Elbow fractures are typically the byproduct of a fall, a direct blow to the elbow or abnormal twisting of the elbow joint. The side effects of an elbow fracture can be painful, uncomfortable and limit the movement and functionality of the elbow and arm.
At OrthoAspen we offer everything from emergency care to evaluation and treatment of elbow injuries and fractures (among other orthopedic-related injuries). It’s our goal to return our Aspen patients to the lifestyle and activities they enjoy—as safely and quickly as possible.
The elbow joint is made up of three bones: the humerus, radius and ulna. When an individual experiences a fall or trauma, especially when the arm is outstretched or the elbow joint is twisted abnormally, one of the following types of elbow fractures may occur:
- Radial Head and Neck Fractures
Fractures in the head portion of the radius bone (radial head and neck) can often be identified by pain that worsens with the rotation of the forearm.
- Olecranon Fractures
As the most common type of elbow fractures, olecranon fractures, occur at the bony prominence of the ulna.
- Distal Humerus Fractures
Distal Humerus fractures are more common in children and elderly people. Nerves and arteries in the joint are susceptible to injury in these type of fractures.
Symptoms of elbow fractures include:
- Swelling in and around the elbow
- Popping or cracking sound
- Numbness or weakness in the arm, wrist and hand
- Deformity of the elbow bones
- Instability and limited, painful range of motion in the elbow
At OrthoAspen, our shoulder and elbow orthopedic experts conduct a thorough evaluation to assess the type and severity of elbow fracture present. In addition to going over medical history and current health status, your OrthoAspen physician will also obtain X-rays of the joint. In certain cases, a CT scan may be required to clearly identify the details of the joint surface.
The aim of elbow fracture treatment is to maximize early motion and to reduce the risk of stiffness. As with other injuries, our OrthoAspen physicians strive to utilize conservative treatment methods whenever possible.
Non-surgical treatment options for elbow fractures include:
- Pain medication
- Ice application
- Splint or sling to immobilize the elbow during the healing process
- Physical therapy
For injuries that don’t respond well to non-surgical methods or may be severe in nature, surgical intervention may be warranted. An OrthoAspen surgeon will likely recommend surgery with displaced and open fractures. The surgical procedure realigns the bones and stabilizes the joint with screws, plates, pins and wires. Following initial recovery, strengthening exercises are recommended to improve the range of motion.
No matter what treatment method our OrthoAspen shoulder and elbow physician recommends for an elbow fracture, rest assured that we will do everything possible to aid in an effective and safe recovery.
If you’d like to learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of elbow fractures, or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic experts, simply click here to get started or call us at 970-544-1289.