How to Treat and Prevent Elbow Injuries


Elbow pain may not be the result of the most serious injury, but its presence can make it really hard to continue participating in the sports you love or working out to full capacity.

If you've been experiencing nagging elbow pain, here are some common causes, as well as elbow pain treatment options that you might want to consider.

Inflammation of the Elbow

Soft tissue inflammation of the elbow or disorders that affect its function are often referred to as "tennis elbow" or "golfer's elbow." The medical terms for these disorders are "lateral epicondylitis" or "medial epicondylitis."

You use the tendons and muscles in your elbow every day to perform a wide variety of tasks. Sometimes, the physical stress to the elbow's muscles and tendons can begin to fatigue and wear down over time. Much of this is normal, so long as the amount of fatigue is low enough to allow the body to heal itself.

Too much fatigue and strain without the body's ability to repair itself can lead to inflammation of the elbow. The greater the strain without treatment, the greater the injury and the accompanying pain.

Neglect That Leads to Elbow Injury

Preventing disorders to your elbow requires taking care both while practicing your sport or at home.

Here are some poor habits that can lead to an elbow injury.


Healthy muscles are made up of mostly water, so if you aren't drinking enough of it, your elbow tendons will be at a greater risk for strain, fatigue, and tendonitis.

Poor Nutrition

Inflammation is most likely to occur among those with a poor diet. Keep your body running on healthy nutrients and avoid consuming an excess of processed foods to prevent elbow injuries and disorders.


Your body can't repair itself from minor elbow strain if you aren't getting enough sleep, which means any elbow injury will become worse over time.

Improper Form

If you're practicing a sport but not using the right form, you can cause a lot of damage to your tendons and ligaments.

Make sure you understand the right form when using your tennis racket or golf club, or when throwing a pitch.

Forgetting to Warm-Up

Before you play, make sure you take the time to warm-up first to reduce any strain.

Stretch your forearm and upper arm for at least 10 minutes and perform some light aerobics.

Not Seeking Physical Therapy

If you have sustained an injury such as a hyperextended elbow, you need to seek elbow pain treatment immediately. Those who wait to get help or don't perform the necessary physical therapy are at risk for greater injury.

Make improvements where necessary to reduce your risk of injury to your elbow.

Try These Elbow Pain Treatment Methods

The good news is, most types of elbow pain won't require any kind of surgery and may improve so long as you take important steps to allow the injury to heal. If you've been experiencing elbow pain, try these elbow pain treatment methods:

  • Ease the strain by resting your elbow as much as you can. This means you'll probably have to limit your involvement in physical activities that require a lot of use of your wrist or forearm
  • If you injured your elbow playing a sport like tennis or golf, brush up on your form and even get help from a professional if necessary to help reduce the strain on your elbow
  • Apply ice to your elbow for at least 20 minutes every 4 hours for a few days minimum
  • Massage the sore area of your elbow for a couple of minutes 6 times a day. Apply firm pressure when doing so
  • You might want to consider using an elbow brace to provide extra stability and protection while also offering pain relief. Most elbow braces can be worn while participating in physical activities

Your doctor or physical therapist can also make elbow pain treatment recommendations. The main idea is to give your elbow plenty of rest and recovery time.

Implement Exercises

By strengthening and stretching the muscles around the elbow, you improve its functionality and reduce pain. Some great exercises for your strained elbow might include:

  • The wrist extensor stretch where you straighten your arm out fully and then push the palm of your hand down to feel a stretch across your forearm. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds and repeat it 3 times
  • The wrist flexion/extension stretch. This is where you hold a light weight with your palm facing up and bend your wrist upward and then slowly lower the weight down and then back to the starting position
  • The forearm stretch is where you hold a light weight and bend your elbow 90 degrees. Then, slowly rotate your hand with your palm upwards and repeat with your palm facing downwards

Practicing these exercises consistently will help strengthen your elbow each day and boost your body's recovery efforts.

Learn More

Find other insightful information about elbow pain treatment and pain treatment for all other areas of the body by checking out some of our other resources for athletes, trainers, and those who just like to lead an active lifestyle.

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