An elbow fracture is a break in one or more of the bones that make up the elbow joint. The bones in the elbow joint are:
This is caused by trauma to the elbow bones. Trauma can be caused by:
These factors increase your chance of developing an elbow fracture. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, physical activity, and how the injury occurred. The area will be examined.
Tests may include:
Treatment depends on how severe the injury is. Treatment involves:
These devices may be used to hold the bone in place while it heals:
Depending on the level of pain, your doctor may prescribe medication.
More x-rays will be done to be sure the bones have not shifted.
It takes about 8-10 weeks for a fractured elbow to heal.
To help prevent elbow fractures:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Broken arm. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/broken-arm/DS01001 . Updated June 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.
Elbow fractures in children. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00037 . Updated October 2007. Accessed July 28, 2008.
Olecranon fractures of the elbow. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.emedicine.com/Radio/topic234.htm . Updated October 2007. Accessed July 28, 2008.
Last reviewed September 2012 by John C. Keel, MD
Last Updated: 9/28/2012
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