Fracture at the Elbow


There are three bones involved in making up the elbow joint: the ulna, radius and humerus. Fracture of any one of these bones near or within the elbow joint causes problems in how the elbow joint functions.
Your orthopaedic surgeon will tell you when you need to commence physiotherapy, after your fracture has united.

This varies greatly depending on the location, type and management (surgery versus conservative) of the fracture at your elbow. Often people think of the elbow just in terms of bending (flexion) and straightening (extension), but in fact the elbow joint is also involved in allowing you to turn your forearm/ hand over and back. Physiotherapy is crucial to restoring this normal movement and function of the elbow joint.

At Iona Physiotherapy, you can expect a thorough assessment of not just your elbow, but the whole upper limb, including your shoulder and wrist/hand as these can sometimes be injured in the trauma or become stiff if you have been wearing a sling. Treatment may include massage, manual therapy and exercise to restore normal movement and function.

Top Tips for Fracture at the Elbow:

  • While you are waiting to start physiotherapy for your elbow, it is very important that you move your hand/ fingers by making a full fist and then stretching your fingers out several times a day. It is not enough to just wiggle your fingers!
  • The same applies to your shoulder; you need to move your shoulder through its full overhead range of motion every day.
  • The above will really save you a lot of problems and reduce the amount of physiotherapy needed at a later stage. At Iona Physiotherapy we can give you the appropriate exercise programme, in the very first few days after your fracture in order to prevent such complications and allow your subsequent rehabilitation to be as straightforward as possible.