How To Treat An Elbow Sprain?

by | Jan 30, 2024

An elbow sprain happens when the ligaments around your elbow get stretched or torn. This usually occurs due to some awkward twist or sudden impact. So, it’s like a mini protest from your elbow. This can make your elbow swollen and tender till it fully heals.

Symptoms of a Sprained Elbow

The symptoms of your elbow sprain injury are based on the extent of it. Following are some indications:

  • Inability to bend or stretch your elbow
  • Bruise surrounding the elbow
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Imbalance
  • Redness and tenderness

The following are the symptoms that require medical intervention:

  • Not being able to put pressure on your elbow
  • Incapability to move your elbow
  • Numbness in and around the elbow

How to Treat an Elbow Sprain?

To recover from an elbow sprain, your healthcare provider can suggest treatments based on the level of injury. There are various non-surgical and surgical methods available.

  • Non-Surgical Treatment:

A mild elbow sprain is usually treated using the RICE strategy. The RICE means:

Rest: Limit and change your routine tasks to let the ligaments recover.
Ice: Ice is beneficial for every injury that causes swelling. Applying it every 20 minutes can stop tissue damage.
Compression: It is a great method for reducing swelling. You can apply a tight elastic bandage to the area for compression.
Elevate: Elevating your hand while sleeping or lying can reduce pain and promote healing.
Your doctor can provide anti-inflammatory medications to manage pain. If the ligaments are extensively damaged, these non-invasive treatments won’t work. Your healthcare provider can offer ligament repair.

  • Surgical Treatment
    Most elbow sprain cases do not require surgery unless the ligament is severely harmed. Your surgeon will discuss the treatment with you before proceeding with the surgery. They used minimally invasive surgical methods to repair soft tissue that was damaged due to an elbow sprain.

Elbow Sprain Exercises

Exercise paired with medicines works wonders in healing an elbow sprain. Your physical therapist can recommend the following exercises:

  1. Passive Flexion
    • Lay a towel on a table and rest your elbow on it. Slowly bend your arm toward the same shoulder using your other hand.
    • Keep your wrist straight throughout.
    • Maintain this posture for a minute, then repeat it 4 times.
  2. Elbow Extension
    • Pick a lightweight dumbbell or a paperweight, and stretch one arm above your head.
    • Bend your arm backward toward the elbow and stretch it to its maximum capacity.
    • Perform 1-3 sets, repeating each 10 times.
  3. Towel Twist
    • Sit on a chair and take a towel.
    • Roll it and twist and turn it in your hand like you wriggle the water out.
    • Do it in a clockwise motion 10 times, then anticlockwise for 10 times more.

Sprain Elbow Recovery Time

The healing duration of an elbow sprain depends on the injury’s extent. A simple elbow sprain takes about four to six weeks to heal. Your healthcare provider can suggest some elbow exercises to accelerate your healing process. Therefore, there’s no specific amount of time required for recovery.

Final Verdict

Injuries and overuse of elbow muscles cause elbow sprains. They can heal on their own. However, a torn ligament is serious and requires medical attention.

Contact your trusted orthopedic expert, Dr. Luo, at Randy Y. Luo. Our doctor specializes in upper hand extremity assessments and treatments. Call us at (713) 794-3307 to book an appointment.

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