Elbow fractures occur in the elbow joint, which is made up of three bones, bends and straightens like a hinge. It also is vital in rotating the forearm to turn the hand’s palm up or down.
The upper arm bone between the shoulder and elbow is the humerus. The radius and ulna bones are the parallel forearm bones between the elbow and wrist. Any combination of these three bones may be involved in a fracture of the elbow. This can occur from a direct blow, often caused by landing on the elbow in a fall or being struck by a hard object. Symptoms of an elbow fracture include pain, swelling, bruising and stiffness in and around the elbow, and an inability to move the arm. Often, an x-ray confirms if a fracture is present and if the bones are displaced. Sometimes, a CT scan is necessary to get further detail.
An elbow fracture can involve up to three bones located in the elbow area. This type of fracture can produce swelling, tenderness and pain in the upper, mid and lower arm regions. There is also a marketed inability to move the arm. Attempts to use the lower portion of the arm may be restricted due to instability of the upper arm. Injuries to the nerve may also occur causing a numbing sensation down to the hand area.
These injuries typically occur due to a traumatic incident. Dr. Louis will perform a thorough examination to evaluate and determine the extent of your arm injuries and conduct a complete review of your medical history.
He may also utilized diagnostic tools such as an MRI, X-ray or CT scan to confirm the extent of your condition.
Conservative treatment (a sling or cast) is rarely used to stabilize a fracture of the elbow. Elbow fractures that are displaced or unstable need surgery to realign and stabilize the fragments, or sometimes to remove bone fragments. If the fracture is open (skin broken over the fracture), urgent surgery is needed to clean the bone and the surrounding soft tissue to minimize the risk of a deep infection.