Elbow Fractures


Elbow fractures are a common orthopedic injury that can occur due to various causes, ranging from sports injuries to accidents. Understanding the causes, types, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for elbow fractures is crucial for prompt and effective management of this condition. In this article, we'll delve into the intricacies of elbow fractures to provide comprehensive insights for patients and caregivers.

Causes of Elbow Fractures:

Elbow fractures can result from traumatic events such as falls onto an outstretched hand, direct blows to the elbow, or excessive twisting forces during sports activities. Additionally, conditions like osteoporosis can weaken the bones, increasing the risk of fractures even with minor trauma.

Types of Elbow Fractures:

Elbow fractures can involve different parts of the elbow joint, including the humerus (upper arm bone), radius, and ulna (forearm bones). Common types of elbow fractures include:

  1. Olecranon fractures: Fractures of the bony prominence at the tip of the elbow.
  2. Radial head fractures: Fractures involving the head of the radius bone.
  3. Distal humerus fractures: Fractures occurring at the lower end of the humerus near the elbow joint.

Symptoms of Elbow Fractures:

Symptoms of an elbow fracture may include:

  1. Pain, swelling, and tenderness around the elbow
  2. Difficulty moving the elbow or performing daily activities
  3. Visible deformity or bruising
  4. Numbness or tingling in the forearm or hand.

Diagnosis of Elbow Fractures:

Diagnosing an elbow fracture typically involves a combination of medical history review, physical examination, and imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI. These tests help determine the location, severity, and extent of the fracture, guiding the treatment plan.

Treatment Options for Elbow Fractures:

Treatment for elbow fractures depends on various factors including the type of fracture, its severity, and the patient's overall health. Common treatment options may include:

  1. Immobilization: Using splints, braces, or casts to stabilize the elbow and allow healing.
  2. Medications: Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs to manage pain and inflammation.
  3. Physical therapy: Exercises to improve range of motion, strength, and function of the elbow joint.
  4. Surgery: In cases of severe fractures or those involving joint displacement, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgical options include open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), where the bones are realigned and secured with screws, plates, or pins, or in some cases, joint replacement surgery.


Elbow fractures can significantly impact daily life and function if not properly managed. By understanding the causes, types, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for elbow fractures, patients and caregivers can make informed decisions about their care. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential for achieving optimal outcomes and restoring elbow function. If you suspect an elbow fracture or experience persistent elbow pain after an injury, seek prompt medical attention for evaluation and treatment.

Driven by compassion, decades of experience in orthopaedic care, and modern technology, we strive to provide patient-centric care by alleviating pain, restoring mobility, and improving the quality of life for all our patients. At Orthopaedic and Hand Surgery Partners, where compassion meets experience, you can trust in us. 

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6A Napier Road #03-37
Gleneagles Annexe Block
Singapore 258500

Monday to Friday: 0900 - 1730hrs
Saturday: 0900 - 1230hrs
Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays

820 Thomson Road #06-08
Mount Alvernia Medical Centre A
Singapore 574623

Monday to Friday: 0900 - 1730hrs
Closed on Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays