Seek emergency care if you have:
- An obvious deformity in your elbow
- A protruding bone
Call your doctor right away if you have:
- Severe pain, swelling and bruising around the joint
- Trouble moving your elbow normally, using your arm or turning your arm from palm up to palm down and vice versa
Schedule an office visit if you have:
- Elbow pain that doesn't improve after home care
- Pain that occurs even when you're not using your arm
- Increasing redness, swelling or pain in the injured area
Most elbow pain improves with simple home treatments, such as:
- Protect. Keep the area from getting further injury.
- Rest. Avoid the activity that caused your injury.
- Ice. Place an ice pack on the sore area for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day.
- Compression. Use a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
- Elevation. Keep your arm elevated to help reduce swelling.
March 27, 2021
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- Kane SF, et al. Evaluation of elbow pain in adults. American Family Physician. 2014;89:649.
- Anderson BC, et al. Evaluation of elbow pain in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 16, 2016.
- Pitzer ME, et al. Elbow tendinopathy. Medical Clinics of North America. 2014; 98:833.
- Sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111. Accessed Jan. 16, 2016.