Forearm pain can have many causes, so an accurate diagnosis is critical to receiving the proper treatment. A diagnosis of tennis elbow is based in large part on a thorough review of your medical history and on your symptoms. In addition, Mayo Clinic doctors use the following procedures to help diagnose tennis elbow:
- X-ray. An X-ray may help identify an underlying cause of your symptoms other than tennis elbow, such as bone fractures or arthritis.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound is used to examine your elbow tendons for degeneration and irregularities.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Mayo Clinic scientists developed special MRI devices specifically designed to more clearly show the nerves, tendons, muscles and bones in the elbow, forearm, fingers, hands and wrists. The MRI devices, named Mayo Clinic BC-10 MRI Coils, make diagnosis easier and more accurate.
- Biomechanics and movement analysis. The technique you use when performing your sport or activity can have a major impact on whether you are at risk for tennis elbow. Physical therapists carefully analyze how you perform activities and correct movement flaws — for example, hitting a tennis ball with improper technique — that may predispose you to tennis elbow.