Ligament Injuries

Ligament Injuries

What is it?

An elbow ligament injury occurs when the elbow ligament stretches or tears, which can range from a slight to complete tear.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

An elbow ligament injury occurs when the arm twists, or is unusually bent backward or to the side, at the elbow. This can occur during falls. Risk factors include:

  • Past elbow injuries
  • Playing sports, such as football
  • Age

Symptoms of elbow ligament injury include:

  • A noticeable pop in the elbow at the time of injury
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Limited movement
  • A feeling of joint instability


A doctor will diagnose an elbow ligament injury by:

  • Examining the joint and its stability and range of motion
  • Reviewing symptoms and medical history
  • Conducting X-rays or an MRI to look for damage to the bone, cartilage, ligaments, tendons or muscles
  • An arthroscopic procedure to look inside the joint


Treatment for an elbow ligament injury includes:

  • Resting the joint
  • Icing the joint
  • Compressing the elbow by wrapping it with an elastic bandage
  • Elevating the arm above heart level
  • Reducing motion and stress on the joint
  • Taking pain medication
  • Physical therapy

If these treatments do not allow the joint to heal properly or if the injury is significant, the doctor may recommend surgery to repair the damage and stabilize the elbow joint.

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