Elbow fractures can occur as a result of direct trauma to the elbow or a fall on an outstretched arm. Because the pointy bone of the elbow, the olecranon, lacks protection from muscles and other soft tissues, these types of fractures can occur more easily than you think.
Elbow fractures can be quite painful and may be treated with non-surgical treatments or elbow surgery at our Austin, TX practice. Today, our team at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin explores the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of elbow fractures.
The elbow joint functions much like a hinge. Not only is it important for bending the arm, it is also crucial for rotation of the forearm; for example, turning your palm up or down. The elbow joint is comprised of portions of these three bones:
These three bones are held together with muscles, ligaments, and tendons, as well as its bony architecture.
Fractures of the olecranon can occur for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes include:
The most common symptom of an elbow fracture is intense, sudden pain in the area. In addition, common symptoms may include:
During a consultation at our practice, your doctor will perform a thorough assessment of your arm and elbow. He or she will also review your medical history with you in detail and ask you to describe your symptoms. During the examination process, your doctor will:
The treatment recommended for you will be dependent on your unique situation and the severity of the fracture. At our practice, we strive to provide the most appropriate conservative treatment possible. This may include non-surgical or surgical procedures.
If the bones that make up the elbow are not displaced, the fracture may be treatable using a splint. This device holds the elbow in place during the healing process. Generally, splints are worn for about six weeks. During this time, your doctor will take x-rays to monitor your progress.
If the bones have moved out of place or if the bones have lacerated the skin, then surgery is typically necessary. This involves repositioning the bones of the elbow and holding them in place until healing is complete. Some of the most common surgical approaches include:
If surgery is necessary to repair your elbow fracture, your doctor will talk through every option with you during a consultation.
If you recently sustained trauma to the elbow, you could have a fracture. Schedule an appointment at our practice to explore your treatment options. Contact us online or call us at (512) 476-2830.