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Distal Humerus Fracture of The Elbow

Distal Humerus Fracture of The Elbow

Think about sitting at the computer and not being able to type or extend or flex your arm to reach for objects. A distal humerus fracture of the elbow can make it impossible and affect other functions in your everyday life. Distal humerus fractures of the elbow are typically associated with a trauma that causes the fracture and can be extremely painful. If someone experiences such a suspected fracture it is essential to seek immediate help from an orthopedic specialist. At Advanced Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists in Denver, Parker, or Aurora, Colorado, they can determine if you have suffered a distal humerus of the elbow so that you get the exact and expert help you need.

OVERVIEW

A distal humerus fracture of the elbow is a break in the lower end of the upper arm bone (humerus), one of the three bones that come together to form the elbow joint. They are uncommon; they account for just about 2% of all adult fractures. They can occur on their own, with no other injuries, but can also be part of a more complex elbow injury. These injuries interfere with the ability of the elbow to place the hand in a functional position. While many distal humerus fractures in children can be treated non-operatively, the majority of fractures in adults will require surgery.

ABOUT THE ELBOW

The elbow joint is a hinge joint that serves two distinct functions; bending and straightening the elbow and turning the palm up and palm down. The elbow is made up of three bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), the radius (forearm bone on the thumb side), and the ulna (forearm bone on the pinky side). The humerus is the long bone in the upper arm. The top of the bone is part of the shoulder joint and the bottom is part of the elbow joint. There are many muscles surrounding the humerus bone: the biceps and brachialis muscles in the front and the triceps muscle in the back. There are also nerves, arteries, and veins going up and down along the bone. The lower end of the humerus bone is called the distal part, or “distal humerus.” The distal humerus has cartilage at the end of it, which is part of the upper part of the elbow joint. There is a large nerve on the inner side of the distal humerus and elbow, called the ulnar nerve. This is the nerve that causes pain and the feeling of pins and needles when you hit your “funny bone.”

WHAT IS A DISTAL HUMERUS FRACTURE OF THE ELBOW?

This fracture occurs when there is a break anywhere within the distal region (lower end) of the humerus. The bone can crack just slightly or break into many pieces (comminuted fracture). The broken pieces of bone may line up straight or be far out of place (displaced fracture). In some cases, the bone breaks in such a way that bone fragments stick out through the skin or a wound penetrates down to the bone. This is called an open fracture. Open fractures are particularly serious because once the skin is broken, infection in both the wound and the bone is more likely to occur.

Read more about Distal Humerus Fractures of the elbow on our new Orthopedic News Site – Colorado Orthopedic News. Schedule an appointment with an elbow specialist today.

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