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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
The treatments for broken elbows in children depend on the location and severity of the fracture as well as the child's age and overall health.
In most cases, broken elbows in children are treated with a splint or cast, which immobilizes the injured bone(s) to promote healing and reduce pain and swelling. Splints and casts may also be put on after surgical procedures to ensure that the bone is protected and in the proper alignment as it begins to heal.
Splints are used for minor breaks. Splints support the broken bone on one side and immobilize the injured area to promote bone alignment and healing. Splints are often used in emergency situations to hold a joint in a steady position during transportation to a medical facility.
Casts are stronger than splints and provide more protection to the injured area. They hold a broken bone in place while it heals by immobilizing the area above and below the joint. Casts have two layers: a soft inside layer that rests against the skin and a hard outer layer that prevents the injured bone from moving.
Some common types of casting for broken elbows include:
Long arm cast
Applied from the upper arm to the hand
Upper arm, elbow or forearm fractures; also used to hold the arm or elbow muscles and tendons in place after surgery
Arm cylinder cast
Applied from the upper arm to the wrist
To hold the elbow muscles and tendons in place after a dislocation or surgery
May be needed to put broken bones back into place. A surgeon may insert metal rods or pins located inside the bone (internal fixation) or outside the body (external fixation) to hold bone fragments in place to allow alignment and healing. This is done under general anesthesia.
Corrects broken or dislocated bones by using a gentle and steady pulling motion in a specific direction to stretch muscles and tendons around the broken bone. This allows the bone ends to align and heal, and in some cases, it reduces painful muscle spasms.
A nonsurgical procedure used to reduce and set the fracture. Using an anesthetic (typically given through an IV in the arm), the doctor realigns the bone fragments from outside the body and holds it in place with a cast or splint.
May be needed to strengthen the arm, restore range of motion and help the arm return to full function after treatment and/or casting.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”