Complex Elbow Fracture

A Complex Elbow Fracture refers to any severe fracture in the elbow joint that involves multiple bone fragments or a fracture that disrupts the normal alignment of the elbow. This type of injury often results from significant trauma such as a fall from a height or a high-impact collision.


The symptoms of a Complex Elbow Fracture can vary depending on the extent of the injury. However, typical signs include:

  • Severe pain in the elbow region
  • Swelling and bruising around the elbow
  • Limited range of motion or inability to move the elbow
  • An obvious deformity in the shape of the elbow, especially if the fracture is severe


To diagnose a Complex Elbow Fracture, your doctor will likely perform the following:

  • Physical Examination: This involves assessing the affected area for pain, swelling, and range of motion.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays are the most common diagnostic tool for fractures, providing clear images of bone structure and alignment. For complex fractures, a CT scan may be necessary to get a more detailed view of the injury.


There are several strategies to help minimise the risk of a Complex Elbow Fracture:

  • Use appropriate protective gear when involved in high-risk activities like sports or heavy physical work.
  • Engage in regular strength training to build robust muscles that can support your joints.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight to reduce stress on your joints.


The treatment of a Complex Elbow Fracture usually involves one or more of the following:

  • Non-Surgical Treatment: If the fracture is not severe and the bones have not displaced, the doctor might recommend immobilisation with a cast or splint. Pain medication and physiotherapy can also help manage pain and restore function.
  • Surgery: In cases where the fracture is severe or the bones are displaced, surgery might be necessary. The surgeon may use plates, screws, or even a bone graft to stabilise the fracture and facilitate healing.
  • Physiotherapy: Regardless of whether treatment is surgical or not, physiotherapy is a crucial part of recovery. A physiotherapist will guide you through exercises designed to restore strength, flexibility, and function to your elbow.