Olecranon Fracture (elbow)
On this page
- What has happened?
- What should I expect?
- What should I do?
- What should I not do?
- Will I be followed up?
- What if I have concerns/questions?
What has happened?
- You have broken a bone in your elbow
- This is a relatively common fracture and it usually does not require surgery
What should I expect?
- You will have been placed in a cast in the Emergency Department (ED), and given a sling for comfort
- After your initial follow-up appointment your cast will be removed and you will be placed in either an arm brace with limited movement or a sling for a further 3-4 weeks
- Your elbow will feel sore and swollen, and you may develop bruising down your arm and into your fingers
What should I do?
- Take regular pain relief (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) as needed
- Keep your shoulder, wrist, and 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 up your arm on 1-2 pillows
- Gentle elbow movements may be started after 1-2 weeks
What should I not do?
- Avoid heavy lifting while injured
- You may be unable to drive at this time
- Try to reduce or stop smoking as this may delay bone healing
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 first see your GP - take your ACC form/number with you
- Please seek medical attention if you have:
- increasing pain in the hand
- numbness or tingling in the hand
- fingers going cold or turning blue-white, in comparison to the other hand
- no ability to move your fingers