Exercises After a Radial Head Fracture of the Elbow

Hand Holding Ice Gel Pack On Elbow
The radial bone is the smaller bone in your lower arm. (Image: AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images)

Radial head fractures account for nearly 20 percent of elbow injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Radial fractures frequently occur as the result of trying to break a fall using your hands. The force from a fall can be so great that it travels up to your arm and results in an elbow injury. The radial head is the top of the smaller bone located in your forearm. Radial head fractures can be treated conservatively or by means of surgery. Regardless of treatment, strengthening and range of motion exercises are beneficial. Always consult your doctor before beginning exercise following a radial head fracture.

Active Forearm Stretch

Stretching your forearm can help to strengthen your radial head following a fracture. To complete an active forearm stretch, stand up tall or sit straight up in a chair. Your unaffected arm should remain at your side. Bend the elbow of the affected arm forward. Your hand should be turned so that palm is facing toward the ceiling, states the Ohio State University Medical Center. Turn your hand back so that your palm is facing the floor. Make sure to keep your elbow close to your side. Repeat one set of 10 repetitions of this exercise, twice daily.

Active Elbow Stretch

An active stretch is performed by the use of your muscles only. There is no assistance from any outside force during the exercise. Stand straight up with your arms at your side. Your arms should be fully extended with your elbows as straight as possible, according to the Ohio State University Medical Center. Slowly bend your elbow. Bring your elbow up so that you're able to touch your shoulder using your hand. Return to the starting position and repeat. Repeat one set of 10 repetitions, twice daily.

Wrist Flexion

Wrist exercises can help strengthen the muscles and bones connected to your elbow. You can complete a wrist flexion exercise seated or standing. Use a can or hammer to help strengthen your arm post-injury, recommends IHA Health Care in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Place your can or hammer in your hand with your palm facing toward the ceiling. Your arm can be bent at the elbow. Slowly bend your wrist up towards the ceiling. Hold this position for a three-count. Lower your wrist and repeat. Complete two sets of 10 repetitions daily. To make this exercise more challenging, increase the weight of the item that you're holding in your hand.

Forearm Pronation and Supination

Use a hammer, can or lightweight dumbbell to complete this exercise. Hold the item in your hand and place your elbow at a 90-degree angle, states IHA Health Care. Your hand should be positioned so that your thumb-side is facing the ceiling. Rotate your hand so that your palm is facing upwards, also known as supination. Then move your hand so that your palm is facing downward, or pronation. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions throughout the day.

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