Elbow fracture

Elbow fracture

| |  Orthopedic Surgery

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Intra-articular fractures of the elbow joint rank first among all intra-articular fractures and account for 20%. An elbow fracture can have the most difficult consequences. This is due to the fact that movements in the joint occur in two planes, but the joint has a complex structure and consists of the humerus, ulna and radius, and three more small bones (brachioradial, brachio-ulnar, upper radioulnar). Nerves and blood vessels run close to the joint.

Types of fractures of the elbow joint:

- fracture of the ulnar process of the radius (most often takes a blow on itself);

- fracture of the head and neck of the radius (usually occurs when falling on a straight arm);

- fracture of the coronal process of the ulna (such an injury rarely happens, but it is often combined with other injuries);

- fracture of the epicondyle of the humerus.

In addition, all fractures are divided into intraarticular and periarticular, open and closed, and also with or without displacement. In more than half of cases, fractures of the elbow joint damage only one bone. 


- severe pain in the elbow and forearm, which sometimes spreads to the wrist joint and even fingers;

- deformation and swelling of the elbow joint;

- damage to the periarticular tissues, the development of edema;

- feeling of numbness of the limb, tingling or burning, extending up to the phalanges of the fingers (in case of nerve damage);

- limitation in extension and flexion of the joint;

- edema and hematoma with hemorrhage into the articular cavity;

- sharp pain on palpation of the appendix.

First aid and diagnosis in case of elbow joint fracture

The primary task of a doctors is the complete immobilization of the joint. For this, a splint is applied to the arm bent at a right angle and brought with the palm to the body. You should also immobilize the wrist joint, hand and shoulder. To remove severe pain used analgesics.

In the case of palpation of the injured elbow along the fracture line, the victim feels a sharp pain. The diagnosis of a fracture is confirmed by X-ray examination in 2 projections (frontal and lateral), as well as CT and MRI.

Methods of treatment of the elbow fracture

The doctor chooses a treatment method based on the characteristics of the fracture and the severity of the injury. To prevent the development of hematoma and tissue edema, drug therapy is performed. If there is a fracture of the bone without displacement or displacement of small, conservative treatment is applied - applied plaster splint.

When expressed displacements required surgical operation, during which the damaged joint is opened, then reposition the bone produced (if necessary applied by surgical osteosynthesis screws, plates and needles). In some cases, the most effective method of surgical treatment for an elbow fracture is arthroplasty (during such an operation, the head of the radius is replaced with an artificial implant).

Restoration of the functions of the elbow joint after a fracture is a mandatory step in proper treatment. In the absence of rehabilitation measures the risk of significantly increased complications such as post-traumatic arthritis and bursitis, recurrent fractures often occur, osteoporosis.

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