Elbow fractures can equally occur in any of the elbow’s three elements - the
inferior end of the humerus, the olecranon and the radial head - and can be total
or partial and, in some cases, accompanied by vascular or nerve injuries with
the presence of anterior linear ecchymosis, increased volume of the elbow and
full functional disability. These are fractures that can therefore have serious
complications, irreducibility, instability, open fractures, etc., making their evolution
highly variable due to their complexity and extensive variability of fracture types.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of fracture or dislocation-fracture, whether
it has occurred by direct or indirect mechanism, whether the elbow was in flexion
or extension or whether the impact was directly on the elbow. These aspects
determine the type of fracture, which can be comminuted, open, etc., and the
location of the action of the muscles at the time of the fracture is of great
importance, due to the tension-traction exerted. Reparatory surgery is required
in many cases to obtain good reduction. In any of the cases, pain, functional
disability, oedema and ecchymosis, as well as other symptoms, indicate the
presence of an elbow fracture.
The use of orthoses as a conservative treatment can complement reparatory
surgery and rehabilitation in the postoperative period. Featuring mechanical joints
with systems to control and adjust flexion and extension, they enable the elbow
to be immobilised for the first two weeks in a certain position and subsequently
allow mobilisation, while acting as a fracture protection and stabilisation system.
In the case of comminuted fractures, before initiating early mobilisation or
rehabilitation, orthoses can prevent pain, articular stiffness and possible muscle
atrophy, and allow early active or passive mobilisation of the elbow joint.