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Hurt elbow. Swollen and coloured at site, painful, stiffness of fingers. Will it go away with ibuprofen?

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Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 262 Questions
I was hit in the elbow/arm by textbooks in a backpack Friday afternoon. My fingers turned purple and numb until I iced the elbow area about 45 minutes later. I have swelling and nagging pain from just above elbow to my palm and fingers. Fingers are stiff and also slightly swollen, but not blue/purple any more. My arm and hand are weak--it hurts to hold a cup of coffee. Will this go away with ibuprofen and more ice and rest? Is it likely a nerve reaction? I can find no obvious impact XXXXXXX on the elbow/arm.
Posted Sat, 4 May 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Balaji Chinnasami 56 minutes later

Thanks for your query to XXXXXXX

Injury to elbow resulting in stiffness of fingers and difficulty in holding a cup suggests that you have injured a nerve (Ulnar nerve). It could be just due to swelling and compression of the nerve which will subside in few days.
But considering your age and by the disability caused by the injury, I want you to rule out any fracture of the elbow. Consultation with an orthopaedician will help, who may examine you and take an xray if needed. He might advise you splinting and immobilisation for a week and to continue ibuprofen after ruling out fracture.
Till then, give rest to the injured elbow. keep continuing ibuprofen and ice packs. Do not take ibuprofen in empty stomach. Don't worry you will get alright in few days.
If you have any other query I am happy to help you or else close the query and rate it.

Take care
Dr. Balaji Chinnasami MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Hurt elbow. Swollen and coloured at site, painful, stiffness of fingers. Will it go away with ibuprofen? 49 minutes later
Thank you. I suspected the nerve but will rule out fracture when I get to the doctor tomorrow. Bad timing as this is the weekend I have numerous reports and grades due--and I am right-handed.
Answered by Dr. Balaji Chinnasami 2 hours later

I am glad that you are visiting your doctor tomorrow. Health comes first; rest all can wait .take care. If you have any other further queries, I am happy to help or else kindly close the query and rate it.

Dr. Balaji Chinnasami , MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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