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Elbow Sprain

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Last updated June 11, 2022

Elbow sprain quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your elbow sprain.

Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • You can usually treat mild to moderate symptoms of an elbow sprain with ice, compression, and pain relievers (Tylenol or NSAIDs).
  • Avoid activities that put pressure or stress on the elbow or aggravate symptoms.
See home treatments

When you may need a provider

  • You’ve tried home treatments for 10–14 days and it’s not helping.
  • It hurts to move your elbow or use your arm to perform everyday tasks.
See care providers

Emergency Care

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Go to the ER if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Severe pain and not able to move the elbow
  • Pain, redness, or swelling—may be a sign of an infection

Elbow sprain quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your elbow sprain.

Take elbow sprain quiz

What is an elbow sprain?

An elbow sprain is an injury to one or more of the ligaments around the elbow. Elbow ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect the bones of your upper arm and lower arm around your elbow joint. An elbow sprain typically occurs when the arm experiences sudden, forceful stretching during physical activity or an accident.

Rarity: Common


  • Pain
  • Soreness
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty bending and extending the elbow


You should ice and rest your elbow using the RICE method (rest, ice, use compression, and elevate it). If the pain is too intense, using NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen can relieve the pain.

Ready to treat your elbow sprain?

We show you only the best treatments for your condition and symptoms—all vetted by our medical team. And when you’re not sure what’s wrong, Buoy can guide you in the right direction.See all treatment options
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The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.
Dr. Rothschild has been a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He currently practices as a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Rothschild received his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine. He also received an MP...
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