Elbow Contusion

An elbow contusion is a deep bruise of the elbow. Contusions are the result of an injury that caused bleeding under the skin. The contusion may turn blue, purple, or yellow. Minor injuries will give you a painless contusion, but more severe contusions may stay painful and swollen for a few weeks.

CAUSES

An elbow contusion comes from a direct force to that area, such as falling on the elbow.

SYMPTOMS

  • Swelling and redness of the elbow.

  • Bruising of the elbow area.

  • Tenderness or soreness of the elbow.

DIAGNOSIS

You will have a physical exam and will be asked about your history. You may need an X-ray of your elbow to look for a broken bone (fracture).

TREATMENT

A sling or splint may be needed to support your injury. Resting, elevating, and applying cold compresses to the elbow area are often the best treatments for an elbow contusion. Over-the-counter medicines may also be recommended for pain control.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Rest your injured elbow until the pain and swelling are better.

  • Elevate your elbow to reduce swelling.

  • Apply a compression wrap as directed by your caregiver. This can help reduce swelling and motion. You may remove the wrap for sleeping, showers, and baths. If your fingers become numb, cold, or blue, take the wrap off and reapply it more loosely.

  • Use your elbow only as directed by your caregiver. You may be asked to do range of motion exercises. Do them as directed.

  • See your caregiver as directed. It is very important to keep all follow-up appointments in order to avoid any long-term problems with your elbow, including chronic pain or inability to move your elbow normally.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have increased redness, swelling, or pain in your elbow.

  • Your swelling or pain is not relieved with medicines.

  • You have swelling of the hand and fingers.

  • You are unable to move your fingers or wrist.

  • You begin to lose feeling in your hand or fingers.

  • Your fingers or hand become cold or blue.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.