Elbow Problems, Noninjury
Most minor elbow problems go away on their own. Home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve your symptoms.
Home treatment for minor problems
Home treatment may help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.
- If you have swelling, Reference remove all rings Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, bracelets, watches, or any other jewelry that goes around your wrist or fingers of the affected arm. It will be more harder to remove the jewelry later if swelling increases.
- Use Reference rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to treat pain and swelling.
- Wear a Reference sling Opens New Window if it makes you more comfortable and supports your elbow. If you feel you need to use a sling for longer than 48 hours, discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
- An elbow support, such as an elbow sleeve, forearm wrap, or arm sling, may help rest your elbow joint, relieve stress on forearm muscles, and protect the joint area during an activity. A Reference counterforce brace Opens New Window may be helpful for tennis elbow symptoms. Follow the manufacturer's directions for using the brace.
- Gently massage or rub the area to relieve pain and encourage blood flow. Do not massage the elbow if it causes pain.
- After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply Reference heat and begin Reference gentle exercise with the aid of moist heat to help restore and maintain flexibility. Some experts recommend alternating between hot and cold treatments.
- Do not smoke. Smoking slows healing because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair. For more information, see the topic Reference Quitting Smoking.
|Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:|
Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
|Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Reference Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
- Pain or swelling develops.
- Reference Signs of infection Opens New Window develop.
- Numbness, tingling, or cool, pale, skin develops.
- Symptoms do not improve with home treatment.
- Symptoms become more severe or more frequent.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference February 16, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine