Elbow Contusion

What is Elbow Contusion 

Elbow contusion is a deep bruise of the elbow. Deep bruises happen when an injury causes bleeding under the skin. The skin over the deep bruise may turn blue, purple, or yellow.

Minor injuries will give you a deep bruise that is painless, but deep bruises that are worse may stay painful and swollen for a few weeks. In general, the best treatment for this condition includes rest, ice, pressure (compression), and elevation. This is often called RICE therapy.

Follow these instructions at home:

RICE Therapy

  • Rest the injured area.
  • If directed, put ice on the injured area:
    • Put ice in a plastic bag.
    • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.
    • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times per day.
  • If directed, put light pressure (compression) on the injured area using an elastic bandage.
    • Make sure the bandage is not wrapped too tightly.
    • Remove and reapply the bandage as told by your doctor.
  • Raise (elevate) the injured area above the level of your heart while you are sitting or lying down.

If you have a splint:

  • Wear the splint as told by your doctor. Remove it only as told by your doctor.
  • Loosen the splint if your fingers tingle, become numb, or turn cold and blue.
  • Do notlet your splint get wet if it is not waterproof.
  • If your splint is not waterproof, cover it with a watertight plastic bag when you take a bath or a shower.
  • Keep the splint clean.

General instructions

  • Return to your normal activities as told by your doctor. Ask your doctor what activities are safe for you.
  • Wear your sling as told by your doctor, if this applies.
  • Use your elbow only as told by your doctor. You may be asked to do range-of-motion exercises. Do them as told.
  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your doctor. This is important.

Contact a doctor if:

  • Your symptoms do not get better after many days of treatment.
  • You have more redness, swelling, or pain in your elbow.
  • You have trouble moving the injured area.
  • Medicine does not help your pain or swelling.

Get help right away if:

  • You have very bad pain.
  • You have numbness in your hand or fingers.
  • Your hand or fingers turn very light (pale) or cold.
  • You have swelling of your hand and fingers.
  • You cannot move your fingers or wrist.

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