Radial head fracture

Background

  • Most common fractures of the elbow, approximately 20% of elbow fractures
  • Caused by FOOSH in pronation leading to radial head being driven into the capitellum

Associated injuries (are common)

Clinical Features

  • Pain in the lateral elbow, especially with pronation/supination of forearm
  • Swelling laterally and tenderness of radial head

Differential Diagnosis

Elbow Diagnoses

Radiograph-Positive

Radiograph-Negative

Pediatric

Evaluation

Elbow X-ray

Fractures are often subtle

  • Look for abnormal fat pad
  • Look for radiocapitellar line disruption
  • Greenspan View X-Ray
    • If possible, lateral elbow is shot at 45 degrees to pick up subtle fractures

Management

  • Sling immobilization in flexion, ice, elevation
  • Nondisplaced fracture with no mobility restrictions: ortho follow up within 1wk
  • Displaced fracture or mobility restrictions: ortho follow up within 24hr

Disposition

  • Normally outpatient

See Also

References