Supracondylar fracture

Supracondylar fracture

Fact Checked

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
    Supracondylar fracture
    If a child is suspected with a supracondylar fracture, a doctor must be seen right away or bring the child to the emergency department as soon as possible.
  • 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.

Mild fracture

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.

Severe fracture

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.


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