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Internal Fixation / Elbow Fracture

An elbow fracture is a break that involves one or more of the three arm bones that come together to form the elbow (olecranon). The fracture can be caused by a direct blow, by landing on the elbow in a fall, or in a motor vehicle accident. An indirect fracture can also occur by landing on the wrist with the elbow in a locked position.


Diagnostic procedures may include the following:


  • sudden, intense pain

  • swelling of the joint or in the area immediately above or below

  • inability to straighten elbow

  • bruising and tenderness

  • numbness or a cool sensation in the forearm, hand or fingers


Surgery is usually required, especially when the fracture is compound, or open, where one or more of the bones have come through the skin

The surgeon will typically make an incision over the back of the elbow and then use different materials to help keep the bones back in place.

These include:

  • pins/wires

  • screws only

  • plates and screws

  • sutures ("stitches") in the bone or tendons

After Surgery/Recovery

Physical Therapy is a critical part of complete recovery. Our doctors recommend DMC's Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, with 30 convenient locations across southeastern Michigan. To find one near you, click here. 





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