Elbow and arm pain
Elbow and arm pain is not usually a sign of anything serious. If it does not go away after a few weeks, see a GP.
How you can ease elbow and arm pain yourself
Try these things for a couple of days:
put a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel on your arm – do this for 5 minutes, 3 times a day
take painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen
raise the arm if it’s swollen
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
the pain does not go away after a few weeks
Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP
It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:
visit their website
use the NHS App
Find out about using the NHS during coronavirus
Urgent advice: Get advice from 111 now if your arm:
hurts when you exercise but the pain goes away when you rest
is swollen and you have a very high temperature or feel hot and shivery
is extremely painful and difficult to move
tingles or feels numb
has been injured and you heard a snapping noise or your arm has changed shape
These can be signs of a heart problem (angina), an infection or a broken arm.
111 will tell you what to do. They can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone.
Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.
Other ways to get help
Immediate action required: Call 999 if:
the pain has come on suddenly and your chest feels like it’s being squeezed
These could be signs of a heart attack or stroke.
Causes of elbow and arm pain
Apart from an injury, these things can cause arm pain.
Do not self-diagnose. See a GP if you’re worried.
Main symptoms Possible cause
Pain, stiffness, difficulty moving, swelling tendonitis (for example, tennis elbow)
Pain, tenderness, bruising, swelling sprains and strains
Pain, stiffness coming down from the shoulder frozen shoulder
Pain and stiffness in the joints arthritis
Temperature of 38C or above, feeling shivery, skin broken around the shoulder inflamed shoulder (bursitis)