A supracondylar fracture is defined as damage to the upper arm bone or humerus. Generally, this is a common form of injury among children. It is due to a fall on the elbow or direct strike to the joint.
Surgical intervention is not always necessary. Oftentimes, a hard cast is adequate to promote healing.
What are the indications?
Generally, the typical signs of this type of fracture include:
- Sudden, severe forearm and elbow pain
- Popping or snap-like sensation at the time of injury
- Swelling around the joint
- Hand numbness
- Lastly, inability to move or straighten the arm
Management of a supracondylar fracture
If a child has a supracondylar fracture, see a doctor right away or bring the child to the emergency department as soon as possible.
Overall, surgery is not necessary for a mild case and if there are no complications. In addition, the doctor places a splint or cast to immobilize the joint and allow it to naturally heal. Oftentimes, a splint allows the swelling to subside and the doctor places a full cast.
In some cases, restore the bone into position before application of a splint or cast. In such instances, the doctor provides the child with an anesthesia or sedation.
If the fracture is severe, it requires surgical intervention such as:
- Closed reduction with percutaneous pinning
- Open reduction with internal fixation
What is the outlook?
A supracondylar fracture is a common injury during childhood. If treatment is prompt, either with immobilization using a cast or surgery, the individual can fully recover.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on a supracondylar fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs of injury and how it is treated, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.