Coronoid Fracture: Cause & Symptoms

Coronoid fractures often happen in the ulna although they are relatively uncommon. However, coronoid fractures can be critical injuries. They usually occur in conjunction with elbow dislocations and will lead to elbow instability. The coronoid is designed to strengthen the elbow, increasing the stability. Therefore, a fracture will lead to unstable elbows and a possible loss of motion.

Traumatic elbow injuries such as a coronoid fracture will usually result in a dislocation of not only the bony structures but also injuries to the soft tissues. Very often, the posterior elbow is dislocated and managing it is extremely difficult. Unlike other fractures, coronoid fractures do not respond well to close reduction or splinting.

Causes

Coronoid fracture usually comes hand in hand with an elbow dislocation as dislocation itself involves a large energy impact onto the surrounding bones and soft tissues, leading to several severe soft tissue injuries. This usually happens during high impact sports such as rugby or accidents. One of the most common cause is a fall from a certain height, landing on an outstretched arm when trying to break the fall. The main mechanism involves a combination of twisting and flexing. When the elbow is loaded axially, it is in its weakest state and will lead to the weakening of the coronoid.

Symptoms

Patients suffering from coronoid fractures often have the following symptoms. Patients will be in tremendous pain with diffuse swelling and tenderness. The level of tenderness can be multifocal and depends of the area of injury. Range of motion including flexing, extension and rotation will be severely limited or totally impossible.

Complications

Coronoid fractures may lead to complications if it is not treated properly. The ends of broken bones are sharp and they can cut and tear surrounding blood vessels, nerves and tendons. Fractures may also lead to excessive bleeding and swelling in the elbow region, causing blood clot formation and the disruption of normal blood flow to the rest of the arm. This will lead to a loss of sensation and even function of the arm, requiring emergency attention.

Management

Patients suffering from coronoid fractures will have unstable elbows and it can be fixed by suturing the bone and anterior capsule to the anterior ulna. Surgery will involve either internal fixation or replacement of the fractured radial heads. The injured ligaments need to be surgically reconstructed and if the elbow is still unstable, hinged external fixation will be required.

Olecranon Fractures: Treatment & Management

Our elbow is a complex hinge joint made up of three different bones. It can also perform various functions. The elbow is able to bend and straighten up, rotate and turning up and down. When you try to bend your elbow, the sharp tip protruding out is called the olecranon. Olecranon fractures are injuries that affect the particular bone.

Treatment

After a patient suffers from an Olecranon fracture, the first thing a doctor will administer is ice and pain relief medication followed by elbow immobilization. The doctor will then determine if surgery is required depending on the extent of the fracture.

Nonsurgical treatment

Patients who do not have a severe fracture will not be required to undergo surgery. Nonsurgical treatment is fairly straightforward. The patient will need to immobilize the fractured elbow using a splint or sling during the healing process. The patient will also need to visit the hospital once a week for X-ray imaging to monitor the healing process. If there are no protruding bone fragments, movement will resume after a month. During the healing process, a physiotherapist will be assigned to teach basic strengthening exercises. If the fracture shifts during this process, the patient will eventually surgery to piece the bones together.

Surgical treatment

Surgery will be needed for patients who have serious fractures such as an open fracture or displaced fracture. In a displaced fracture, the fracture is out of place. This is due to the strong attachment of the bicep muscles to the olecranon. Once the fracture is out of place, the elbow will be unable to straighten at all. An open fracture on the other hand means that the bone fragments have cut the skin, leading to an increased risk of infection. This is a much more serious condition and patients will be administered with antibiotics and tetanus shot. An incision will be made at the back of the elbow where the surgeon will piece the bone fragments together again. Large pieces of bones may be joined together using pins, wires, screws or plates and these metal implants can be permanent or biodegradable.

Management

Following surgery, rehabilitation will be required in order to regain the elbow to its previous condition. As the healing process is lengthy, bone resorption could have taken place. As such, the region is much weaker. A physiotherapist will thus concentrate on regaining bone mass and muscular strength in the elbow.

Taking Care of Sports Injuries: Leg Fractures

Beneath our skin is the human skeletal system comprising of 206 bones working in tandem with soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage to perform critical bodily functions such as movements and regulations. Making up the skeleton are bones and these bones can be fractured when a large enough external force is acted against it. Leg fractures are the condition whereby either the femur, fibula or tibia bones in the leg are broken. There are many possible causes for leg fractures and the main culprit is often overuse injury.  In this article, we will be discussing about how best to care for sports injuries such as leg fractures.

Splint

Splint is often the first treatment administered to patients with leg fractures. Many people mistaken splint as casts and it is important to be able to differentiate. Splints do not surround the entire fractured bone and is often only padded on one or two sides to provide protection and support. Splint helps to restrict unwanted movements which could further aggravate the fracture and due to its “open” nature, it allows swelling to happen. Doctors will usually apply a splint to the patient for a few days until the swelling has subsided and will then follow on with a immobilisation cast.

