First 2 weeks:
Keep the arm elevated initially and apply ice packs to control the swelling for up to 20 minutes at a time, three times daily. The padded dressing can be removed after 2 days, while leaving the wound dressing (plaster) on. If a backslab (soft cast) was applied, it will be removed after 1-2 weeks. Start active assisted range of motion as soon as pain allows: Hold the hand of the operated arm with your unaffected hand and try to bend and straighten the elbow gently. Progress to active movements when pain allows. Start using the arm during activities of daily living, but avoid activities that cause pain. Remember to do daily shoulder stretches as well during this time. Remove the sling as soon as pain allows. A wound review is done after 2 weeks.
Continue with active range of motion exercises of the wrist, elbow and shoulder. Patients doing sedentary work can return to work at 2 weeks, but manual workers should only do light duty at this stage. Patients can normally start driving at about 3 weeks, provided they can use the operated arm comfortably and be in full control of the car. Another follow-up visit is scheduled at 6 weeks.
After 6 weeks:
Strengthening exercises are started once the elbow can move freely without pain. Start with light weight exercises and gradually progress to heavier weights as pain allows. Manual labourers can return to normal duty. Sportsmen can start with sports specific exercises and aim to return to sports by 3‐4 months.
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