Most often a broken elbow is a crack or break in the part of the elbow called the olecranon. The olecranon is the bony tip that you feel directly under the skin of the elbow. It is at the end of the lower arm bone called the ulna.
A broken elbow usually happens from a fall or a direct hit to the elbow.
Symptoms may include:
Your provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and how the injury happened. He or she will examine you child. Your child will have X-rays of the elbow.
A child's bones are different from an adult’s bones in a couple ways. A child’s bones are more flexible and may crack rather than break. Or they may just buckle slightly. Also, the bones are still growing from areas near the ends of the bones called growth plates. A fracture in a growth plate may affect the growth of the bone but it may be hard to see with X-rays. Sometimes special tests are needed to diagnose fractures in the growth plate.
The treatment depends on the injury.
While it heals, the injured arm will be in a splint or cast. The injured arm may also need to be in a sling to keep it from moving while it heals.
Follow the full course of treatment your healthcare provider prescribes. Also:
Depending on the type of injury and how it was treated, your child may need to do special exercises to help the arm get stronger and more flexible. Most of the time preteen children are so active that their arm gets stronger and more flexible without physical therapy.
Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests. Call your healthcare provider if:
Children tend to heal faster than adults, but healing times are different from one person to the next. As a rule, most fractures heal in 4 to 6 weeks.
Many elbow injuries are caused by falls or blows that are not easy to prevent. Knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet can help prevent injuries during biking, rollerblading, or skateboarding.