168 Physicians Online


Post-Traumatic Elbow Pain After Fall

Dear Ask The Doctor:
This morning I fell on ice while walking my dog. I landed squarely on my ulna jamming my shoulder upwards. The pain is centered in my elbow. The pain has gone away when I touch it but it still hurts when I leave it in one position for too long. Sometimes the pain moves all the way down my arm to my hand. The pain was enough to make me cry until I took Advil. Should I go to the emergency room? Or give it a while to see if the pain worsens?


If you can actively move your elbow: flexion and extension, and you do not have any remarkable swelling or deformity, then you do not need to go to the hospital but if this is not the case and on the contrary you develop significant swelling or deformity and you can not move actively the elbow, then you should go to the Emergency Room to be assessed by a physician and get X rays taken to rule out a fracture or dislocation.
The suggested strategy in the case that you can actively move the elbow and you have no significant swelling or deformity would be: you must apply ice to the elbow 4 to 6 times during this first 24 hours for periods no more than 15 minutes each time to avoid swelling, and also ease the pain, continue taking Advil every 8 hours for the first 3 days and then 1 or 2 times a day as needed. After the first 24 hours from the fall, you will start applying on your elbow warm and wet compresses for periods of no more than 15 minutes each time, 2-3 times a day, also you can do series of active movements of flexion and extension of the elbow. You feel the pain moving down your arm because the nerve of the elbow might be involved in the traumatism and swelling.
The pain after the fall could persist for about 2 weeks but eventually will disappear.

Sign In to join in the conversation.

You’re in good hands, meet ATD’s founding physicians.

Dr. Suneel Sharman

  • Board Certified GP
  • CMO ATD Health Network Inc.
  • Adjunct Professor at U Of T

Dr. Kunaal Jindal

  • Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
  • Director ATD Health Network Inc.
  • Fellowship Training Atlanta, GA

Related Answers:

I've been in pain for ten years. In the past five it has become worse, and for the past year it's been constant altho...

Started as flu like symptoms, turned into abdominal cramps and severe pain and not being able to have much of a bowel...

The doctor suspects that my 13 year old son is suffering from reflux and prescribed him omeprazole 40 mg. He has been...

My feet have been hurting for over a week since walking on hard surfaces barefoot all day. The pain on the bottoms of...

Had strange pain in back of lower leg (slightly lower than calf muscle) for around 3 weeks. Got progressively worse o...

My foot is numb from sciatic pain - is this nerve damage permanent? I am on a nSAID that has not helped. I have a l...

Two weeks ago, I found out that I have an avulsion fracture of my index finger pip joint on my dominant hand. Unfort...

I had a vasectomy about a year and half ago, I'm having tugging pain in the left side of my scrotum, the tugging pain...

My right elbow aches and my right hand is ice cold. I touched my husband with both hands and he even noticed a diffe...

How soon after a partial thyroid removal can you have a cervical fusion