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What Is an Elbow Fracture?

An elbow fracture is a break in a bone in the elbow joint. This injury is more commonly referred to as a broken elbow. Due to the location of the elbow joint – close to the surface of the skin, with little fat or muscle to cushion it – it’s possible for a bone to break if it sustains an indirect impact (e.g., through a fall onto an outstretched arm)or a direct impact (e.g., through a fall or blow to the elbow).

Usually, an elbow fracture involves the olecranon, or the tip of the elbow. Sometimes, however, an individual bone such as the humerus, radius, or ulna can also break. Depending on the cause of the injury, a fracture may also be accompanied by damage to other important structures in the elbow, such as a ligament, tendon, or muscle.

How are elbow fractures treated?

Treatment for a fractured elbow typically depends on several factors, including:

  • The site of the fracture
  • The severity of the break (whether it is a small crack or more severe injury in which a bone has shattered)
  • Whether any soft tissue damage accompanies the bone damage

Prior to recommending a treatment plan, an orthopaedist will typically review an X-ray or other imaging scan to determine the full extent of the damage.

Some elbow fractures can be treated without surgery. For instance, a splint can be made to hold the elbow in place while the bones heal on their own. However, more complex fractures (such as those in which the ends of a bone are significantly out of place, or in which pieces of bone have punctured the skin) may require surgical treatment.

At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, we offer both surgical and nonsurgical elbow fracture treatment. We have a team of board-certified and double-board-certified elbow pain specialists who can evaluate your injury and help you determine the best approach to treatment. Whether that’s a custom cast, minimally invasive operation, or anything in between, we’ll help your injury heal and get you back to your daily life. We also offer on-site physical therapy to enhance the rehabilitation process that follows an elbow fracture.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment a member of our team, contact Advanced Orthopaedics today. We welcome patients from Houston, Texas, and all other nearby areas.