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What is an Elbow Fracture?

An elbow fracture is a break to the tip of your elbow, usually as the result of a fall, or blunt force trauma. This injury can occur alone or as part of a more complex injury. These common injuries can be treated by surgical or non-surgical means depending on the severity and the type of fracture. There are three main types of fractures to your elbow:

  • Olecranon Fracture– This occurs when the pointy tip of your elbow, part of the ulna, breaks
  • Distal Humerus Fracture– This is a break on the lower end of your humerus and can make elbow movement impossible.
  • Radial Head Fracture: This break occurs on the radius of the lower arm where it connects with the elbow.

An elbow fracture requires medical treatment. Book an appointment at one of our top-rated orthopedic clinics in the Chicago area if you believe you have fractured your elbow.

What are the Symptoms of an Elbow Fracture?

Some types of elbow fractures can cause sudden and intense pain or visible deformities, but others may result in more subtle symptoms. It is important to speak to an elbow pain specialist to rule out other conditions and determine the severity of the injury. Other common elbow fracture symptoms include:

  • Swelling at the back of the elbow
  • Pain when bending your arm
  • Bruising to your elbow
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Stiffness of the elbow

Who is at Risk of a Dislocated Elbow?

Children under 16 and people over 65 are at the highest risk for dislocated elbows. They are also common in people who play contact sports and those who suffer from health conditions that weaken their joint ligaments such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. While some people may be at higher risk, a dislocation can affect anyone. If you require treatment for a dislocated elbow in Chicago, IL, the leading orthopedic doctors at Suburban Orthopaedics are here to help.

How is a Fractured Elbow Diagnosed?

A visit to the doctor is required to diagnose a fractured elbow. Our orthopedic specialists in Chicago, IL will discuss your injury and medical history before performing a physical examination. During the exam, your orthopedic doctor will feel around your elbow for tenderness and check for cuts or bone fragments. They will order an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound to assess the break’s severity.

What are the Treatment Options for a Fractured Elbow?

Treatment for a fractured elbow depends on the type and severity of your fracture. For non-displaced elbow fractures, non-surgical options are available. These options include immobilization with a splint or sling, ice, and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain. In the case of a displaced elbow fracture, surgery is required to repair or replace the broken bones. Our leading orthopedic surgeons will decide the best treatment for your injury.

What is the Recovery for a Fractured Elbow?

Whether you require surgery or not, you will need to rest and elevate your elbow. In most cases, your elbow will be in a cast or splint to limit movement for three to six weeks. There may be some stiffness in the arm after this is removed. Physical or occupational therapy will help this diminish over time and many people can resume normal activities within four months.

Elbow Fracture Treatment in Chicago, IL

If you are experiencing symptoms of a fractured elbow, don’t wait to seek treatment, even a simple fracture requires treatment to heal properly. Book an appointment with one of our elbow fracture specialists in Chicago, IL today.

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At Suburban Orthopaedics, our providers are here to help you. Set up an appointment today.