An elbow fracture is painful and tender. The elbow and surrounding region swell up, and you lose ability to move your elbow or wrist. The pain is located where the bone broke and may hurt even when you're not moving the arm; but it will probably hurt more when you move the elbow or when the elbow is touched.
How Is It Diagnosed?
An x-ray is the best way to diagnose an elbow fracture. If a Occupational therapist suspects that that you have an elbow fracture, the therapist may arrange for an x-ray and refer you to an appropriate physician. The Occupational therapist can check for damage to other joints and muscles and make sure that the nerves and blood vessels in your arm have not been affected by the broken bone.
In most cases, people with fractures visit a physician with a specialty in managing bones and joints (orthopedist). Depending on the type of fracture, the physician might prescribe a cast or a sling, or, with severe fractures, surgery.
Your elbow will most likely be stiff, and your arm will be weak, especially if you had surgery. Your Occupational therapist will help prevent permanent loss of movement in the elbow, so don't delay your visit.
Your Occupational therapist will examine your elbow and select treatments based on your goals, level of physical activity, and general health.
- Returning the arm to a good level of fitness
- Restoring full movement and strength in a safe manner while healing occurs
- Assessing the fracture to make sure that you can return safely to previous home and work activities
- Guiding you to a safe return to sports and other physical activities—a return too early after a fracture may increase the risk of another fracture
- Recommending protective equipment, such as wrist guards or elbow pads, for use during sports
THERAPY1ONE has an Occupational Therapist with over 20 years of experience.
Kathy Pitts, OTR/L