- Orthopedic (muscles, bones, injury)>
- Elbow sprain>
- Treatment Overview
Elbow Sprain Treatment Overview
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.
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.
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
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When to see a healthcare provider
See a healthcare provider if you continue to have symptoms after 10–14 days of home treatments or if pain becomes severe. Symptoms of an elbow sprain can be similar to other conditions like elbow tendinitis.
Your provider will do a physical exam to evaluate your elbow. You may need X-rays to check for arthritis or other conditions.
What to expect from your visit
- Physical therapy may be recommended to help with strength and motion.
- A brace may be recommended to support the elbow.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to help reduce pain and inflammation.
Prescription elbow sprain medications
- Meloxicam (Mobic)
- Nabumetone (Relafen)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Diclofenac (Voltaren)
Types of providers who treat elbow sprain
- A primary care provider can treat mild to moderate symptoms.
- An orthopedist specializes in the treatment of bone, joint, and muscle problems.
Treating an elbow sprain at home
You can usually treat an elbow sprain at home, with ice or heat (whichever works best for you), resting the elbow, and regularly taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. You can also put topical pain relievers on the elbow.
Symptoms typically improve after 10–14 days but may take longer (several weeks) to completely go away.
- Avoid activities that require repetitive elbow movement or put stress on the joint. This includes throwing, lifting, or using your arms to push up (like getting out of a chair).
- An ACE wrap or elbow sleeve can be used for compression and support of the joint.
- Apply an ice pack three times a day to reduce pain and swelling.
- Use a heat pack if it helps with the pain.