Complications of an Elbow Fracture

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May 27, 2019
Edward Smith

Complications of an Elbow Fracture

A fracture of the elbow could result in serious complications. The elbow plays a vital role in the function of the arm. As one of the body’s hinge joints, the elbow provides the arm with a wide range of motion. Unfortunately, there are also many ways that an elbow fracture could occur. Some of the mechanisms include:

  • A fall on an outstretched hand
  • Direct trauma to the elbow itself
  • Damage to the elbow in a motor vehicle accident
  • A fall from a bicycle
  • A slip and fall injury on a wet floor or icy sidewalk

It is essential for everyone to understand a few of the most common complications of elbow fractures. Some of these complications could last a lifetime.

Damage to the Radial Artery Could Threaten the Hand

Numerous blood vessels run through the elbow. In an elbow fracture, one of the bone fragments could become displaced. This fragment could damage some of these blood vessels, such as the radial artery. The radial artery plays an important role in supplying blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the lower arm and hand. Some of the symptoms of radial artery damage include:

  • Paleness of the lower arm and hand
  • Numbness and tingling in the fingers
  • A loss of the pulse of the radial artery

Damage to the radial artery is detected using medical imaging. If the radial artery is found to be damaged, consultation with a trained surgeon is typically required. Emergency surgery could be needed to repair the damage radial artery or to graft a new one from a nearby vessel.

Nerve Damage in an Elbow Fracture Could Be Profound

At the elbow, several essential nerves cross on their way to their final destinations. Some of the nerves that live near the elbow include:

  • The radial nerve
  • The ulnar nerve
  • The median nerve
  • The interosseous nerves

All of these nerves play an important role in the structure and function of the lower arm and hand. If these nerves are compressed in a compartment syndrome injury, emergency surgery might be needed to release them. Some of the symptoms of elbow nerve damage include:

  • Numbness or tingling of the lower arm and hand
  • Chronic pain that develops in the hand and fingers
  • The inability to move one or more of the fingers
  • A loss in the range of motion of the arm

If surgery is not performed quickly, these nerves could suffer permanent damage.

Watch YouTube Video: Broken Elbow – Repairing Elbow Fractures. This video presents a Q&A session on elbow fractures with Dr. Khurram Pervaiz with the Howard County General Hospital in Maryland.

Contacting an Injury Lawyer

While injuries of the elbow might appear minor, numerous crucial structures run through the elbow. These injuries could lead to permanent complications that can lead to severe impacts on someone’s quality of life. Because of this, families need to ask for help. After seeking medical care, meet with a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento. Some of the resources that could be provided by an injury lawyer include:

  • Negotiating with financial institutions and insurance companies to help families maximize their benefits
  • Assisting families in seeking damages related to the accident, complications from the injury, and even pain and suffering
  • Moving a case to trial when required

Families should know that help is always available. They do not need to face this situation alone. Reach out and speak with a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. You might be owed a financial reward.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. If someone suffers a fracture of the elbow, this could lead to severe damage to the nerves and blood vessels, leading to permanent complications. If your loved one has sustained a serious fracture of the elbow, please give me a call at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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Image Attribution: The picture at the beginning of this article was found first on Pixabay and has been shown here with permission.

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