Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Elbow Bruise Skin Wound

Most minor cuts, abrasions and puncture wounds to the elbow can be safely treated at home. Initial care includes:

  • Control bleeding with direct pressure.
    • Use a gauze or clean cloth directly on the wound.
    • Maintain the pressure for at least 10 minutes.
    • Do not keep looking at the wound.
  • Clean the wound with mild soap and water. Running water can help remove dirt.
  • You may gently dab the wound with hydrogen peroxide to remove clotted blood or debris. Do not scrub or re-injure the wound.
  • Be sure there is no dirt or other foreign material left in the wound.
  • A butterfly bandage can be used to close very small, clean cuts.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment and a dry dressing.
  • Cover the wound with gauze or elastic bandage.
  • Keep the wound clean and dry.
  • Protect and rest the injured area.
  • Elevate the injured arm.

Ongoing care for minor skin wounds includes:
  • Abrasions may be cleaned 2-3 times a day with a mild soap such as dilute baby shampoo.
  • Dry the wound gently, and completely, with a clean towel or gauze.
  • Apply an antibiotic and a dressing as needed.

Tetanus Considerations
Tetanus shots (boosters) can be given up to three days after an injury, as long as you have had all your tetanus shots in the past. A tetanus booster seldom needs to be given right at the time of the wound. This is not an emergency and can be done in the doctor's office or clinic.

A tetanus shot is necessary right away if you have not had three tetanus shots at any time in your life.

You need a tetanus shot within three days for:
  • A dirty wound and you have not had a tetanus shot in the last five years
  • A clean, minor wound and you have not had a tetanus shot in the last ten years

Continue to Elbow Bruise Warning Signs

Last Updated: Mar 16, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Elbow Bruise References
  1. Beiner JM, Jokl P. Muscle contusion injuries: current treatment options. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2001 Jul-Aug;9(4):227-37. [11476532]
  2. Berg E. Deep muscle contusion complicated by myositis ossificans (a.k.a. heterotopic bone). Orthop Nurs. 2000 Nov-Dec;19(6):66-7. [11899311]
  3. Centeno CJ, Freeman M, Elkins WL. A review of the literature refuting the concept of minor impact soft tissue injury. Pain Res Manag. 2005 Summer;10(2):71-4. [15915248]
  4. Guzman J, Yassi A, Cooper JE, Khokhar J. Return to work after occupational injury. Family physicians' perspectives on soft-tissue injuries. Can Fam Physician. 2002 Dec;48:1912-9. [12520791]
  5. Tull F, Borrelli J Jr. Soft-tissue injury associated with closed fractures: evaluation and management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2003 Nov-Dec;11(6):431-8. [14686828]
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