The elbow is a hinge joint with rotational abilities that allow a person to turn or twist the forearm. You can break your elbow around either the upper arm bone (humerus), the forearm (radius or ulna bones), or directly on the olecranon – which is the pointed bone at the tip of the elbow.
The most common type of elbow fracture is to the olecranon. This bone is actually the protruding end of the ulna, and it noticeably sticks out when the arm is bent.
Symptoms of a Fractured Elbow
If you break an elbow, you will most likely know it immediately. The symptoms of a fractured elbow are the same as with most other broken bones, which are:
- Sudden and intense pain
- Inability to straighten the elbow
- Extreme tenderness and pain when touched or jostled
- Possible sudden deformity of the elbow
What Should I Do if I Have a Broken Elbow?
If you think that you may have a broken elbow, get treatment as quickly as possible. If it is indeed broken, the elbow will require stabilization immediately following the injury.
Whatever medical care you initially receive, you will require an orthopedist – preferably one who specializes in diagnosing and treating issues with the elbows and arms. This physician will treat the injury, perform follow-up checkups during the healing process, and ensure proper rehabilitation of the elbow joint.
Treatment of Fractured Elbows
In some cases, an elbow fracture can be treated with just a cast. Severe elbow fractures may require surgery, in which case fixation of the fractured bones is performed so that the joint heals properly. Fixation may involve screws and plates.
If any connective structures are also involved – such as ligaments or tendons – then all of these issues factor into how the doctor decides to treat the injury. More minor injuries of the elbow may only require a sling, such as a dislocated elbow joint.
Dislocated Elbow Treatment
Among adults, the elbow is second only to the shoulder in frequency of dislocation. Among children, the elbow is actually the most commonly dislocated joint.
A dislocated elbow usually heals on its own. However, if it is causing pain, it could be pinching nearby blood vessels and nerves – in which case medical treatment is necessary.
Orthopedic Physicians in Maryland
If you or someone you know has recently dislocated or fractured an elbow and needs expert treatment by a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic doctor, contact us today to schedule a consultation at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder. We have some of the most talented orthopedic surgeons in the area, and we specialize in diagnosing and treating injuries and health conditions that affect the entire arm area.
Whether you have arthritis pain in the hand, a sports injury to the elbow, or have a rotator cuff injury or bursitis in the shoulder, we can take care of you quickly and efficiently so you can start healing. We even treat overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow.
You may contact our friendly team by calling us at (410) 296-6232 or request an appointment online via our easy-to-use form. We look forward to helping you recover from your injury or pain so you can get back to living your life again.