Different Kinds of Elbow Fracture and How Treat Them

Different Kinds of Elbow Fracture and How Treat Them


The human elbow is one of the most important parts of the body when it comes to motion. Because of its complex joints, humans are able to make complex movements with their arms and hands. Building and creating things are possible because of the elbow’s wide variety of movements. If the elbow is injured, the patient’s movements will be limited for a period of time even after healing.

Three bones are connected through the elbow joint: the humerus, the radius, and the ulna. The humerus is found in the upper arm supporting the arm through the shoulder joint. The radius and ulna are both found in the lower arm. Radius is in the thumb side of the forearm while ulna is on the pinky side.

If one, some, or all of the mentioned bones are broken, an elbow fracture is diagnosed. Depending on what bone was fractured, there are different treatments to heal the injury. Healing period for each bone is also going to be different.

  1. Olecranon Fracture
    A crack in the ulna bone, this is one of the most common types of elbow fractures for gymnasts. It is also one of the easiest to determine since there is no soft tissue that is protecting the bone. Cases of Olecranon Fractures are usually found after a direct blow to the ulna, like falling or trying to catch something heavy. When this occurred, the pain would be unbearable and might limit or disable movement at all.
  2. Radial Neck or Head Fractures
    Radial Neck happens when the radius bone is compromised. The common cost of this injury is by landing the elbow to the ground and receiving the impact directly. Unlike Olecranon Fracture, this type of elbow fracture does not limit the movement of the elbow, which is why a sling is needed in order to prevent more damage and promote healing.
  3. Osteochondritis Dissecans
    Sports like gymnastic or discus throw are often the reason for this injury. A small piece of bone s chipped and is locked in the elbow joint the elbow joint when a movement is done. Depending on the size of the chipped bone, the treatment can be different. A small sized bone or cartilage can be treated with rest and ice packs as well as avoidance of motion and pain medication. If the chipped bone is too big, surgery is needed to remove it.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Fractured Elbow?

In most cases, a fractured elbow is easy to determine. But there are cases where an x-ray is needed to determine what kind of fracture happened. If there is a swelling in the elbow, with more symptoms included such as discoloration through blood clotting, inability to move the elbow, or acute pain, it is advised to see a doctor.

The injury can be treated with a nonsurgical method or surgical method, depending on the damage involved. In the nonsurgical method, a cast or a sling is enough to heal the bone. However, when the surgical method is needed, pins and screws, and wires are used to hold the bones. Both methods might require physical therapy other healing.