Arm and Elbow

Elbow Fractures

Elbow Fractures

Three bones, the humerus, radius and ulna, make up the elbow joint. Elbow fractures may occur from trauma, resulting from various reasons; some of them being a fall on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the elbow, or an abnormal twist to the joint beyond its functional limit. The types of elbow fractures include:

  • Radial head and neck fractures: Fractures in the head portion of the radius bone are referred to as radial head and neck fractures.
  • Olecranon fractures: These are the most common elbow fractures, occurring at the bony prominence of the ulna.
  • Distal humerus fractures: These fractures are common in children and elderly people. Nerves and arteries in the joint may sometimes be injured in these fractures.

Symptoms of an elbow fracture include pain, bruising, stiffness, swelling in and around the elbow, a popping or cracking sound, numbness or weakness in the arm, wrist and hand, and deformity of the elbow bones.

To diagnose an elbow fracture X-rays of the joint are taken. In some cases, a CT scan may be needed to view the details of the joint surface.

The aim of treatment is to maximize early motion and to reduce the risk of stiffness. Nonsurgical treatment options include pain medication, ice application, the use of a splint or a sling to immobilize the elbow during the healing process and physical therapy. Surgery is indicated in displaced and open fractures to realign the bones and stabilize the joint with screws, plates, pins and wires. Strengthening exercises are recommended to improve the range of motion.

We Want To Hear From You

Send us our comments or questions, or call us at

*By using this form to communicate with austin Regional clinic (ARC), the information will be transferred over the internet. ARC uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption in order to secure the information you send to us over the internet. There may be times when we cannot respond to your request in email format and another method of communication will be used. For your privacy, please consider the information you include, and who, besides you, may have access to your email account.