain, try to change the way you do things or do less of them. It is useful to think about what makes the pain worse and avoid those activities and repetitive activities as much as you can, particularly over a long period.

Some exercises can be useful to ease pain and help your elbow to move better. If your pain increases when exercising, take regular breaks or consider not doing them at all. When your elbow pain is better, do keep exercising to stay strong and mobile. These simple exercises may be helpful.

Painkillers: Over the counter painkillers may be helpful, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or creams that you can buy at the chemist. Your pharmacist will be able to give you expert advice.

Elbow Strap: A tennis elbow strap or clasp can reduce the strain on your elbow tendons when lifting, doing housework or playing sport. They are available from chemists and sports shops.

PRICE Therapy: Minor injuries, such as mild sprains and strains, can often be initially treated at home using PRICE therapy for two or three days. PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Protection – protect the affected area from further injury; for example, by using a support and avoiding painful activities.

Rest – Optimal loading of the elbow is advised to maintain function but avoid aggravating pain.

Ice – apply an ice pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes every two to three hours. A bag of frozen peas, or similar, will work well. Wrap the ice pack in a towel to avoid it directly touching your skin and causing an ice burn.

Compression – use elastic compression bandages during the day to limit swelling.

Elevation – keep the injured body part raised above the level of the heart whenever possible. This may also help to reduce swelling.

When should I see my doctor?

Elbow pain usually gets better on its own or with self-help treatments. However, see your doctor / GP:

After a sudden traumatic injury such as a fall onto a hard surface or a direct impact on the elbow or sudden twisting of the arm

If you are worried that you may have broken your arm

If the pain is severe

You have tingling or numbness in the arm or fingers

If the limb feels cold

If it is severely swollen or appears to be deformed

If the elbow becomes hot, red, swollen and tender you may have an infection of the joint, so you should see your doctor straight away. You may also feel feverish.


Here are some leaflets to help you manage your condition, these have been reviewed and approved by our clinical staff to be the best information for patients.