Medial Epicondylar Fractures

Medial Epicondylar Fractures

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Medial Epicondylar Fractures

Arm

What is Medial Epicondylar Fractures?

Medial Epicondylar Fractures are a type of elbow fracture that occur when the medial epicondyle of the humerus (the bony protrusion on the inner part of the elbow) breaks. Medial epicondylar fractures account for about 5% of all elbow fractures and occur most frequently in young adults between ages 20 and 30.

The medial epicondyle is located on the inner side of your elbow, just above your wrist. The bone that makes up this protrusion is called the humerus, which is attached to your upper arm bone (humerus). The humerus carries blood vessels and nerves through its middle part, called the shaft.

What are the types of Medial Epicondylar Fractures?

There are two types of medial epicondylar fractures: acute and chronic.

  • Acute fractures are those that have happened recently (less than three weeks); —-Chronic fractures have occurred over a longer period of time (more than three weeks).
  • Acute medial epicondylar fractures can be subdivided into four categories: nondisplaced, minimally displaced, significantly displaced, or incarcerated in the joint.
  • Nondisplaced fractures are those that do not move out of position.
  • Minimally displaced fractures are those that have moved slightly but still remain in place.
  • Significantly displaced fractures are those that have moved more than minimally and require surgery to repair.
  • Incarcerated fractures are those that have moved out of place and become stuck within your joint—this can cause pain, swelling, and inflammation around your elbow.

What are the causes of Medial Epicondylar Fractures?

Medial epicondylar fractures are caused by the rupture of the medial collateral ligament. This ligament is located on the inside of the elbow and is responsible for stabilizing the joint during movement.

Medial epicondylar fractures are most commonly caused by a fall on an outstretched hand or by direct impact to the elbow.

Other causes include:

  • Inadequate protection while playing sports
  • Stress fracture in the bone surrounding the elbow joint (commonly known as tennis elbow)

What are the symptoms of Medial Epicondylar Fractures?

Medial epicondylar fractures are a type of elbow fracture. They occur when the medial epicondyle of the humerus (the bony point on the upper arm bone where tendons attach) is fractured.

When you have a medial epicondylar fracture, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Pain when touching or moving your elbow
  • Swelling in the elbow area
  • Tenderness over the medial epicondyle
  • A popping sound when you move your elbow
  • A sensation that something is caught in your elbow

What are the risk factors for Medial Epicondylar Fractures?

Medial epicondylar fractures are most common in young, active adults who participate in high-risk sports. The injury can occur when the arm is forcefully pulled or twisted while it is in a flexed position, such as when lifting weights or swimming.

The risk factors for medial epicondylar fractures include:

  • Participating in high-risk sports such as weight lifting, baseball, or basketball
  • Having previous injuries to the shoulder or elbow
  • Having osteoarthritis of the elbow (OA)

What is the physical therapy for Medial Epicondylar Fractures?

Physical therapy for medial epicondylar fractures focuses on decreasing pain and swelling, improving strength and flexibility in the injured arm, and ensuring proper alignment of the elbow joint.

Physical therapy may include:

  • Ice packs or cold compresses to reduce pain and swelling
  • Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the elbow joint (biceps) and forearm (forearm flexors)
  • Exercises to improve range of motion around the elbow joint

What are the complications of Medial Epicondylar Fractures?

Medial Epicondylar Fractures can be complicated by several conditions.

The most common complications involve the healing process. These include:

  • Stiffness in the joint, which may cause pain and make it difficult to use your hand
  • Malunion of the fracture, which may cause pain and limit mobility
  • Nonunion of the fracture, this is when the fragments are not united by new bone formation

Recommended Exercise

Arm

What are the treatments for Medial Epicondylar Fractures?

If you have a medial epicondylar fracture, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments:

  • Resting your arm in a sling for 3 weeks to 6 months.
  • Using a splint or brace to immobilize your elbow until it heals.
  • Physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles around your elbow and prevent similar injuries in the future.

Explanation of Recommended Orthotic Device

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What brace is used for Medial Epicondylar Fractures?

Medial Epicondylar Fractures can be treated with the Elbow Splint Immobilizer. This brace keeps your elbow at a 90-degree angle for 6 weeks, after which you will be able to wear it less frequently (or not at all).

This brace is made of soft fabric and has Velcro straps, so it’s easy to put on and take off. It also comes in different sizes so that you can find one that fits you comfortably.

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