Rehabilitation Protocol for the Elbow

Elbow Arthrolysis (Release)

Phase 1: First 1 week

  • Wear the sling for 48 hrs. You may wear it longer than this for comfort but try to do without it if you can. You can remove the bulky dressing after this time
  • Start to increase the range of motion, gently bending, straightening the elbow and pronating and extending the wrist (turning it palm down and palm up) within the limits of discomfort.
  • Try to bend and straighten the elbow as much as you can. Ice applied over a towel will help to get the swelling down
  • If you have been placed in a cast just work on keeping the fingers and wrist moving to stop them swelling.

Phase 2: 1-4 weeks

  • You will be seen in the clinic for a wound check at 1weeks
  • The range of motion of the elbow will be assessed
  • Continue with exercises, flexing, extending, pronating and extending.
  • If you are struggling with maintaining the straightening or if the elbow was very tight pre-operatively a removable night extension splint may be made
  • Aim: To have full motion by 6 weeks 

Phase 3: 4-10 weeks

  • You will be seen in the clinic at 4weeks
  • Start to work on the strength of the flexor and extensor muscles, continue to work on the range of motion
  • Aim: To achieve full strength by 12 weeks 

12 weeks

  • Clinic review with the same criteria as for 6 weeks
  • If full movement has been achieved you can be discharged from the clinic