Elbow First Aid (after a severe accident)


If you have had a fall, or got your arm caught in something and you heard any noises like a pop or a crack, or had a sensation like your elbow popped out, you should do the following. Firstly, I need you to pause the video and make sure you aren’t experiencing any of the ‘red flags’ below:



If you are experiencing any of the following please consult a doctor asap or go to the emergency department of your hospital.

  • Losing control of your bowel or bladder
  • Feeling dizzy or losing balance
  • Feeling weak or numb anywhere in your body
  • Persistent pins + needles
  • Feeling nauseous or vertigo
  • Feeling faint
  • Have double vision
  • Having problems with your speech or swallowing
  • Have a fever or night sweats


For more information about ‘red flags’ watch this video (click here).


What you should do is immobilise your elbow using a sling or a triangular bandage, usually found in a first aid kit. Worst case you can create a sling using a scarf, by placing it under the arm and tying the ends at the top.


You should apply an ice pack, for up to 20 mins every two hours. Just be sure to put something between the ice pack and your skin, such as a towel or an ice pack holder and make sure you check every few minutes for any skin irritation.


Applying compression to the area will help to decrease any swelling and inflammation that may have started to develop. So using a compression bandage, starting at the middle of your forearm, overlapping the bandage by half the width each time, come up and above your elbow to around the middle of your upper arm.


You want to apply the compression firmly, but not too tight. Signs that it may be too tight include your fingers going numb or getting pins and needles, or any change in colour of your hand or fingers. Remove the bandage when you go to bed, only wear it during the day.


Avoid massaging or putting heat on the area and avoid drinking alcohol as all of these may increase any inflammation that may be present.


I recommend that you try and see a doctor as soon as possible or go to the emergency department of your hospital, so they can rule out anything serious like a fracture and then guide you to the appropriate health professional for rehabilitation.


Follow me on instagram or facebook for regular physio tips.