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Broken Elbow Recovery: Physical Therapy Exercises to Improve Your Range of Motion

Triangle Region / 10 Aug 2021
EmergeOrtho
by EmergeOrtho
Broken Elbow Recovery: Physical Therapy Exercises to Improve Your Range of Motion

Connecting your forearm bones to your upper arm bones through muscles and ligaments, the elbow is among the most complicated joints in your body. Additionally, the elbow is crucial to performing many day-to-day tasks. Whether you are bringing in the groceries, driving, or doing any other part of your daily routine, you need functioning elbows.

A broken elbow will dramatically impact your quality of life and limit the activities you can do. The constant pain, risk of permanent damage, and loss of function to your arm and hand—if not treated—make elbow treatment essential.

Once your broken elbow heals—with or without surgery— physical therapy (PT) or occupational therapy (OT) will be an integral part of your ongoing recovery process. At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region, our Physical and Occupational Therapy Teams provide personalized, comprehensive care for best outcomes and to help you return safely to what you love doing most.

Exercises to Improve Your Elbow’s Range of Motion

As part of your broken elbow recovery program, your PT or OT will likely begin with movements designed to improve your range of motion before building strength.

One such exercise includes elbow flexion—the ability to bend your elbow. To improve your elbow flexion, do the following:

  1. Stand or sit with your arm at your side and your palm facing forward.
  2. Bend your elbow, bringing your palm towards your shoulder. If you can, use your able hand to add pressure to the recovering arm.
  3. Keep your elbow in the bent position for five to ten seconds before bringing your hand back down to your side.

In addition to elbow flexion, you also need to be able to straighten out your elbow. To improve your elbow extension, try the following movement:

  1. Sit in a chair and rest your elbow on a table. If need be, place a towel or pillow on the table for comfort.
  2. Keeping your elbow on the table, straighten your arm as far as possible.
  3. Apply pressure to your wrist to further the stretch.
  4. Bend your arm back to the starting position after five to ten seconds.

Although it may not seem like it, a broken elbow can affect your forearm supination—your ability to turn your wrist outward. To improve your forearm supination, do the following exercise:

  1. Stand or sit with your recovering arm bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Keeping your elbow bent, turn your hand to the outside with your opposite hand, adding pressure to the arm during the stretch.
  3. Keep the stretch for five to ten seconds before returning your hand to its natural position.

The last exercise to improve your elbow’s range of motion is to work on your elbow pronation. Pronation is the opposite of supination, meaning that you will practice rotating your hands inward. To improve your elbow pronation, do the following:

  1. Stand or sit with your recovering arm bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Keeping your elbow bent, turn your hand to the inside with your opposite hand, adding pressure to the arm during the stretch.
  3. Keep the stretch for five to ten seconds before returning your hand to its natural position.

What to Expect While Doing Elbow Therapy

During the exercises described above, you should not feel any pain. With that said, your elbow and forearm will likely be sore after your PT or OT session. But, if it starts hurting again, you may have reinjured the elbow.

To avoid any harm during your therapy session and expedite the recovery process, we advise that you see a professional therapist. While the above exercises and stretches will improve your elbow’s range of motion (if done correctly), they cannot replace the expertise and tailored care that a professional therapist will provide.

If you want premium Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy care for your broken elbow recovery, our experienced staff is committed to bringing you back to your active lifestyle with personalized, effective care. To get the best treatment available, To learn more, self-schedule an appointment now Or, call us any time at (919) 220-5255.

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