Avulsion fracture of the medial epicondyle is when the tendon comes away from the bone and can take part of the bone with it. This elbow injury is more common in children with symptoms similar to a sprain. These can include elbow pain, swelling and reduced ability to move the arm. Read more on avulsion fractures, their symptoms and how to treat them.
Avulsion fracture symptoms
Symptoms of an avulsion fracture are very similar to a sprain and it is very difficult to tell the difference without an X-ray or MRI scan. There will be pain immediately after the injury occurs with immediate swelling. Bruising may develop later and the athlete will most likely have difficulty moving the elbow and gripping things. This type of injury is often more common in children.
Avulsion fracture explained
Avulsion fractures can occur anywhere in the body, usually at joints. The ankle is one of the most common places for it to happen. When the joint is sprained or twisted, a force is passed through the ligaments and tendons usually on the outside of the elbow.
One of two things can then happen, either the ligament or tendon tears or the ligament or tendon pulls so hard on its bony attachment, that it pulls a small piece of bone off. This is known as an avulsion fracture. This is why it is always important to get an x-ray following a moderate to a severe elbow injury.
Although treatment is often the same whether there is an avulsion fracture or just a sprain, it may depend on the severity of the fracture and also its alignment. Children are also more likely to be offered an alternative treatment for a fracture as otherwise, this could affect their skeletal growth.
More severe avulsion fractures or fractures in children may require casting for 6-8 weeks to allow the bone to heal. Following this, a period of rehabilitation will be required to ensure that full strength and mobility are regained.