Broken Elbow Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on January 26, 2020

1. Reduce Swelling

  • Apply ice.
  • If bone is pushing through skin, do not touch it or try to put it back in place.

2. Immobilize the Elbow

For less serious injuries:

  • Cut away the sleeve if it cannot be removed without moving the injured elbow.
  • If you can without moving the elbow, tie splints on with fabric or elastic bandages above and below the elbow.
  • Cardboard, rolled-up newspaper, or other stiff material can be used as splints.
  • Put padding between the splints and the bony parts of the arm.
  • Make a sling and place the person's arm in it. Tie the sling around the person's neck.

3. See a Health Care Provider Immediately

4. Follow Up

  • The health care provider will likely take X-rays and check for feeling and range of motion to determine whether there has been nerve or tendon damage.
  • Surgery may be needed for more complicated fractures.

Show Sources

SOURCES: "Hand/Wrist/Arm Problems."

Seattle Children's Hospital: "Bone, Joint and Muscle Conditions: Fractures."

Merck Manuals: "Emergency First Aid Priorities."

US Naval Academy: "Casualty Evaluation and Evacuation."

Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: "How to Splint a Fracture."

Broken Elbow Information from eMedicineHealth.

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