How to Care for Your Elbow Injury

Jul 07, 2023
How to Care for Your Elbow Injury
Whether it’s from intense physical activity or a spill at home, joint injuries are all too common and require the proper care. We use our elbows for a lot of things, so if they get damaged, you’ll need to know how to manage it.

Basic human movement like walking, running, lifting, and waving are all made possible by a complex system of muscles, bones, tissues, and joints. Joints are the connective points between bones, and consist of tendons, cartilage, muscles, and ligaments. They are a part of how we move almost every part of our bodies, and a human adult has 360 of them — including shoulders, hips, knees, wrists, elbows, fingers, ankles, neck, toes, and jaw.

Relying on your joints also means that injuries are all too frequent, with 3.5 million annual injuries for children and teens from sports, and over 30 million adults struggling with some form of chronic joint pain. 

Elbow injuries are a common type of joint injury that can come from a number of causes, and caring for it means knowing how to manage it at home. Let’s look at what you should do to cope with the pain from elbow injuries by exploring the common types you can deal with, and some home treatment methods.

Residents of the Fort Worth, Texas area struggling with elbow injuries or some other form of joint pain can find help with Dr. Joseph Daniels and his experienced medical team at Southwest Orthopedic Associates.

Common elbow injuries

There are a variety of problems that lead to elbow pain, including:

  • Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis): a condition affecting the inner tendons of your elbow, often resulting from repetitive motion
  • Tennis elbow (lateral elbow tendinopathy): a tendon condition affecting the outside of your elbow, resulting from overuse or repetitive motion
  • Draftsman’s elbow (olecranon bursitis): a condition that affects small sacs of fluid in your joints called bursae that cause swelling, pain, and lack of motion
  • Osteoarthritis: arthritis damages the cartilage in your joints, and this condition causes it to wear down and leads to your bones rubbing together
  • Fracture: impact injuries to this joint can lead to fractures, dislocations, or breaks, which in turn can lead to pain swelling, discoloration,and immobility
  • Sprains/ strains: trauma or repetitive stress of your ligaments can cause sprains or strains in your elbow, which can lead to joint instability, swelling, and pain

Home treatment options

The RICE method is a solid and basic way to manage pain from elbow injuries and other conditions:


Rest is often a great method of letting your body recharge and heal, and here is no different. Reduce activities with your elbows as much as possible, and give yourself time to get proper rest.


Many sources of elbow pain can cause swelling and pain, and icing it can help reduce both. An ice pack covered by an absorbent towel, applied for 15-20 minutes at a time, can help ease pain and make the injury more manageable.


An elastic medical bandage (ACE bandage) can be very helpful in stabilizing the joint and preventing swelling, but be sure to not make it too tight, as that can potentially create new problems with circulation.


A simple trick for reducing pain, swelling, and throbbing is simply elevating the body part above your heart. When coping with an injury, elevate whenever possible even if you’re not icing the damaged joint.

If your symptoms are accompanied by problems like fever, a locked joint, deformities, severe swelling and bruising, or symptoms lasting for a prolonged period of time, get medical attention as soon as possible.

Regardless of the reason for your elbow pain, if it’s too much to manage at home, make an appointment with Dr. Daniels and the team at Southwest Orthopedic Associates today.