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 bandage and padded dressing can be removed after 2 days, while leaving the wound dressing (plaster) on. 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. Remove the sling and wrist brace when pain allows, but wear the sling when going outdoors. Dr Grey will see you again at 2 weeks for a wound review.
2 – 6 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 is started at this time. 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 under guidance of the physiotherapist and aim to return to sports by 8 weeks.
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