Elbow injuries are common and acute elbow trauma accounts for 2-3% of all visits to the emergency department6.

It is important for the emergency physician to have a good knowledge of the elbow joint and to be aware of the common injuries that occur. Injuries are common, both in adults and children, but the fracture patterns in children tend to be different to the adult population due to the nature of the developing bones.

An ability to interpret elbow radiographs is important to detect what may often be subtle injuries. Paediatric radiographs, in particular, can be very difficult to interpret and are complicated further by the gradual appearance of multiple ossification centres during skeletal development.

This session aims to provide an introduction to the common acute traumatic injuries that occur around the elbow joint, and to provide the emergency physician with an understanding of the assessment and initial management of these injuries.

Learning bite

Elbow injuries are common in both adults and children although fracture patterns differ between the two populations.

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