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Broken Elbow (cont.)

Broken Elbow Other Therapy

  • If the elbow joint is filled with blood or other fluid, the joint can be drained.
    • Blood or other fluid drained from the elbow may suggest a particular diagnosis to the doctor.
    • Draining this fluid may relieve pressure and pain in the elbow.
  • Splints, slings, and casts
    • Doctors use splints after many different types of elbow injuries. Doctors usually make splints out of plaster. They typically place splints on the back of the arm and do not completely encircle it with the splint material. Splints are designed to hold the elbow in one particular position.
    • Splints for broken elbows usually run from near the shoulder all the way to the hand. They prevent the elbow from bending or the hand from turning. Such motions may disturb a healing fracture or a dislocation of the elbow.
    • The doctor may provide a sling so the heavy splinted arm can rest comfortably. The doctor may advise removing the sling at home and elevating the arm above the head. Elevating the arm relieves swelling. This is very important especially during the first few days after an elbow injury when swelling may press on nerve and blood vessels in the elbow or forearm.
    • Doctors rarely apply casts to freshly injured elbows. A cast, unlike a splint, completely encircles the arm. If swelling occurs underneath a cast, the swelling may cause damage to nerves and blood vessels.
  • Resetting broken elbows. If a bone in the elbow is broken or the elbow is out of joint, the doctor may need to reset the bones. This is done for a variety of reasons.
    • Putting the bones back in their proper positions may greatly relieve pain.
    • Resetting bones also allows proper healing to begin.
    • Sometimes broken bones press on, or cut nerves or blood vessels. Moving the bones to their normal positions may stop this damage.
    • If the bones of the elbow need to be reset, medications are available to relieve or reduce any pain and anxiety.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Fracture, Elbow »

Elbow fractures are commonly encountered in the acute care setting.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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