by Laurie LaRusso, MS, ELS
An elbow sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that stabilize the elbow. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that cross joints and connect bones to each other.
Elbow sprains may be caused by:
Risk Factors TOP
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease, condition, or injury.
Risk factors for an elbow sprain:
If you felt your elbow dislocate (or "pop" out of the joint), tell your doctor right away. The treatment for a dislocation is different than a sprain.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how you injured your elbow. The doctor will examine your elbow to assess the stability of the joint and the severity of the injury.
Tests may include:
Elbow sprains are graded according to their severity.
Elbow sprains usually occur from accidents that cannot be prevented.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aaos.org.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/.
Sports Injuries: Basic Principles of Prevention and Care. Blackwell Scientific Publications; 1993.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Massey T, Derry S, et al. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 09/30/2012