Radial head fracture is a fracture in the elbow, often resulting from a fall onto an outstretched hand. The nature of a fracture needs to be assessed with at least an x- ray. If a radial head fracture is not displaced and not complex, it is often immobilised in a sling as immobilisation in a cast can lead to an elbow extension deficit. Complex fractures that are displaced, comminuted or associated with a dislocation may require surgery.


Fractures in kids generally take 4- 6 weeks to heal and fractures in adults generally take 6- 8 weeks to heal.


What is the usual mechanism of injury?

  • Fall onto an outstretched hand


Signs and symptoms of a fracture

  • Pain on palpation of the bone
  • Night pain may be present
  • Swelling may be present
  • Movement and use of the elbow is restricted and painful
  • Fat pad swelling may be present in front of the elbow joint


How can Physiotherapy help?

Your Physiotherapist will be able to:

  • Provide advice and guidance surrounding immobilisation
  • Provide manual therapy to reduce pain, tightness and improve movement
  • Guide you through strengthening exercises to improve the capacity, endurance and strength of the muscles around the elbow to help return to normal daily activity and sport