Distal Humerus (Elbow) Fracture

Causes  |  Symptoms  |  Treatment Options  |  Patient Care

What Is A Distal Humerus (Elbow) Fracture?

Your humerus forms part of the shoulder joint, acting as the connection to your scapula and part of your elbow and forearm. A distal humerus fracture refers to a break in the lower end of the humerus.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Distal Humerus (Elbow) Fracture?

Common symptoms of a distal humerus fracture or elbow fracture include tenderness, bruising, and the inability to move the affected shoulder. Patients may often experience a grinding sound when they attempt to move the arm. 

What Are The Treatment Options Available For A Distal Humerus (Elbow) Fracture?

Treatment will be recommended based on the information provided from an X-ray and the activity demands of the patient. After a proper diagnosis is made, the fracture site will be splinted to limit further movement and injury.

Following this, it may be recommended that the injured site be placed in a cast or brace to immobilise the bone while it heals. Other times, it may be necessary to have metal plates or screws put in or other forms of external fixation to ensure that the fracture is aligned and the bones can heal in their proper position.

This immobilisation process in an ‘as near-normal position’ as possible is key to the healing process and will be the primary determinant of how well the fracture will heal.

How Can Patients Care For Their Injuries After Treatment For A Distal Humerus (Elbow) Fracture?

Fractures take a very long time to heal and can range from several weeks to several months.

It depends on the severity of the fracture. It is essential that the patient does not apply extra weight to the injured area during this time and that the cast is kept dry.

Maintaining a healthy diet and reducing smoking and alcohol consumption can help the healing process and prevent complications like delayed healing.