Supracondylar (elbow) Fracture - Child | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

Supracondylar (elbow) Fracture - Child

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What has happened?

  • Your child has broken a bone in their elbow
  • This type of break is common in children, and normally heals well in a cast without an operation

What should I expect?

  • Your child will have been placed in a cast in the Emergency Department (ED), and they will have been given a sling to help with the weight of the cast
  • They may develop bruising and swelling in the fingers
  • They will be in a cast for approximately 4 weeks

What should I do?

  • Ensure your child is wearing their sling at all times - the cast can be quite heavy for them and the sling helps protect the break
  • It may be more comfortable for your child to sleep or sit propped up on pillows
  • If your child seems to be in pain, they can be given simple pain relief (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen)
  • Encourage them to keep moving their fingers
  • Keep the cast dry at all times - cover it with a plastic bag and secure it with tape before showering. A wet cast will get soggy and fall apart

What should I not do?

  • Your child should avoid contact sports and activities (e.g. rugby, trampoline, play fighting) while in the cast

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 child's injury is not settling or you are worried about how it is healing, please see your GP - take your ACC form/number with you
  • Please seek medical attention if you experience the following:
    • Increasing pain in the arm or hand
    • Numbness or tingling in the arm or hand
    • Your fingers go cold or turn blue white, in comparison to the other hand