Epicondyle (elbow) fracture | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

Epicondyle (elbow) fracture

Epicondyle (elbow) fracture - medial or lateral

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What has happened?

  • You have broken a small part of your bone in your elbow
  • This is a relatively common fracture and it usually does not require surgery

What should I expect?

  • Your elbow will feel sore and swollen, and it's not uncommon for your fingers to also become swollen especially in the first day or two.
  • You will have been placed in a plaster cast in the Emergency Department (ED), and given a sling for comfort
  • You will likely be in a cast for at least 4 to 6 weeks
  • It may take some time for normal strength in the elbow to return

What should I do?

  • Take regular pain relief (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) as needed
  • Keep your fingers moving as often as you can
  • Keep your plaster cast dry at all times by putting a plastic bag over your cast and securing it with tape before showering. A wet cast will get soggy and fall apart
  • You may find it more comfortable while sitting or sleeping to prop your arm up on 1-2 pillows. This can decrease the swelling.

What should I not do?

  • Avoid heavy lifting with your injured arm
  • You may be unable to drive at this time
  • Try to reduce or stop smoking as this may delay bone healing
  • No contact sport or intense physical activity

Will I be followed up?

  • Yes, a follow-up appointment in the Orthopaedic Clinic will be requested when you leave the Emergency Department (ED) and you will be contacted about a date and time

What if I have concerns/questions?

  • If your injury is not settling or you have other concerns, you should see your GP first - take your ACC form/number with you 
  • Please seek medical attention if you experience
    • Numbness or tingling in your arm or fingers
    • Pain when you move your fingers
    • Inability to move you fingers
    • Fingers go blue or white, or cold compared to the other hand