The elbow joint is a hinge joint responsible for several important tasks, such as rotating your forearm, moving your hand toward and away from the body, and bending and straightening the elbow.
Injuries to the elbow are common among baseball pitchers, golfers, boxers, and tennis players but can also happen to anyone performing activities that strain the elbow joint. These injuries involve arm muscles, tendons, elbow ligaments, bones in the arm, and elbow joint bursae.
Common elbow injuries are golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, olecranon bursitis, elbow fracture or dislocation, and elbow sprain or strain. These injuries can make your everyday elbow movement painful and difficult.
Let’s talk about 5 ways to treat your elbow injuries and where you can go for comprehensive care of elbow injuries in Walnut Creek, CA.
#1 RICE Therapy
RICE, also known as rest, ice, compression, and elevation, is commonly recommended to treat elbow injuries, such as tennis elbow.
- Rest – Taking a few days or weeks off from any activity that can cause elbow pain and inflammation can help your elbow heal quickly.
- Ice – In order to relieve pain, swelling, and discomfort, you can also apply ice packs on your elbow 3 to 4 times a day for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Remember not to place the ice directly on your elbow, as it can impair blood circulation.
- Compression – Acute elbow injuries can result in swelling, which can be reduced with a compression bandage. The compression bandages push the excess fluid into the circulation as well as help reduce muscle fatigue.
- Elevation – Just like compression, the elevation of the arm above the heart level can also help reduce inflammation and ease the pain. While laying down, putting your elbow on the pillow can do the trick.
Oral medications such as acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen, ibuprofen, etc., can help alleviate pain and inflammation associated with elbow injuries. Topical medications, such as creams and ointments, can also address the symptoms of elbow injuries and help with healing.
If the pain and swelling associated with your elbow injuries are not going away with oral and topical medication, your orthopedic doctor may administer a cortisone injection. Cortisone injections are highly effective at relieving pain and swelling, and their effect lasts from a few weeks to a few months.
#3 PRP Therapy
In addition to medications, your orthopedic doctor may also recommend platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP). PRP therapy has been shown to be particularly effective in treating elbow injuries. The platelets and growth factors injected at the affected area during the PRP therapy can stimulate healing, reduce pain and improve elbow function.
#4 Elbow Exercises
The symptoms of elbow pain can be relieved by elbow exercises. Studies have also found that elbow exercises can reduce pain and improve healing in people with tennis elbows. Common exercises that can help with elbow injuries are:
- Eccentric exercises
- Isometric exercises
- Static stretching exercises
- Aquatic exercises
Your orthopedic doctor will guide you about exercises and let you know what types and levels of exercises will work best for your elbow injury.
If your symptoms haven’t improved even after 6 to 12 months of the above-mentioned non-surgical treatments, your orthopedic doctor may recommend surgery. During surgery, your orthopedic doctor removes or repairs the damaged tissues.
Elbow surgery can be performed by making one or more large incisions (open surgery) or small incisions (minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery).
Elbow Injuries Treatment in Walnut Creek, CA
If you’re having elbow pain, swelling, and stiffness that is not going away with rest and are seeking a lasting solution, visit our outstanding orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Laura Timmerman. She is a board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeon who specializes in treating knee, shoulder, and elbow athletic injuries using open or arthroscopic surgery.
Before recommending surgical treatment, our orthopedic surgeon first considers non-surgical treatments for your condition.
If you would like to make an appointment with our orthopedic surgeon, call us today at (925) 952-4080 or set up an appointment by using our appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!