An elbow sprain is an injury to one or more of the ligaments in your elbow. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another to form the joints. When a ligament is injured, it can be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn.
A sprain is caused by a sudden activity that twists or tears a ligament, like a fall onto your elbow or onto your outstretched arm.
Symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms, activities, and medical history. You may have X-rays or other scans.
You will need to change or stop doing the activities that cause pain until the ligament has healed.
Your healthcare provider may recommend stretching and strengthening exercises to help you heal more quickly.
Your provider may give you a sling or splint to keep the elbow from moving while it heals.
If your elbow ligaments are completely torn, you may need surgery.
The pain often gets better within a few weeks with self-care, but some injuries may take several months or longer to heal. It’s important to follow all of your healthcare provider’s instructions.
To reduce swelling and pain for the first few days after the injury:
Follow your healthcare provider's instructions, including any exercises recommended by your provider. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Warm-up exercises and stretching before activities can help prevent injuries.
Follow safety rules and use any protective equipment recommended for your work or sport.