Rehabilitation begins immediately following an elbow fracture surgery. As soon as you return to your hospital room, medical staff members attending to your needs will try to relax the muscles of your recovering elbow.
You will be required to wear a splint to support your arm for at least a week since the surgical wounds need to heal. When necessary, you can take pain medications or apply a cold compress (ice packs) to manage the swelling and pain post-surgery.
You’ll need to have sessions with a physical therapist. At Hands On Therapy Clinic and physical therapy in Doral, expert physical therapists will assist and teach you some rehabilitation exercises, which will help speed up your recovery.
What to do once you get discharged from the hospital
Depending on the doctor’s evaluation, you could be discharged from the hospital two to three days after the surgery. Before you leave, however, your sutures and bandages will be removed and cleaned while the nurse will give you and your carer instructions on how to clean it at home.
Cleaning the surgical wounds must be done with care and presence of mind since one to three percent of surgeries can develop surgical site infections. Millions of dollars have been spent on unnecessary treatments of complications post-surgery, which often starts with an infection.
Caring for your elbow at home
Your doctor might recommend a sling in place of a splint for arm support. You might need to wear this sling, even at night when you’re sleeping, for at least a month or until the surgical wounds heal.
Once at home, you will still have to continue doing the exercises taught by the physical therapist in Doral physical therapy clinic. You can also have the PT keep working with you via a home or hospital visit, depending on your arrangement.
A survey from The Open Orthopaedic Journal revealed that home exercise programs, as well as strengthening and active-assisted range of motion programs with the help of a physical therapist bring significant improvements to elbow fracture rehabilitation. On average, these are undertaken 6 to 12 weeks after the surgery.
Recovering from the elbow fracture: tips to keep in mind
Know when to rest.
During your recovery time, your healing elbow may feel warm and weak for a few more weeks. Thus, you have to avoid using the injured arm for lifting heavy things or getting out of bed or a chair. Some doctors may forbid patients from lifting anything heavier than a glass of water for four to six weeks so be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions or clarify if it’s not explicit.
If you’re experiencing less pain after the surgery, this doesn’t mean you can do more work or exert physical effort unless you have been given clearance by the orthopedic surgeon. Avoid doing chores like mopping, sweeping, dusting or raking until your doctor says otherwise.
Eat healthy foods.
Some patients develop constipation post-surgery because of the limited activities and the medications they’re taking. If this is a problem in your recovery and puts more pressure on your body, ask the doctor for diet recommendations. Your doctor will likely advise you to eat more fruit and vegetables for better digestion.
Don’t overdo the physical therapy exercises.
If you feel more tired than usual, engage in a rest period for at least 60 minutes in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Use a pillow or a cushion on your elbow when you have to sit and rest so that there is no pressure on the incision. If in doubt, you can always ask for the help of the staff at Hands On Therapy Services, physical therapy Doral.
Hands on Therapy Services – your occupational and physical therapy destination!
At Hands on Therapy Services, Hoang Tran and other therapists’ mission is to help you make the best decisions about what to do for your health and well-being. With their help, you will receive the answers you need and professional help that will bring you back to full recovery.
Our Miami and Doral clinics offer an open and friendly physical therapy environment where you will feel comfortable being treated by a therapist in a one-on-one setting.
If you live in Miami or Doral, and you are healing from elbow surgery, you must be looking to ease your mind about what can be done to help speed up your recovery. No matter how long it’s been – weeks, months, or even years – Hands on Therapy Services staff will be happy to answer ALL the questions you have, regarding physical therapy in Doral or physical therapy in Miami.
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.