Elbow contusion

An elbow contusion is damage to the soft tissues covering the elbow. The injury can disrupt some blood vessels, causing them to bleed. Once this occurs, the blood builds up beneath the skin, resulting to discoloration or a bruise.

The usual cause of an elbow contusion is sustaining a direct blow to the joint such as a fall, bump or sports injuries.

What are the indications?

In most cases, an impact that is strong enough to damage the elbow results to immediate sharp pain.

The pain can be accompanied by the following include:

  • Swelling

    Elbow contusion
    Apply an ice pack during the initial 24-48 hours after the injury as needed.
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising

Discomfort that arises during elbow movement might be present, but if the pain is intense when attempting to flex or straighten the elbow, it is a sign of a fracture.

Management of an elbow contusion

There are several ways to manage an elbow contusion. Right after the injury to the joint, the following measures can be done:

  • Adequate rest – avoid engaging in any physical activity that utilizes the arm with the affected elbow
  • Elevation – the affected joint must be raised at a level higher than the heart
  • Application of cold – apply an ice pack during the initial 24-48 hours after the injury as needed
  • Compression – the elbow must be wrapped snugly using an elastic bandage to lessen the swelling
  • Pain medications – over-the-counter medications acetaminophen or NSAIDs can be taken if needed for pain relief
  • Protection – avoid any scenarios that can further damage the joint
  • Sling – a sling is usually worn to lessen movement after a few days of rest

If treatment is started after the injury, it usually shortens the recovery period.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on an elbow contusion is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage this injury, register for a first aid and CPR course with Red Deer First Aid.

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