Rehabilitation after Release of Stiff Elbow

Release of Stiff Elbow (Arthrolysis Open or Endoscopic)

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Indications:  Post traumatic elbow stiffness

Post operative elbow stiffness


Post op

Immediate post op

  • CPM for 3/7 if block is working
  • Immediate active ROM if nil block within limits of pain (to point of mild stretch) in all directions
  • On the rare occasion that there is instability following the procedure do not use CPM – please check op notes for clarification


  • Continue with active ROM in all directions
  • Introduce resistance program if required
  • If nil progress made with ROM discuss with consultant

Warning: Overuse/ over activity / over zealous physiotherapy stretching can cause increase swelling, and pain so slow down if this occurs.

Use ice and ensure adequate pain relief. If there is no swelling present warmth can be considered for pain relief

Illustration of typical pattern of recovery of movement after surgery.