An elbow sprain is when a force pushes the bones of the elbow apart. If the force is strong enough, the ligament comes apart. This can happen from things like:
- A blow to the elbow
- Forced twisting of the arm
- An impact with an object or another person
- Falling on an outstretched arm
Problems may be:
- Pain and tenderness in the elbow
- Swelling, warmth, or bruising around the elbow
- Problems moving the elbow
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked how you injured your elbow. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your elbow.
It can be hard to tell a sprain from a fracture or dislocation. Pictures may be taken. This can be done with:
- MRI scan
Treatment will depend on the joint and how severe the injury is. The goal of treatment is to ease pain and improve movement. Choices are:
- Supportive care, such as rest, ice, a compression bandage, and raising the elbow to ease pain and swelling
- Medicine, such as over the counter or prescription pain relievers
- Wearing a brace or sling to support the elbow as it heals
- Physical therapy to improve strength and range of motion
Some people may need surgery to repair a ligament that is torn.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services
All rights reserved.