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Healing From Elbow Fracture Repair Surgery: What to Expect

The elbow absorbs an incredible amount of stress and movement each day of your life. In addition to common repeated-use injuries from golf, tennis, or baseball, your elbow joint can be injured in an accident. After a painful elbow joint fracture and repair surgery, your body needs time to heal. 

What can you expect during this time? How long can it last? What should you do or avoid doing to allow your elbow joint to completely heal? Dr. Matthew Crooks and his talented team at Pinnacle Pain and Spine are pain management and healing experts, treating patients from throughout Scottsdale, Chandler, and Fountain Hills, Arizona. 

We’ve helped athletes and people just like you heal from numerous injuries and surgical repairs, including elbow fracture repair surgery. Our team is here to provide compassionate and professional care and guidance to ensure you get back into the game or back to work as soon as possible, but only after you have completely healed. 

Here’s what you should know about elbow joint injuries and what to expect as you recover from elbow fracture repair surgery. 

What can fracture in your elbow?

Three bones, two from your forearm and one from your upper arm, join in your elbow. All three and the joint itself are vulnerable to injuries, either through impact or overuse. The most common elbow joint fractures include: 

A fracture to your elbow will be detected immediately, as they are characterized by intense pain, inflammation, and vastly restricted mobility and instability. 

Most elbow joint fractures are treated by immobilizing the joint to allow healing. Sometimes, surgical intervention is necessary, usually through minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques, to align things properly before healing can begin. Complete elbow joint replacements are also possible in some cases. 

What can I expect during recovery?

Once your elbow fracture repair surgery is completed, you will return home for convalescence. Your physician will likely prescribe some gentle movement as soon as the same day to avoid stiffness. You will also be prescribed medications for pain and inflammation and instructions for aftercare. 

You may also have some fluid drainage from your surgical incision. This is completely normal. Your physician will provide instructions to care for this condition. If the area becomes warm to the touch, drains blood or pus, or you develop a fever, you should contact us right away. 

We will likely schedule a follow-up appointment about a week or 10 days after surgery to remove any staples or stitches and to evaluate your recovery. Your arm will likely be immobilized for several weeks to allow for healing. Your care provider will recommend some exercises and therapy to keep the elbow, arm, and shoulder from seizing up. 

It can take up to a few months before you can return to a full range of activities, especially if you play sports or perform strenuous, physical labor. You will likely also undergo physical therapy to regain strength and full range of motion in your elbow and arm. 

Contact us here at Pinnacle Pain and Spine if you sustain an elbow injury or need professional assistance with your recovery. You can call any of our three locations in Arizona or schedule an appointment online. 

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