You will be asked about your symptoms and how you hurt your elbow. The doctor will look at your elbow to see whether it is stable.
Pictures may be taken of your elbow. This can be done with:
- MRI scan
Elbow sprains are graded from 1 to 3:
- Grade 1—Some stretching with micro-tearing of ligament
- Grade 2—Partial tearing of ligament
- Grade 3—Complete tearing of ligament
Acute care may involve:
- Resting the elbow
- Stopping anything that causes pain or puts stress on the elbow
- Using ice for swelling and pain
- Using pain relievers
Pain Relief Medicines
Your doctor may tell you to take pain medicine. You may be told to take:
- Over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin or acetaminophen
- Topical pain medication—creams or patches that are put on the skin
- Prescription pain medicine
Note: Aspirin is not advised for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
Extra support may be needed to protect, support, and keep your elbow in line. This may mean:
- Wearing a brace or sling
- Exercises advised by your doctor or physical therapist
- Surgery, in some cases
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.
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American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2015;(6):CD007402.
Fast facts about sprains and strains. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/health%5Finfo/Sprains%5FStrains/sprains%5Fand%5Fstrains%5Fff.asp. Updated January 30, 2015. Accessed June 11, 2018.
Sprains and strains: What's the difference? Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111. Updated July 2015. Accessed June 11, 2018.
Sprains, strains and other soft-tissue injuries. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111. Updated July 2015. Accessed June 11, 2018.