Rehabilitation Protocol for the Elbow
General Instructions for simple elbow arthroscopy
- Apply ice covered with a towel to elbow for 2-3 days (15-20 minutes
at a time).
- Swelling and bruising is normal. You may loosen dressing if needed.
- Low grade fevers (37.5 degrees) are common for a couple of days
- Your dressing may show blood stains after surgery. This is expected.
If the blood is still wet after the first day seek advice
- Remove all dressings and cover wounds with elastoplasts after three
- You may shower after 3 days.
- Do not swim or submerge incisions in water for 2 weeks.
- You will be seen in the clinic at 2 weeks to review the wounds and
discuss the further post-operative course
- Ideally elevate your elbow and hand above the level of your heart
when resting for 2-3 days after surgery to decrease swelling. This
is not usually practical so you may elevate it above waist level.
- On the day of surgery start exercises by squeezing the hand to make
a fist and then straightening the fingers. Repeat this as often as
- On the first day after surgery start to flex and extend the wrist
(like waving goodbye)
- As soon as possible start flexing and extending the elbow as comfort
Work and Driving
- Your comfort level should be your guide for returning to work.
- Most people are able to return to work within 1-2 weeks.
- Driving is allowed when you feel that you can control the car and
that the elbow will allow you to turn the wheel in an emergency.