Elbow Fractures

Clin Sports Med. 2020 Jul;39(3):623-636. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2020.03.002.


The elbow joint consists of the humeroulnar, humeroradial, and proximal radioulnar joints. Elbow stability is maintained by a combination of static and dynamic constraints. Elbow fractures are challenging to treat because the articular surfaces must be restored perfectly and associated soft tissue injuries must be recognized and appropriately managed. Most elbow fractures are best treated operatively with restoration of normal bony anatomy and rigid internal fixation and repair and/or reconstruction of the collateral ligaments. Advanced imaging, improved understanding of the complex anatomy of the elbow joint, and improved fixation techniques have contributed to improved elbow fracture outcomes.

Keywords: Elbow dislocation; Elbow fracture; Olecranon fracture; Olecranon osteotomy; Open reduction and internal fixation; Radial head fracture; Terrible triad.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Plates
  • Collateral Ligaments / injuries
  • Collateral Ligaments / surgery
  • Elbow Injuries*
  • Elbow Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Elbow Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Elbow Joint / surgery
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal* / instrumentation
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal* / methods
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Humeral Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Humeral Fractures / surgery
  • Olecranon Process / injuries
  • Olecranon Process / surgery
  • Open Fracture Reduction* / instrumentation
  • Open Fracture Reduction* / methods
  • Osteotomy
  • Radius Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Radius Fractures / surgery
  • Ulna Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Ulna Fractures / surgery