What are Elbow Fractures?
Elbow fractures are mainly caused due to a fall, a direct impact to the elbow, or a twisting injury to the arm. Dislocations, sprains or strains may occur at the same time as a fracture. X-rays are used to confirm a fracture and whether the bones are out of place.
Symptoms of Elbow Fractures
Swelling, pain, bruising and stiffness in and around the elbow may be signs of a possible fracture. A snap at the time of injury may be felt or heard. Noticeable deformity might mean that the bones are out of place or that the elbow joint is dislocated. There may be numbness or weakness in the wrist, arm and hand.
How are Elbow Fractures diagnosed
The doctor will discuss with the patient about their medical history and general health and probe one’s symptoms. Then he / she will examine patient’s elbow to determine the extent of the injury. During the exam, the doctor will:
- Check patient’s skin for cuts and lacerations. In severe fractures, bone fragments can break through the skin, elevating the risk of infection.
- Palpate all around patient’s elbow to determine if there are any other areas of tenderness. This could indicate other injuries, such as a dislocated elbow or broken bones.
- Check one’s pulse at the wrist to make sure that there is good blood flow to the hand and fingers.
- Check to see whether the patient can move their wrist and fingers, and can feel things with their fingers.
Although one may have pain only at the elbow, the doctor may also diagnose one’s shoulder, upper arm, forearm, wrist, and hand to ensure that one does not have any other injuries.
X-rays produce images of dense structures, such as bones. The doctor will order x-rays of one’s elbow to help diagnose patient’s fracture. Depending on the patient’s symptoms, the doctor may also order x-rays of one’s upper arm, forearm, shoulder, wrist, and/or hand to determine if one has other injuries.
Treatment for Elbow Fractures
Fractures that are out of place or unstable are more likely to need surgery. A surgical procedure would stabilize and replace the fragments or separate bone fragments. Whenever a fracture is open, urgent surgery is needed to clean out the wound and bone to reduce the risk of infection.
Non-surgical treatment such as using a cast, sling or splint is typically used when the bones are at low risk of moving out of place or when the position of the bones is okay as is. Age is also considered when treating elbow fractures. Casts are used more frequently in children, as their risk of developing elbow stiffness is small; however, in an adult, elbow stiffness is much more likely.
Rehabilitation directed by the doctor is often used to maximize movement and decrease the chance of getting elbow stiffness. This might include ultrasound, exercises, scar massage, heat, ice and splints that stretch the joint.
Consultation for Elbow Fractures in Singapore
We at Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic do provide treatment for elbow fractures so please feel free to contact us. We provide same day appointment and Xray/MRI prior advanced arrangement. Also we are closely working with more than 35 Insurance companies for cashless payments.