Lt Col Jerman
The elbow can be injured by traumatic events, such as a fall or a direct blow during contact sports. Fractures and dislocations are two types of injury that can occur this way. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about traumatic elbow injuries?
Of course, Dr. Jerman. A fracture is a break in the bone. Fractures can happen to the olecranon, the distal humerus, or the radial head. Olecranon and distal humerus fractures are extremely painful and can make elbow motion difficult or impossible. Radial head fractures are most common and often occur at the same time as an elbow dislocation. If you suspect a fracture to the radial head or elbow, attempt to fully straighten and bend both elbows. If you cannot make the injured elbow move as far as the uninjured elbow, you may have a fracture and should seek medical assistance immediately.
Dislocation means that the joint surfaces of the elbow are separated, which damages the ligaments. Partial dislocation, also called subluxation, means the surfaces are only partly separated. Additional damage to the bone, blood vessels, or nerves may also occur in a dislocation.