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- Forced twisting of the arm
- Falling on an outstretched arm
- A blow to the elbow
- Playing certain sports, such as gymnastics or baseball
- Poor coordination
- Poor balance
- Inadequate flexibility and strength in muscles and ligaments
- Loose joints or connective tissue disorders
- Pain, tenderness, and swelling around the elbow
- Redness, warmth, or bruising around the elbow
- Limited ability to move the elbow
- Pain when moving the elbow
- Grade 1—Some stretching with micro-tearing of ligament tissue.
- Grade 2—Partial tearing of ligament tissue.
- Grade 3—Complete tearing of ligament tissue.
- Resting the elbow
- Avoiding activities that cause pain or put stress on the elbow
- Icing the elbow to reduce swelling and discomfort
- Using over-the-counter, topical, or prescription pain relievers
- Over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen
- Topical pain medication—creams or patches that are applied to the skin
- Prescription pain relievers
- Wearing a brace or sling
- Rehabilitation exercises advised by your doctor or physical therapist
- Surgery in some cases
- Wearing protective equipment and using proper technique while playing sports
- Keeping elbows and arms strong with regular exercises to absorb the energy of sudden physical stress
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
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 November 2014. Accessed June 18, 2015.
Sprains and strains: What's the difference? American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111. Updated October 2007. Accessed June 18, 2015.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Massey T, Derry S, et al. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2015 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -
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.
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