Doctors can usually diagnose tennis elbow through a physical exam alone. Patients are tender at the outer elbow, in the area of the lateral epicondyle, and it hurts to extend the wrist, especially against pressure. Elbow X-rays may be ordered if the doctor suspects abnormal calcium deposits, bone spurs or a joint problem. A diagnostic ultrasound or an MRI is sometimes ordered if the diagnosis is unclear or the patient doesn't improve with treatment.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.