Casts

After the swelling has subsided, a cast can then be used. Casts are large, hard bandages made of plaster or lightweight fibreglass which completely immobilise the bone to accelerate healing. The internal padding is made up of comfortable cotton lining which helps to absorb perspiration.

Elevating the leg

Whenever possible, the patient should always try to elevate the injured leg to a position above the heart. This helps to reduce swelling and drain the fluids down and away. Elevating the leg also reduces pain and accelerates the healing process.

Keeping away from water

Utmost care should be taken to keep away from water during this period if it is made of plaster. Water will disintegrate the plaster and render it useless. The water can also react with the plaster and cause rashes to form on the skin.

Using walking aids

Before the bone has completely healed, you should not bear weight on it to prevent further injuries and hinder the recovery process. When you are moving around, you should always use a walking aid such as a crutch to assist you.

Leg fractures are troublesome injuries that have a significant impact on your daily life. However, with the proper care and treatment, recovery time should not take too long and you will not be far off the track.

4 Symptoms You Might Be Suffering From a Fracture

Fractures or broken bones results when the impact force is too high for the bone to withstand, causing it to crack. Fractures are straight forward injuries and it is a serious one. Our bones are structurally rigid and it is reinforced by connective tissues and calcium. Bone fractures come in different forms and severity that is dependent on the direction of the force and the extent of it as well as the patient’s age and health. There are some parts of the body that are prone to fractures and they are the areas that are frequently used and commonly occur as sports injuries. Some examples are the wrists, ankles and hip. Fractures can be either open or closed, with an open fracture being the bone being exposed through the skin while for the closed fracture, the skin is intact.

Bone fracture symptoms vary according to the area of injury as well as the severity. Some of them include:

Pain and Swelling

Pain and swelling occurs due to edema of the underlying soft tissues which are caused by the bleeding of periosteal blood vessels, causing immense pressure on the tissues. Although there are no nerves in the bones, the impact force and sometimes fragments can cause the immune system to act to destroy these “foreign materials”, causing swelling and inflammation to occur.

Bruising

Bruising occurs when injuries to the blood vessels occur, damaging or even breaking them due to impact forces. The tiny bump commonly seen due to bruising are due to a combination of blood leaking out from these injured blood vessels as well as the immune system’s response to the injury.

Deformity

Deformity of the injured region may occur after fracture. For example, if the shoulder is fractured, the broken bone may move out of position, making the shoulder joint look like a deformed part of the body. Very often, bone fragments can be seen sticking out and this can often be either an open or closed fracture.

Unable to use the limb.

The limb that is fractured will lose most of its capability to do even simple things like lifting up or moving around. This is due to the bones that are not connected together anymore, causing the joint to malfunction completely.
Fractures are serious medical conditions and at all times you should try to apply a cold pack to the injured region and try not to move the patient around. Immediately seek medical help and when possible, remove all clothing from the injured area.

Sprained, Tears or Fractured?

Sports injuries are inevitable at some point in time of your life. After a hard training session or a game of your favourite sports, there will definitely be those post game aches and pain that you will suffer which are perfectly normal. In unwanted cases, you could have landed badly from a jump or fell awkwardly on your shoulders, resulting in a swollen ankle or shoulder. You try to self medicate but what injury is it exactly? Is it a sprain, muscle tear or a fracture? How do you differentiate them from one another?

Sprains

A sprain occurs when you stretch or partially tear the fibrous tissues or more commonly known as your ligaments. They occur mostly in places such as your ankles and wrists. Ligaments helps to connect the connective tissues from your bones to your joints. There are three degrees of sprains namely the first, second and third degree. Some signs of sprains include pain, bruising, tenderness, inflammation, swelling and immobility of the affected area. Sprains can usually heal on their own but more serious sprains may require surgery. Always see a doctor if the pain is excruciating or you suffer from numbness in the area which could imply something more serious.

Tears

Muscle tear or commonly known as muscle strain implies that you have torn a muscle or a tissue called tendons. They occur most commonly in places such as the hamstring which is located at the back of you thigh. Muscle tear can cause severe pain and inability to walk or carry out normal functions properly. They are commonly caused by over use of muscles, suddenly pulling of the affected tissues and cyclic cycles of muscles.

Fracture

Fractures are probably the most serious as compared to tears and sprains. A fracture implies that there is a broken or cracked bone involved. Fractures are extremely serious injuries and you must seek a doctor immediately. Common symptoms include difficulty in breathing, loss of mobility at the affected area, fingers or toes turning blue due to lack of blood flow and seeing a bone sticking through the skin. There are two types of fractures namely the acute and stress fractures. Simple acute fractures are caused by a sudden hard blow to the bone resulting in the bone breaking, causing injury only to the bone and not to the surrounding tissues. If you see a bone sticking through your skin, you have a compound acute fracture which will cause infection to the surrounding tissues and are much more serious. Stress fractures are normally from repeated stress on your affected area mainly caused by sports or gymnastics.

Now that you know what sports injury you are suffering from, you can do the necessary R.I.C.E actions and seek a doctor if you need to. There are so many different sports injuries and above are only three of them. Always consult a doctor if you are unsure as wrong self mediation can further aggravate the injury.