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Avulsion fracture of the elbow

February 13th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Skeletal Injuries

Avulsion fracture happens when a ligament or tendon that is connected to a bone partially detaches by taking a bone fragment with it due to trauma or injury. These usually happen due to a strong contraction of the muscle. It develops at the ligament due to an external force to the body such as a fall or pulls at the tendon due to the contraction of muscles that is stronger than the force that is connecting the bones together.

In children, avulsion fracture usually happens in areas of the bone that is made up of cartilages. Among adults, the ligaments and tendons are first to be injured while in children, the bone will weaken before the ligament or tendon is damaged. Children have a weak part in their skeleton called the growth plate which is the area of the bone that is still actively growing. The tendons or ligaments that are near a growth plate can be pulled strongly enough to cause the growth plate to be fractured. These fractures are not serious and easily treated unless the fracture has tendon or ligament damage.

Symptoms

  • Discomfort on the affected area
  • There is swelling and inflammation
    Avulsion fracture

    Pain that is mild to severe and the intensity depends on the amount of damage caused

  • Pain that is mild to severe and the intensity depends on the amount of damage caused
  • Sensitivity of the affected area when touched
  • Difficulty in moving the affected area

Treatment

  • Take plenty of rest especially the affected elbow in order to help promote fast healing of the affected area as well as minimizing the use of elbow.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area to help lessen the swelling and inflammation for at least 20-30 minutes for every 3-4 hours every day. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin, wrap the ice pack or bag of frozen vegetable using a towel and place it on the affected area.
  • Stabilize the joint of the elbow by using a splint, cast or compression bandage in order to help minimize movement as well as making the condition worse.
  • Seek the help of a physical therapist for some exercises in order to help restore the full range of motion to the affected area.
  • Keep the affected area elevated above the level of the heart to help in preventing the swelling and minimizing the pain.
  • Drink 2-3 glasses of herbal tea every day such as ginger tea, basil tea and chamomile tea. These can help lessen pain and inflammation of the affected area.
  • Seek medical help for follow-up appointments in order to help in assessing the healing of the affected area. The severity of the damage and fracture will be determined whether there is a need for surgery. Severe avulsion fractures of the tendons and ligaments needs surgery and areas which are not stable. There might be a need for the placement of pins, rods, wires, screws or plates in order to help connect the bones together as well as repair the damaged tendon and ligaments by sewing both ends together.

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