++

The elbow is a hinge joint composed of three articulations: humeroulnar, radiohumeral, and radioulnar. These articulations provide a high degree of inherent stability to the elbow and are supported by several ligamentous structures—the radial collateral, ulnar collateral, annular ligaments, and the anterior capsule (Fig. 14–1). The biceps, triceps, brachialis, brachioradialis, and anconeus provide muscular dynamic stability.

++

Elbow injuries are caused by a direct blow, valgus stress from throwing, or axial compression. Acute traumatic injuries may result in fractures to the radius and ulna or the distal humerus. With repetitive valgus stress, patients may develop chondromalacia, loose bodies in the posterior or lateral compartments, injury to the ulnar collateral ligament, injury of the flexor pronator muscle group, osteochondritis dissecans, or ulnar neuritis.1

++
Figure 14–1.
Graphic Jump LocationGraphic Jump Location

The important ligamentous structures of the elbow. The annular ligament holds the radial head in position. The radial collateral ligament is broader and blends with the annular ligament. A. Medial view. B. Lateral view.

++

The distal humerus is divided into two condyles (Fig. 14–2). The coronoid fossa is the area of very thin bone that serves as the surface of contact with the coronoid process of the olecranon when the elbow goes into full flexion. The articular surface of the medial condyle is called the trochlea. It serves as the articulating surface of the ulnar olecranon. The lateral articular surface of the distal humerus is the capitellum, which articulates with the radial head.

++
Figure 14–2.
Graphic Jump Location

The important landmarks of the distal humerus. The bone between the condyles is very thin.

++

The nonarticular portions of the condyles are called epicondyles, and serve as points of attachment for the muscles of the forearm—pronator-flexors attach to the medial epicondyle, while supinator-extensors attach to the lateral epicondyle. Just proximal to either epicondyle are the supracondylar ridges that also serve as points of attachment for the forearm muscles. The muscles surrounding the elbow impact fracture alignment (Figs. 14–3 and 14–4). With a fracture, continual traction by these muscles results in displacement of the fragments, and on occasion, nullification of an adequate reduction.

++
Figure 14–3.
Graphic Jump Location

The muscles surrounding the elbow. These muscles act to displace fractures occurring at their attachments. BR, brachioradialis; ECRL, extensor carpi radialis longus; CE, common extensor tendon; PT, pronator teres; CFT, common flexor tendon; BB, biceps brachia; T, triceps.

++
Figure 14–4.
Graphic Jump Location

The triceps and the biceps act to pull the radius and the ulna proximally and thus cause displacement of elbow fractures.

++

...

Want access to your institution's subscription?

Sign in to your MyAccess Account while you are actively authenticated on this website via your institution (you will be able to tell by looking in the top right corner of any page – if you see your institution’s name, you are authenticated). You will then be able to access your institute’s content/subscription for 90 days from any location, after which you must repeat this process for continued access.

Ok

About MyAccess

If your institution subscribes to this resource, and you don't have a MyAccess account, please contact your library's reference desk for information on how to gain access to this resource from off-campus.

Subscription Options

AccessEmergency Medicine Full Site: One-Year Subscription

Connect to the full suite of AccessEmergency Medicine content and resources including advanced 8th edition chapters of Tintinalli’s, high-quality procedural videos and images, interactive board review, an integrated drug database, and more.

$595 USD
Buy Now

Pay Per View: Timed Access to all of AccessEmergency Medicine

24 Hour Subscription $34.95

Buy Now

48 Hour Subscription $54.95

Buy Now

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.