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Elbow Fracture In Adults

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

An elbow fracture is a break in one or more of the 3 bones that form your elbow joint. An elbow fracture is often caused by an injury. An example is a fall onto an outstretched hand with a bent elbow. Osteoporosis (brittle bones) can increase your risk for an elbow fracture.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's doctor.

  • 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 healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to have your brace, splint, cast, or stitches removed. You may need x-rays to check how well the bones are healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Put ice on your elbow:

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.

Care for your brace, cast, or splint:

Follow instructions about when you may 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 breaks.

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

  • 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 directed.

Go to physical therapy as directed:

A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength and to decrease pain.

Contact your healthcare provider 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 that will not stop from a wound on your elbow or arm.

  • 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, or you cough up blood.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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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