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Radial Head Fracture Hand Therapy

“Working with a knowledgeable hand therapist can make the difference between success and failure in complex hand surgical cases. The therapist extends the continuum of our care, as well as functioning as coach and trainer for our patients.”

Marybeth Ezaki, MD, Past President, American Society for Surgery of the Hand

In Phoenix Rehab, our senior hand therapists are experienced licensed and dedicated therapists (physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists) who specialized ONLY in the rehabilitation, treatment and management of painful fingers, hands, wrists, forearm & elbow conditions, because of interest, passion and expertise.

Our forearm is made up of two bones, the radius and the ulna, which serves to connect the elbow to the wrist.

Working together, these two bones allow for the forearm to turn the palm up and down and bend as well as to straighten the elbow.

When the portion of the radius bone closest to the elbow breaks, it is called a radial head fracture.

A radial head fracture is the most common elbow fracture in adults.

When its the part of the radius bone at the wrist that breaks, that's called

What are the causes of a radial head fracture?

A radial head fracture is usually caused by a fall on to the wrist or through a hit directly on the elbow.

High impact sports, falling from a great height and osteoporosis (low bone density) may make it more likely for the radial head to fracture.

What are the symptoms of a radial head fracture?

A fractured radial head may cause a decreased ability to move the forearm and elbow. There may also be

  • swelling
  • pain and
  • bruising in the elbow or forearm

At times, the elbow may have an abnormal appearance and numbness may be felt in the back of the hand and thumb.

What is the treatment for a radial head fracture?

X-ray of a radial head fracture after surgery

If a doctor suspects that the radial head is fractured, an X-ray of the elbow will be taken. Some fractures will require simple immobilization in a cast or orthosis (if it's a simple straight forward fracture and stable). 

If it is an unstable or complicated fracture, the doctor may decide that you require surgery to realign or replace the broken pieces of the bone.

What can a hand therapist do for me?

Our senior hand therapists works directly with a doctor to assist with treating a radial head fracture. A custom splint to support and protect the elbow may be made.

We will also educate the patient on how to

Example of a custom elbow orthosis for a radial head fracture

Patients may also receive the following hand therapy treatment modalities: