Elbow Fracture

A cracked or minor fracture of the elbow

Your child has a minor fracture of the elbow. This might also be called a cracked elbow.

Fractured Elbow
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Three different bones meet at the elbow joint. In an elbow fracture, either the radius, ulna or humerus can be broken in the joint.

Your child will need a cast

For the bone to heal, your child will need a partial cast and a sling. The cast will stay on for about 3 weeks.

About 1 week after the cast has been on, your child will need to have a follow-up appointment with the fracture clinic at the hospital. At the clinic, staff will make sure your child's elbow is healing properly. They will also show you how to take off the cast at home.

Depending on the size of the fracture, it may take 6 months to a year before your child's arm can fully straighten, bend, and twist. However, most children do not need physiotherapy.

Taking off the cast

After 3 weeks, you will take off the cast at home. Removing the cast is not difficult. When taking off the cast, carefully cut up the flannel side of the partial cast with scissors.

After removing the cast, your child's arm may be dry and itchy and look dirty. Use warm water and soap to gently wash and cream to moisturize the skin.

When the cast is off, your child can begin moving the elbow. At first, the elbow and wrist may be stiff, but movement will get better with time and activity.

Your child's arm may be smaller and feel weaker than the other arm. The muscles get thin from not being used. The muscles will get bigger and stronger as your child goes back to normal activities.

Healing after the cast is removed

Your child should avoid high-impact, contact sports for 4 to 6 weeks after taking off the cast. Your child will gradually gain confidence in the arm and will return to regular activities.

If you have any concerns, contact your family doctor or the Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) at the fracture clinic.

Key points

  • Your child needs a half cast to help heal a fractured elbow.
  • You will take off the cast at home after 3 weeks.
  • Your child will need to avoid high-impact activities after the cast is removed.
  • Your child's elbow may need a year to fully recover strength and movement.

Preeti Grewal, RN, MN, APN

William Cole, MBBS, MSc, PhD, FRACS, FRCSC