The elbow and forearm form a functional unit whose primary role is to accurately position the hand in space. view
An elbow contusion results from blunt direct trauma and produces muscle strains and ligament sprains. view
Fractures about the elbow are the result of high energy injuries. view
Compartment syndrome in all extremities is an orthopedic emergency. view
Wounds occurring in the forearm and elbow must be treated as an emergency because the risk of infection if left open increases about 7 hours after an injury has occurred. view
Arthritis in the elbow can occur after an injury (post-traumatic arthritis), congenital lack of blood supply to the bone causing flaking off of the cartilage called Osteochondritis Dessicans. view
Cubital tunnel syndrome is the compression of the ulnar nerve at the level of the elbow. view
Pronator syndrome is the compression of the median nerve around the elbow and palmar side of the forearm. Because it is the same nerve that causes carpal tunnel syndrome, there is overlap in the symptoms making the diagnosis difficult, at times. view
Radial tunnel syndrome and posterior Interosseous Nerve palsy are both a result of compression of the Posterior interosseous nerve with a more severe compression occurring in posterior interosseous nerve palsy. view
Lateral epicondyltis also called tennis elbow and medial epicondylitis called golfers elbow is a condition affecting the forearm musclesâ€™ on the humeral bone at the elbow called the lateral and medial epicondylitis respectively. view
The cause of a stiff elbow is either at the bony level or the collagen capsule/ligament level or both. view
The elbow, like the shoulder is well perfused with ample blood supply allowing for circulating white blood cells to offer excellent protection against infection and, consequently an elbow infection is uncommon. view
Tumors are divided into benign and malignant types. A benign tumor is an abnormal growth of a particular cell type presenting as a mass. view
Fractures about the elbow are the result of high energy injuries.
When a joint is injured, there are a combination of effects:
The exact injury pattern is dependent on:
Types of Ligament Tears
Elbow ligament tears usually occur when someone slips and falls forward with the body weight and the momentum being sustained by the elbow.
Usually the ligaments on the outside of the elbow tear first, followed by the force traveling inward on the front and back of the elbow until complete ligament tearing occurs culminating in an elbow dislocation.
When sufficient ligament tearing occurs, and the elbow does not completely dislocate, the elbow experiences signs of instability or slipping out of the joint which includes:
Treatment for Simple Dislocation w/o Associated Fracture
This treatment works well unless the patient must perform aggressive overhead activity, placing excessive stress on the elbow inside ligaments. In this instance, a ligament reconstruction may be required.
Normal Elbow Supracondylar Supracondylar Low TranscondylarÂ Intercondylar Fracture Fracture Fracture
Elbow Fracture Malunion (Healed poor position) Elbow Fracture Nonunion(Not healed)
The Terrible Triad
The worst of the combined ligament and elbow bone injuries is called the terrible triad:
The reconstruction of this fracture pattern requires an experienced elbow surgeon to address the combination of injuries. Elbow fractures can also affect the bones individually. A fracture of the elbow joint can involve:
If an elbow fracture has breached the patients skin, it is called an open fracture. Open fractures are treated as an emergency in order to avoid infection. Considerations for Treatment Decisions
Without timely treatment for fractures about the elbow, there are side effects. Fractures extending into the joint that are not fixed properly will develop post-traumatic arthritis. Fractures about the elbow that are not treated timely will result in:
Adult Patients, surgery is always the recommended treatment if an elbow fracture is:
Children are treated without surgery in most cases because:
The only time surgery is required for a child is when:
The best options for treating elbow fractures are through the use of plates and screws. There are different types of plate and screw configurations. The evolution of these plate implants include:
Qualifying for Immediate Elbow Replacement
When the fracture is a very low supracondylar fracture (shown above) and the quality of the bone is poor or when there is severe fragmentation in an elderly patient with poor bone quality, an immediate elbow replacement is oftentimes the best option instead of an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) with plates and screws.