Fractures of the upper arm bone near the elbow (supracondylar humerus fractures) are the most common elbow fracture in children and account for between 50 and 60% of pediatric elbow fractures. Fractures of the lower arm bone at the elbow, also called lateral condyle fractures, are the next most common.
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Causes & Risk Factors
Most elbow fractures happen after a fall on an outstretched hand. The elbow hyper extends, and the distal part of the humerus (the bone between the elbow and shoulder) above the elbow joint fracture.Symptoms & Types
Symptoms of an elbow fracture include:
- Decreased elbow mobility
- Refusal to use arm
- Immediate onset of pain
Diagnosis & Tests
A broken elbow will be diagnosed by taking X-rays.
Treatment & Care
Supracondylar humerus fractures are categorized by severity. After review by a doctor, treatment can be either casting or surgery depending on the severity of the fracture.
Undisplaced lateral condyle fractures require weekly X-rays to monitor the amount of displacement.
Displaced lateral condyle fractures do require surgery.
Living & Managing
Most injuries are treated with a cast or surgery. A cast is usually in place for 3-4 weeks. After the cast is removed, movement of the elbow is encouraged.
Shrader, M. Wade. "Pediatric supracondylar fractures and pediatric physeal elbow fractures." Orthopedic Clinics of North America 39.2 (2008): 163-171.