Elbow Fracture Treatment
Elbow Fracture Treatment in Eastern Tennessee
What is an Elbow Fracture?
A break in the bone at the tip of the elbow is called an olecranon fracture. This sharp piece of bone is part of the ulna, which is one of the three bones that make up the elbow joint.
The olecranon is right under the skin of the elbow, and muscles and other soft tissues don’t do much to protect it. It’s easy to break if you get hit right in the elbow or land on the tip of the elbow. A fracture can be very painful and make it hard or impossible to move the arm.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ELBOW FRACTURES?
There are three main kinds of fractures in the elbow. These include:
- Fractures of the olecranon – The olecranon is the sharp tip of your elbow. It is part of the ulna, which is one of the two bones that make up the forearm. Because it is not covered or protected by muscles, the olecranon is more common to fracture
- Fractures of the radial head – The radial head attaches to the humerus, which is the upper arm bone, this fracture happens when someone tries to stop a fall with their arm
- Fractures of the distal humerus – The distal humerus is the bone that goes from the shoulder to the elbow, and is not common to fracture, but can happen in an accident
ELBOW FRACTURE SYMPTOMS
An elbow fracture usually comes on quickly and causes a high level of pain. It can also make it hard to move your arm. There may be other signs and symptoms including:
- The tip or back of the elbow swells up
- Bruising around the arm. Sometimes these bruises go up the arm toward the shoulder or down the forearm toward the wrist
- Tender to the touch
- One or more fingers feel numb
- Pain when the elbow moves or when the wrist is turned
- A joint that feels unstable, like your elbow is going to pop out
TREATMENT FOR A FRACTURED ELBOW
If the broken pieces of bone are not moved out of place, a cast can sometimes be used to hold the elbow in place while it heals. Your doctor will take a lot of X-rays while the bone is healing to make sure it hasn’t moved out of place.
Most of the time, you will have to wear a splint for 6 weeks before you can start gentle movement. During this time, if the broken bone moves, you may need surgery to put the bones back together.
When there is an elbow fracture, elbow surgery is generally needed due to:
- The bones aren’t where they should be
- Bone pieces have poked through the skin
For most elbow fractures, surgery includes putting the broken pieces of bone back where they belong and making sure they don’t move until they heal.
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