Lateral Epicondyle Fracture of the Humerus
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney. There are many different bones that make up the arm and every one of these bones could be injured in an car accident. One of the injuries that people can sustain is called a lateral epicondyle fracture of the humerus.
What is a Lateral Epicondyle Fracture of the Humerus?
The humerus is the long, thick bone that makes up the upper arm. It can be broken in several different locations, such as a humerus shaft fracture; however, the humerus extends into the elbow by virtue of two knob-like projections called epicondyles. The projection on the outside of the arm is called the lateral epicondyle. A fracture in this epicondyle is called a lateral epicondyle fracture of the humerus.
How is this Fracture caused?
There are two ways that this fracture can develop. A relatively common injury in children, along with pediatric wrist and hand fractures, this fracture can develop in children when the arm is extended suddenly and without warning, possibly indicating a pathologic fracture. The sudden traction on the muscles can cause an avulsion fracture in the epicondyle. In adults, this fracture develops when serious direct trauma is dealt to the lateral epicondyle, such as that seen in a drunk driving accident.
Options for Treatment
Many of these fractures are relatively minor. Some patients may not even require a cast as a simple splint for a few weeks is enough to encourage healing. If the fracture is displaced, surgical treatment could be required to place the bones into proper alignment.
Complications of a Lateral Epicondyle Fracture
The complications of a lateral epicondyle fracture can develop when surgery is required. If surgery is required, there is a risk of an infection at the surgical site. This can lead to an infection of the bone called osteomyelitis which could require antibiotic treatment. If this infection occurs, most people make a full recovery. Some patients could wind up with neuropathic pain if there is nerve damage involved.
Other Structures are Vulnerable
The most important structure that is at risk in a lateral epicondyle fracture is the radial head. The radius is one of two bones, along with the ulna, that constitute the wrist. A fracture of the lateral epicondyle could displace the bone and impact the radial head, leading to a subsequent fracture.
Other possible injuries include:
- Distal Humerus Fracture
- Radius or Ulna Shaft Fracture
- Elbow Dislocation
- Humerus Shaft Fracture
Prognosis of a Lateral Epicondyle Fracture
Most of these fractures do not have any impact on the growth plates of children, removing a serious complication from the differential. The vast majority of fractures will heal without any issues
Indications for Surgery
If the fracture is displaced, it will require surgery to place the bones back into proper alignment. Similar to other fractures, plates and screws could be involved. Early mobilization after the injury is important to ensure that patients regain proper movement without the worry of chronic pain. Physical therapy may be important to help make this prognosis a reality.
Sacramento Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney. Fractures are common injuries in car accidents and anyone who has suffered a traumatic injury should contact me at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. My toll-free line is also an option at (800) 404-5400.
I have been inducted into the California Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Our group represents some of the best trial lawyers in the United States. We have fought for and won cases valued at more than 1 Million Dollars.
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Image: Sacramento personal injury attorney, Edward A. Smith