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Elbow Torn Extensor Tendon

Dear Ask The Doctor:
Is surgery usually recommended for a town extensor tendon in the elbow?


The treatment, conservative or surgical  depends on the severity of the injury, if it is a partial or a complete tear, and the possible consequences on the stability and mobility of the elbow joint and chronic pain sequel. The healing time is different for each patient, and also depends on the severity of the initial injury. If you were told that you had a complete tear, you should have been keeping the elbow immobilized, it is expected that the range of your extension movements be reduced. In the majority of cases the incomplete tears take 4-6 weeks to heal, so please be patient and these are some measures that you can try in the meantime: Ice the area twice a day for 20 minutes to help to decrease inflammation and relieve pain. Freezing water in a paper cup and tearing away the top rim as the ice melts is an easy way to use ice. Do not put ice directly on the skin. Wrap it in a towel. Rest the sore area to prevent further injury and decrease pain. Limit your wrist extension movements. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil, Motrin, or Aleve may help decrease the pain and help the healing. If with these measures the pain and swelling do not improve I strongly recommend that you get a re-assessment by an orthopedic Doctor.

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