A swollen elbow joint is usually caused by an injury to the joint or surrounding soft tissues such as the ligaments, muscles and tendons. These injuries might lead to tennis elbow, bursitis and tendinitis.[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGVR1EGyG7o”]
Performing repetitive activities in sports such as golf and tennis can cause injuries to the elbow and result to pain and a swollen elbow joint. Tennis elbow involves the inflammation of the soft tissues outside of the elbow while golfer’ elbow involves swelling of the soft tissues inside the elbow. Other conditions that can cause a swollen elbow joint include bruises, fractures and bursitis or the inflammation of the bursa sac.
Treatment for a swollen elbow joint
- Take plenty of rest and avoid activities that can cause irritation and pain such as tennis and golf to prevent making the condition worse.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected elbow to lessen the swelling and inflammation. Wrap ice cubes in plastic bag and wrap with a towel before applying on the affected area for 20 minutes interval for 3-4 times every day. Avoid applying the ice pack directly on the skin to prevent frostbite and making the condition worse.
- Wrap the area using an elastic wrap from the mid-forearm to the upper arm or shoulder throughout the day to help minimize the swelling. Compression also helps lessen the pain in the elbow. Avoid wrapping it too tight since this can lead to a disruption in the blood circulation in the area. Leave the area wrapped for 30 minutes and allow unwrapped for next 15 minutes to increase the circulation in the area. Perform this process for a few hours until relieved from the pain of a swollen elbow joint.
- Massage the affected area using cabbage leaves, broccoli and potato. Soak cabbage leaves in cold water for at least 30 minutes and place it on the affected elbow and wrap it with a cloth. Leave it on overnight for relief from pain in the elbow. Broccoli can be mashed until the consistency of a paste and applied on the swollen elbow joint and wrap it with a clean cloth and leave on for 20 minutes. If broccoli is not available, potatoes can also be mashed and placed on the affected area for 30 minutes to provide relief from the pain of a swollen elbow joint.
- Apply heating pads on the affected area for at least 15 minutes to lessen the pain. Continue with the treatment after 2 hours for relief from the pain. Another way is to take a hot shower.
- Take the prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to lessen the swelling.
- Seek the help of a physical therapist for suitable rehabilitation exercises and stretches that can prevent additional injuries on the elbow and swelling.