Our elbows are joints, consisting of three bones: The humerus, the radius and the ulna. More specifically the elbow is made up of contain portions of those bones – the distal humerus, the radial head and the olecranon. Each of these bones has a primary function in the hinging motion our elbows make when we flex and extend our forearm. The elbow is secured by ligaments, muscles, tendons, and the bone’s shape. If any one of these elbow components is exposed to excessive force, it can result in a fracture.
Causes of Elbow Fractures
Although there are various types of elbow fractures, the breaking of the olecranon – that section of your elbow that feels like a bony point when you bend it – is the most common. This type of fracture typically occurs from a direct blow following falling and landing directly on your elbow or by a direct hit from a hard object. It can also occur from a more indirect break, i.e. landing on an outstretched arm. Those who have an elbow fracture are likely to experience intense pain that comes about suddenly, an inability to straighten their elbow, extreme tenderness and numbness in multiple fingers.
Treatment of Elbow Fracture
If you believe you have experienced a fracture of the elbow, it is strongly advised to go to the emergency room. The doctor on call will take a full history of how the injury happened and will run a multitude of tests to include an x-ray to determine severity of fracture and plan of action. Once the doctor takes care of your elbow fracture, you must undergo secondary treatment at our facility. At JAG Physical Therapy we design a physical therapy program that addresses each patients goals and needs individually with an end goal of returning the patient back to the life they love.
Fortunately, patients who experience elbow fractures (severity dependent) – and take advantage of our treatment programs – find that they can return to their daily routine in about four months. It is important to note, however, that a fractured elbow can take up to one year to heal. So, it’s advised to keep up with your treatment sessions as directed by our knowledgeable, experienced and certified staff.