ZocdocAnswersI fell on my long board, is my elbow broken?

Question

I fell on my long board, is my elbow broken?

Fell 4 days ago with a direct impact on right elbow. Since, there has been no swelling or noticable bruising but I can't put pressure on it directly. There also seems to be a small area that is tender and soft that is not present on the other elbow. Should I be concerned or is it probably just a bruise

Answer

I am sorry to hear about your elbow pain. It will not be possible to make an accurate assessment without performing a thorough physical exam, and it is possible you need an x-ray or other imaging studies of the joint. Therefore, I recommend you schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. After a detailed, in-person evaluation, this doctor can discuss the likely cause of your pain and potential treatment options. The elbow is a complex joint with multiple structures that can be injured and lead to pain. It is possible you suffered a fracture or partial fracture to one of the bones in the elbow, including the humerus, ulna, and radius. Treatment for this could include ice and oral pain medication, casting, or surgery, and I encourage you to discuss these possibilities with an orthopedic surgeon. There are several fluid filled sacs, called bursa, that cushion various parts of the elbow. Trauma to one of these can cause pain and swelling, which may be the case with you. There are also multiple tendons within the elbow joint that can become damaged, causing pain and swelling. It is not possible to determine the specific cause of pain in your cause without a physical exam, and I encourage you to discuss these possibilities with an orthopedic surgeon.

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