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Caring for a minor elbow fracture fact sheet

Caring for a minor elbow fracture

A fracture is a break in the bone. These can vary from simple, minor fractures to more complex ones. If your child has a simple fracture within the elbow, it should heal with no further issues.

How will staff treat my child’s fracture?

The affected limb will be immobilised in a type of sling called a “collar and cuff” which will be placed underneath your child’s clothes. This will minimise your child’s arm movement and reduce their discomfort. When you get home, your child should still wear it at all times – including in bed.

How should I manage my child’s fracture?

  • Pain relief – Your child may experience discomfort in the first few days, so try pain-relieving medications such as Panadol and Nurofen. Reduce the dose as their pain settles.
  • Elevation – The affected limb should be elevated for the first two to three days, ideally above heart level, to reduce the swelling. You can also use ice, but be sure to cover it and only use for 10-15 minutes at a time, every one to two hours, to prevent skin damage.

Does my child need a follow-up appointment?

In the vast majority of cases, no follow-up appointment and/or X-rays are required. A fracture generally takes three to four weeks to heal, depending on your child’s age. Once your child is pain-free, they can return to normal activities. Contact sports should be avoided for six to eight weeks after the collar and cuff is removed to reduce the likelihood of a refracture.

Please notify your GP/nurse if:

  • Your child suffers increasing discomfort, despite pain-relief medicine.
  • The injured limb becomes more swollen, causing pins and needles, or any altered sensation.
  • You are concerned for any reason.

Contact us

Queensland Children’s Hospital
Level 1, 501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t: 07 3068 1111 (general enquiries)

In an emergency, always call 000.

If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Resource No: FS119. Developed by Emergency Department. Updated: July 2016. All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.

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