A fracture to your elbow is not only painful, it can make your hand immobile. This means you can’t drive, give someone a handshake or do the normal things you do. If you had just had a fall, a direct hit to your elbow, or been involved in an automobile accident, and you suspect a fracture, you must see a physical therapist right away. A PT will access your arm, and if your fracture is mild, a treatment plan will be created for you. A more severe fracture will require medical treatment, after which physical therapy begins
What is an Elbow Fracture?
Elbow fracture is an injury to one or more of the bones in your elbow joint. The elbow joint is made up of three bones:
- The humerus which extends from the shoulder to your elbow
- The radius (forearm bone) that goes from the elbow to the wrist on the thumb area
- The ulna (another forearm bone) that goes from your elbow to the wrist on the pinky side of your forearm
An elbow fracture happens when one or more of these bones break. Usually, there is a pop or snap, that you will hear or feel at the time of the injury. Adults are not the only ones prone to elbow fractures. Elbow fractures are more common in children
Types of Elbow Fracture
An elbow fracture can range from mild to very severe, with the severe ones requiring surgery
Causes of Elbow Fracture
The major cause of elbow fracture is trauma, that is
Symptoms of Elbow Fractures
If your elbow bones are broken, you may experience the symptoms below. It is advisable to perform a diagnosis to ensure that the symptoms are not a result of other conditions. These symptoms include
Diagnoses for Elbow Fracture
Before a physical therapist at Polygon PT creates a treatment plan for your elbow fracture, a diagnosis by a medical doctor has to be carried out. Physical examination of your elbow, wrist, and fingers will be performed. This is going to hurt seeing that you’re in pain already, but it is necessary. You will also be required to undergo an X-ray, MRI, or a CT (Computed Tomography) scan to determine the severity and exact location of the fracture.
Treatment for Elbow Fracture
Elbow fractures, like all other fractures, can be treated non-surgically or surgically. It depends on how severe or mild the fracture is. Recovery for elbow fractures usually takes 3 – 4 months and more for surgery.
Non-surgical Treatment for Elbow Fractures
This is usually for non-displaced fractures. Your physical therapist will create a specific treatment plan for you. Physical therapy eliminates the need for pain killers, as it helps to reduce the pain and swelling, foster quick healing, and restore mobility and strength to your elbow. Your arm will be in a sling or cast to limit movement, so the bones can heal properly. At this stage, your therapist may prescribe some exercise to help with the stiffness. Once your bone has healed enough, the sling or cast will be removed. At this stage, intense therapy begins to ensure mobilization, strength, and flexibility are restored. You will also learn exercises you can begin at home to speed up recovery.
Surgical Treatment for Displaced Elbow Fracture
Once the fractured bones are out of position, surgery is needed to put them back in place. Your surgeon will fill you in on what the surgery entails, and what kind of surgery you’ll need. The surgery takes 1-2 hours and is done on an outpatient basis. This means you can go home that same day. After surgery, your arm will be put in a cast or sling so the bones can heal. It is important to begin post-operative physical therapy after surgery.
Get Started on Physical Therapy for Elbow Fractures Today!
Whether your elbow fracture requires surgery or not, physical therapy is very essential. Lack of therapy might result in incomplete function and mobility for your elbow. Request an appointment with one of our physical therapists right away. Don’t let a fractured elbow hinder you from doing the things you love, and carrying out everyday chores.