Covers physical exam for tennis elbow. Explains how your doctor will look at your elbow and the muscles, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels in your arm and wrist. Also explains why your doctor will check your neck. Includes what possible results mean.
Physical Exam for Tennis Elbow
During the physical exam for
tennis elbow, your doctor may examine both of your
arms, as well as your:
Elbow and the muscles, tendons, nerves, and
blood vessels in your arm and wrist, to check for
tendon and nerve or vascular problems, including pain,
weakness, or tingling.
Neck. (Pain in your elbow may be
referred from the nerves in your neck.)
If it is clear that there are no broken bones, your doctor
will move your arm around to check for range of motion, flexibility, and
Why It Is Done
A physical exam of the elbow is done
when the elbow is sore and painful.
Results from the physical exam don't show any serious
problem in the elbow. Your doctor may suggest resting your arm and applying ice
at home. He or she may also suggest further tests.
Abnormal results from the physical exam may
Pain in the elbow, either at rest or while
moving through a normal range of motion.
Pain in the elbow when
pressure is applied while extending the wrist (in the "stop traffic" position)
and holding against resistance, or when pressure is applied while twisting the
Tenderness to the touch (palpation).
to move the arm through a normal range of motion.
sensation when the elbow is moving.
Muscle weakness in the arm,
wrist, or hand.
Tingling when a nerve area is tapped (Tinel's sign)
or difficulty pinching with fingers (possible nerve
Altered or decreased sensation in the arm, wrist, or
What To Think About
Tennis elbow can usually be
diagnosed with a medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor may recommend
treatment without doing X-rays, to see whether the problem gets better. If it
does, no more tests are needed.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.