Elbow Fracture In Children


An elbow fracture is a break in one or more of the bones that form your child's elbow joint. Your child may also have a Salter-Harris fracture, which is when a bone breaks through a growth plate.



  • Pain medicine: Your child may be given a prescription medicine to decrease his pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you give your child his medicine.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine helps fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Give them to your child as directed.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.

  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

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

Your child may need to return to have his brace, splint, cast, or stitches removed. He may need an x-ray of his 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 child's 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 child's elbow for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.

Elevate your child's elbow:

Use pillows to keep your child's elbow raised above the level of his heart as often as you can. This helps decrease swelling and pain. Elevation can also help the injury heal faster. While your child's elbow is elevated, have him wiggle his fingers and open and close them to prevent hand stiffness.

Help your child to rest:

Your child should rest as much as possible and get plenty of sleep.

How to care for a cast or splint:

Follow instructions about when it is okay for your child to take a bath or shower. It is important not to get the cast or splint wet. Cover the device with 2 plastic bags before you let your child bathe. Tape the bags to your child's skin above the device to help keep out water. Have your child keep his arm out of the water in case the bag breaks.

  • Check the skin around your child's cast or splint daily for any redness or open skin.

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

  • Do not let your child push down or lean on any part of the cast, because it may break.

Physical therapy:

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

Contact your child's primary healthcare provider or bone specialist if:

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child's pain gets worse, even after he rests and takes his medicine.

  • Your child has new or worse trouble moving his elbow.

  • Your child has new sores around the area of his brace or splint.

  • Your child's brace or splint becomes damaged.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's injury, treatment, or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child's elbow, arm, or fingers are numb.

  • Your child's skin is swollen, cold, or pale.

  • Your child has open skin areas on his elbow and arm that will not stop bleeding.

© 2014 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.

Learn more about Elbow Fracture In Children (Discharge Care)