A very common fracture found in children, a medial epicondyle fracture is found in the elbow. It can be very painful and it’s commonly seen in boys from ages 9 to 14.
When you or one of your children is dealing with elbow pain, Dr. John Andrachuk can help. With many years of experience treating many types of injuries, including medial epicondyle fractures, Dr. Andrachuk provides the right Orthopedic Sports Medicine surgeon in Atlanta for your family.
What are Medial Epicondyle Fractures?
An injury often found in children, a medial epicondyle fracture happens in the elbow. It’s an injury affecting the flexors of the forearm and where they attach to the elbow. While the injury is commonly extra-articular, it can be associated with a dislocated elbow, as well.
Medial Epicondyle Fractures Symptoms
Symptoms of a medial epicondyle fracture include:
- Pain in the elbow or forearm
- A decrease in range of motion
- Swelling around the elbow
- Skin discoloration
When a child suffers a medial epicondyle fracture, they will likely be in severe pain and will not be able to fully move their arm. They could struggle to make a fist, as well.
Most Common Causes of Medial Epicondyle Fractures
About 10% of all elbow fractures in children are medial epicondyle fractures. It’s a very common type of fracture, usually caused by athletic activity.
Medial epicondyle fractures are avulsion or pull-off injuries caused by valgus stress at the elbow. When the flexor muscles contract, the injury happens. During contact sports, children may end up with a medial epicondyle fracture.
It’s common for this type of elbow fracture to be associated with an elbow dislocation. About half the medial epicondyle fractures happen with a dislocated elbow.
How Medial Epicondyle Fractures are Diagnosed
Most doctors will begin with a physical exam of the elbow. They may also ask some questions about medical history. However, the most common way to diagnose a medial epicondyle fracture is through an X-ray.
An X-ray will allow the doctor to see if a medial epicondyle fracture has occurred. This will also help to diagnose any other issues, such as elbow dislocation.
Medial Epicondyle Fractures Treatment
Both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options are available for medial epicondyle fractures. Even though it’s a fracture, there is still the possibility of using immobilization instead of surgery to fix the fracture.
When immobilization is used, it will involve a long arm cast and the elbow will be flexed at 90 degrees. Nonsurgical treatment is often used for the non-dominate arm, younger children, and less active children.
Types of Medial Epicondyle Fracture Surgery
Surgical treatment is used for medial epicondyle fractures in children more than eight years of age. It’s also common for more active children and when it’s the child’s dominant arm.
Surgery will also be used when the fracture is present with an elbow dislocation or the displacement is more than 10 mm. Some other circumstances may call for a surgical treatment instead of a nonsurgical option.
Surgical treatments for a medial epicondyle fracture may include Kushner wires or cannulated screws.
Medial Epicondyle Fracture Surgery Recovery Time
The recovery time for a medial epicondyle fracture varies, depending on the patient. With nonsurgical treatment, immobilization will last one to three weeks. A surgical treatment option will likely have the patient in a cast for three to four weeks.
Some physical therapy may also be necessary, but children heal differently than adults. Most children won’t need much physical therapy to get back to normal activities after nonsurgical or surgical treatment.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
With many years of experience treating medial epicondyle fractures, Dr. Andrachuk has helped many children heal from elbow injuries. If your child has suffered an injury to their elbow, it’s time to seek medical help. Dr. Andrachuk provides both non-surgical and surgical treatment options to help get your child back to normal. Contact us today and schedule your in-person or telemedicine appointment!