Radical Head Fracture | Bay of Plenty District Health Board | Hauora a Toi | BOPDHB

Radial Head Fracture (elbow)

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What has happened?

  • You have a very small break in the radial head or neck - one of the bones in your elbow

What should I expect?

  • A sling will hold your elbow in a comfortable position for a few days
  • You may need regular pain relief
    (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) as it is important to keep the elbow moving - this prevents stiffness and ensures the quickest return to normal movement

What should I do?

  • You should start weaning yourself off the sling as your pain improves and aim to remove the sling as soon as possible - you don't need to see a doctor before doing this
  • Start performing gentle range of motion exercises by bending and straightening your elbow out of the sling several times

What should I not do?

  • Do not lift heavy objects or do any physical activity that is too strenuous with you injured arm initially
  • 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 ED and you will be contacted regarding 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 in the first instance - take your ACC form/number with you
  • Please seek medical advice if you experience
    • Numbness or tingling in your arm or hand
    • Increasing pain in your arm or hand