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How do you treat elbow pain?

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Quick Answer

The treatment for elbow pain depends on the reason for the pain. However, in many cases, pain can be treated with ice and anti-inflammatory medications, according to WebMD. Tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, cellulitis and an infected elbow joint may all cause elbow pain.

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Tendonitis in the elbow is often treated with ice packs, resting, medications, such as naproxen, and bracing, claims WebMD. Cortisone shots or surgery may also be suggested if other treatments do not work. If a person has elbow pain due to bursitis, ice, rest and anti-inflammatory medication is used. Doctors also suggest avoiding activities that cause the bursitis to act up.

Arthritis is often treated with medications, such as analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids, explains Mayo Clinic. Physical therapy and surgery are also options for treatment if medications do not work.

Cellulitis is caused by a bacterial infection, and it must be treated with antibiotics, states WebMD. Typically, the skin is also inflamed and may be warm or swollen. Heat can also be used to treat cellulitis along with antibiotics. If the elbow joint becomes inflamed, this can also cause pain. In addition to using antibiotics in these cases, a patient may need surgical drainage of the elbow. This condition is also known as septic arthritis.

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