Elbow fractures involve any injury to the bones that make up your elbow joint, including fractures to your distal humerus, olecranon, or radius. Fractures are most commonly caused by high-impact injuries, such as a fall or collision, causing the bone to break. Depending on the location of the break and what type of break occurred, surgery may be needed to stabilize the bone during the healing process.
- Sharp pain over the location of the fracture
- Difficulty moving the elbow in any direction due to pain
- Decreased strength due to pain
- Swelling, bruising, redness, or deformity, depending on the location of the fracture
X-rays of the elbow will confirm the location and type of fracture that has occurred. This image will give a better idea of the course of treatment needed to ensure proper healing of the bone.
Depending on the location of the fracture and the extent of damage to the bone, immobilization and surgery are the most common courses of treatment. Sometimes fractures can be treated arthroscopically, and sometimes they are treated with plates and screws (“open reduction and internal fixation”). After the initial stages of healing have occurred, you will need to strengthen the muscles around the immobilized joint to restore full elbow function.