Elbow Fracture In Adults


An elbow fracture is a break in one or more of the bones that form your elbow joint.



  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine helps fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Take them as directed.

  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling and pain. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or bone specialist as directed:

You may need a follow-up visit to have your brace, splint, cast, or stitches removed. You may need an x-ray of your elbow to check how well the bone is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Follow instructions about how to care for your wounds after surgery.


Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.

Elevate your elbow:

Raise your elbow above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your elbow on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably. While your elbow is elevated, wiggle your fingers and open and close them to prevent hand stiffness.

How to care for a brace, cast, or splint:

Follow instructions about when it is okay to take a bath or shower. It is important not to get your brace, cast, or splint wet. Cover your device with a plastic bag before you bathe. Tape the bag to your skin above the device to help keep out water. Hold your elbow away from the water in case the bag leaks.

  • Check the skin around your brace and splint daily for any redness or open skin areas.

  • Do not use a sharp or pointed object to scratch your skin under the brace or splint.

  • Do not remove your brace or splint unless you are directed to.

Physical therapy:

You may need physical therapy after your elbow has started to heal. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength and to decrease pain.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or bone specialist if:

  • You have a fever.

  • The pain gets worse, even after you rest and take your medicine.

  • You have new or worse trouble moving your arm.

  • You have new sores around the area of your brace or splint.

  • Your brace or splint becomes damaged.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your skin becomes swollen, cold, or pale.

  • You have bleeding from a wound on your elbow or arm that will not stop.

  • You have drainage from your surgery wounds or open skin areas.

  • Your surgery wounds or open skin areas become red, warm, and swollen.

  • Your elbow, hand, or fingers are numb.

  • Your arm feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.

  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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