UMEM Educational Pearls


30 year-old female with elbow pain following a fall. What's the diagnosis? (bonus points if you name the fracture with an associated radio-ulnar joint dislocation)


Radial Head Fracture           


  • Typically secondary to fall on an outstretched hand; head of radius collides axially with capitulum of humerus
  • Most common type of adult elbow fracture; radial neck fractures more common in children; 
  • Must be on the lookout for the Essex-Lopresti fracture (bonus answer)
    • Radial head fracture + dislocation of the radio-ulnar joint (typically disruption of interosseous membrane
    • Repair early (typically ORIF) otherwise there may be loss of forearm extension, pronation, and supination
    • Look for distal radio-ulnar tenderness / instability by grabbing distal radius and ulnar and moving in opposite directions (see video below)





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