Patients who seek out orthopedic treatment for elbow fractures tend to sustain such injuries as a result of slip and fall accidents, blunt trauma, or when twisting their arm beyond its limitations. Often, patients who experience an elbow fracture also suffer from a sprain, strain, or dislocation simultaneously. If a fracture does exist and if the injury has forced the bone out of its natural position, an X-ray is used to confirm the presence of a fracture and identify the extent of the damage. A CT Scan may be recommended to gain more information on the extent and depth of the fracture.
There are three specific types of elbow fractures that are treated at AICA Orthopedics. These include:
Olecranon Fractures: This particular type often require surgical intervention to recover. The bone fragments are reconnected and held in place using pines and wires or plates and screws.
Radial Head and Neck Fractures: Patients who experience radial head and neck fractures often experience significant pain, especially when trying to rotate their forearm in any direction. Treatment depends on the number and extent of the bone fragments. Severe fractures tend to demand surgery to correct and stabilize the bone fragments or to eliminate or substitute the radial head if there are an excessive amount of bony pieces.
Distal Humerus Fractures: Mostly found within children and seniors, distal humerus fractures force orthopedic doctors to carefully review the damaged area to see if there are nerve or artery injuries that also exist. Unless the injury is in a stable position, surgery is often required to implement plates or screws to hold the disconnected bones together.
Common Symptoms Associated With Elbow Fractures
Patients who fracture their elbow often experience:
- Intense, sharp pain
- Deep bruising
- Loss of mobility
- Snap or popping noises at the time of the injury
- Physical deformities
Orthopedic Treatment For Elbow Fractures
Fractures that comprise of bones that are out of their natural positions require surgical treatment to replace and stabilize the bone fragments or to remove them altogether. If someone experiences a fracture that breaks through the skin, immediate surgery is necessary to prevent infection and to minimize the long-term consequences. Non-surgical treatment consists of a cast, sling, or splint to prevent the bones from moving. Children with elbow fractures tend to receive a cast since the potential for them to lose flexibility in their arm is low. Physical therapy and low-impact strengthening techniques are helpful for improving mobility. Other non-surgical solutions include massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, temperature therapy, and splints.