Distal Humerus Fracture

A Distal Humerus Fracture is an injury that occurs when the lower part of the humerus (the bone that extends from the shoulder to the elbow) breaks. This type of fracture is uncommon, often resulting from a direct blow to the elbow or a fall onto an outstretched hand.

Symptoms

When a Distal Humerus Fracture occurs, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain and tenderness in the elbow
  • Swelling and bruising around the elbow
  • Difficulty bending or straightening the elbow
  • A feeling of instability in the elbow
  • An obvious deformity, if the fracture is severe

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of a Distal Humerus Fracture typically involves:

  • Physical Examination: Your doctor will examine your elbow, checking for pain, swelling, and the range of motion.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays are typically used to assess the extent of the fracture. In certain cases, a CT scan may be required to provide more detailed images of the elbow joint.

Prevention

While it is not always possible to prevent accidents leading to a Distal Humerus Fracture, certain measures can help reduce the risk:

  • Use protective equipment when engaging in physical activities
  • Strength training exercises to build strong muscles around your joints
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight

Treatment Options

Treatment for a Distal Humerus Fracture depends on the severity and location of the fracture:

  • Non-surgical Treatment: This includes immobilisation using a cast or splint. Pain medication and physiotherapy exercises may be recommended to relieve pain and restore joint mobility.
  • Surgery: If the fracture is severe or if the bones have shifted out of place, surgery may be required. This can involve using plates and screws to hold the bones together until they heal.
  • Physiotherapy: After treatment – surgical or non-surgical – physiotherapy is recommended to aid in the recovery of full joint function. This can include exercises to improve strength and flexibility.