Your elbow is a joint made up of three bones: The elbow joint bends and straightens like a hinge. Check your pulse at the wrist to ensure that there is good blood flow to your hand and fingers. A feeling of instability in the joint, as if your elbow is going to "pop out", In rare cases, the fractured bone may stick out of the skin (open fracture). Fortunately, the loss of a few degrees of straightening does not usually affect the overall function of the arm. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Total elbow replacement (arthroplasty). J Bone Joint Surg Am 1997; 79(6): 826-832. from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Receiving a direct blow to the elbow from something hard, like a baseball bat or a dashboard or car door during a vehicle collision. Accessed Oct 2016. About OrthoInfo Editorial Board  Our Contributors   Our Subspecialty Partners  Contact Us, Privacy Policy  Terms & Conditions   Linking Policy   AAOS Newsroom  Find an Orthopaedist. In some cases, however, open fractures will require more than one surgery. Most patients can return to their normal activities within about 6 months, although full healing can take up to 2 years. Most patients will begin exercises to improve elbow and forearm motion shortly after surgery, sometimes as early as the next day. There is a minor risk of damage to nerves and blood vessels around the elbow. This is called heterotopic ossification. When this happens, bone grows where it should not be and can block movement of the elbow. When can I remove the recon plates for an intercondylar humerus fracture with wound problems? Posttraumatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that develops after an injury. Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Conditioning Program. Infections can also slow or prevent healing. The fracture may pull apart and the screws, plates, or wires may shift or break. What physical exam finding would be expected with this nerve injury? Copyright ©1995-2020 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. distal humeral fracture . (Right) This x-ray shows a distal humerus fracture that is severely out of place (displaced). For example, you will not be allowed to lift, push, or pull anything that weighs more than 5 pounds with your injured arm for the rest of your life. Tested Concept, Loss of sensation over palmar aspect of thumb, Loss of sensation over dorsal hand first webspace, Inability to flex thumb interphalangeal joint, (OBQ05.204) The patient has a health problem, such as diabetes, that slows healing. It can occur shortly after the fracture occurs or may take years to develop. Because of this, the procedure is typically reserved for patients who are older and do not have to lift heavy objects. This could indicate other broken bones or injuries, such as a dislocated elbow. Damage to nerves and blood vessels. Although the patient will lose the ability to bend his or her elbow after fusion, he or she will maintain the ability to rotate the hand and will regain a strong elbow joint. It is also important for rotation of the forearm; that is, the ability to turn your hand palm up (like accepting change from a cashier) or palm down (like typing or playing the piano). A new deficit of the anterior interosseous nerve is now noted in the recovery room. Open reduction and internal fixation. Tested Concept, Heterotopic ossification excision with release of the posterior band of the ulnar collateral ligament, Heterotopic ossification excision with release of the anterior band of the ulnar collateral ligament, (OBQ12.227)