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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone trauma and fractures

Question: Falling on elbow, is it broken?

 camiecm96 - Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:20 pm

My son fell on his elbow (several times) during his basketball game today. This happens from time to time, and we usually have no problems, however, today, he hit it hard, and kept grabbing at it throughout the game. On our way home, it looked as if his elbow was more "pointed" than normal. Not quite a "bump", but, definately more pronounced than his other elbow. He did mention some tingling in his forearm in one certain spot. There is a small scrape, but, nowhere near where the "point" is. Maybe a little bit of swelling, but, not much. I have put ice on it, and I have noticed he will lean (or put body weight) onto that elbow. It really doesnt seem too significant. However, he has football practice (which Im sure includes lifting weights) in the morning. Should I keep him out? Should I have it looked at? Or am I being overprotective? From what I have read online, it seems similar to an Olecranon fracture, but, then again...I could keep searching the web and have him diagnosed with all kinds of things! There is NOT that much swelling or brusining yet, just the "point" and a little swelling onthe back of his arm above the elbow Any help is appreciated.
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:17 am

User avatar Hi,
Fractures of the olecranon process of the ulna occurs due to the following mechanisms.

- fall onto an outstretched hand with the wrist in a supine position and elbow semiflexed.This is an indirect injury as a result of sudden forcible contraction of the triceps muscle which is inserted into the olecranon.
- Direct trauma (fall directly onto the point of a flexed elbow).

They are classified broadly as
- stable &
- unstable fractures.

These fractures are
- usually very painful and therefore the patient invariably pays a visit to the emergency department.
-elbow movement is very painful and restricted.

They are straightforward fractures to suspect clinically, diagnose radiologically & treat with good outcomes.

Although your description of the symptomatology does not fit very well with that of an olecranon fracture, you must have him examined by an orthopedic surgeon fairly quickly.Occasionally, Olecranon stress fractures in young athletes occur with minimal stress.This possibility must be excluded in your son's case.
Good day!

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