You will have some pain. Your doctor can give you medicine for this. A large bandage will cover your stitches (sutures). Your arm may be in a splint or a cast. These are all removed in about 7 to 10 days. You may have a smaller splint for about 2 weeks. You will not be able to use your arm during this time. You will need help doing anything that usually takes two hands.
You will need a rehabilitation program (rehab) that includes exercises to stretch and strengthen the elbow. Your doctor will advise you when to do gentle range-of-motion or gripping exercises after surgery. You will first have training and help, and then you will do the program on your own. Your exercises may be painful at first. In 3 to 6 months, the pain should go away, and you should have good movement in your elbow. You may need to continue strength exercises for as long as 1 year.
You will be able to return to daily activities in about 2 to 6 weeks and go back to work in 3 to 12 weeks, depending on your job. You should be able to play sports again in 4 to 6 months. You may need a brace at work and when you play sports that stress the elbow and forearm, such as tennis.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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