You will be asked about your symptoms, physical activity, and how the injury occurred. The area will be examined.
Imaging tests may include:
to look for a break in the elbow area
to look at the cartilage and tendons around the elbow
can prevent long-term complications or problems with your elbow. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include:
A cast, splint, or sling may needed to protect, support, and keep your elbow in line while it heals.
Some fractures cause pieces of bone to separate. These pieces will need to be put back into their proper place. This may be done:
- Without surgery—you will have anesthesia to decrease pain while the doctor moves the pieces back into place
- With surgery—pins, wires, plates, screws, or stitches in the bone or tendons may be needed to reconnect the pieces and hold them in place
Children’s bones are still growing at an area of the bone called the growth plate. If the fracture affected the growth plate, your child may need to see a specialist. Injuries to the growth plate will need to be monitored to make sure the bone can continue to grow as expected.
Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be given to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Medications may include acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Check with your doctor before taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
Rest and Recovery
Healing time varies by age and your overall health. Children and people in better overall health heal faster. In general, it takes up to 8-10 weeks for a fractured elbow to heal.
You will need to adjust your activities while your elbow heals, but complete rest is rarely required. Ice and elevating your arm at rest may also be advised to help with discomfort and swelling.
As you recover, you may be referred to physical therapy or rehabilitation to start range-of-motion and
Do not return to activities or sports until your doctor gives you permission to do so.
To help reduce your chance of getting an elbow fracture, take these steps:
- Do not put yourself at risk for a trauma to the elbow.
- Exercise regularly to maintain strength, agility, and to prevent falls.
- Learn the proper technique and wear protective equipment for exercise and sporting activities.
To help reduce falling hazards at work and home, take these steps:
- Clean spills and slippery areas right away.
- Remove tripping hazards such as loose cords, rugs, and clutter.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower.
- Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or tub.
- Put in handrails on both sides of stairways.
- Walk only in well-lit rooms, stairs, and halls.
- Keep flashlights on hand in case of a power outage.