Did you have a bad fall? Did the jungle gym routine put excess strain on your outstretched arm? Such episodes could sprain or dislocate your elbow. You may need to do an X-ray or a CT scan to determine whether there is a possibility of fracture ?.
Typical Signs of a fractured elbow are as follows:
- Swelling over the backside or tip of the elbow
- Bruises found around the elbow area
- Elbow feels tender to touch
- Numbness sets in the fingers
- Experiencing pain in the elbow area or while rotating the forearm
Elbow Fracture in Kids
Elbow fracture is one of the most common accidents that happen during childhood. From simple elbow fracture that heals quickly as compared to complex fractures wherein the bone is broken into multiple pieces or the ligaments are torn. All kinds of fractured elbows in children require immediate medical treatment.
Various Types of Elbow Fracture
- Radial Fracture (neck and head) – It is not a common fracture. A radial fracture occurs when you are trying to stop a fall with an outstretched arm, and the full impact of the fall could injure your forearm bones, break the smaller bones or dislocate your elbow. Such fractures happen near the elbow bone area that is known as the radial head.
- Olecranon Fracture – It is a type of fracture that occurs in the bony part of the elbow. It is a common fracture as a result of a fall or accidental injury to the elbow area. Olecranon is derived from the Greek words 'olene' (elbow) and kranon (large head). It is considered a serious form of fracture with numerous broken bones.
- Distal Humerus Fracture – When the lower portion of the upper arm is broken, it results in distal humerus fracture. It is an injury that damages any one of the three bones that shape the elbow joint. Such fractures mainly happen with elderly people and young kids. Humerus fractures require surgical treatment.
Broken bones in the elbow are easily detected during an X-ray confirming the fracture. When bones get broken or chipped, you may hear a loud snap or grinding sound at the time of the injury. Orthopedic doctors may treat a fractured elbow with the aid of splints. Elbow fracture splints are a supportive rigid material used to secure broken bones and thus allowing the fractured area to heal.
Elbow Fracture Healing Time
Immediately after an elbow injury or fracture, the area will feel extremely painful and stiff. Fractures do not heal quickly. It takes a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks for fractures to heal, it also depends on the severity of the injury and your general health. Doctors advise that during the healing period, you must not lift heavy objects that could stress the joint.
Physical Therapy speeds up the recovery process and helps patients regain their range of motion. Doctors advise patients to consult professional physiotherapists, especially after surgical procedures.
Advantages of Physical Therapy:
- To restore normal elbow movements and elbow strength
- Regain the overall functions of the arm
- Regain your confidence steadily to increase elbow mobility
- Helps in dealing with the pain
- Recover your strength to perform normal household chores
Is my elbow broken or just bruised?
If there is swelling, pain or stiffness in the elbow area, it may indicate a fracture. Visible disfigurement around the elbow can be a sign of dislocated joint. A bruised elbow without fracture cannot give you intense pain or swelling.
How to sleep with a broken elbow?
You can sleep by putting a pillow on your chest and placing your arm on it. You may also place a pillow near your side and put the arm upon it. Minimum movement during the first two days after the injury is crucial. Doctors may also suggest you apply ice packs over the elbow area.
Does elbow fracture require surgery?
Simple fractures do not require surgical intervention. Doctors may give oral medications and splint support. However, olecranon fracture treatment is not possible without surgery. A surgical procedure is essential to rectify the elbow structure and joint motion.
When does a fractured elbow heal?
It normally takes around six to eight weeks for an elbow fracture to heal properly. During that period, you have to try to move your arm as much as possible to overcome joint stiffness.