Radial Neck Fracture Diagnosis Treatment and Management

The word fracture describes breakage of a normal bone tissue. A fracture can happen in any bone in the body. Fracture will not happen to everyone. It happens only when the bones are weak or when a very high load of work given to the bone tissues.

Among the various bone fractures in the human body, the radial neck fracture is a common one. Mostly the radial neck fracture happens with the school going children.

Radial Neck FractureAssociated Injuries:

At times the radial neck fracture also associate with certain other injuries like olecranon fracture, medical epicondyle fracture, lateral epicondyle fracture, proximal ulna fracture, rupture of the surrounding collateral ligaments, dislocation of the elbow, etc.


The major reason or cause as well as the mechanism of action for the radial neck fracture is as follows:

A sudden fall on an outstretched hand with the elbow straight and the forearm supinated is the major cause in most of the radial neck fracture cases. The resulting excessive unwanted force compresses the capitellum against the head of the radius. This causes immediate breakage in the radial neck which most of the time present associated with posterior dislocation of the elbow joint.

Stages & Gradings:

The radial neck fracture will be staged according to the amount of angulation happened immediately after the fracture. Normally the radial neck fracture will be staged as,

  • Mild (zero degree to 30 degrees),
  • Moderate ( 30 degree to 60 degrees), and
  • Severe (above 60 degrees)

The radial neck fracture will also be graded as follows:

  • Grade 1 (zero degree),
  • Grade 2 (<30 degree),
  • Grade 3 (30 degree to 60 degrees),
  • Grade 4 (60 degree to 80 degrees), and
  • Grade 5 (80 degree to 90 degrees)

Diagnosis and Management of Radial Neck Fracture:

The basic diagnosis for finding out the radial neck fracture is palpating the affected part and observing. If the physical examination failed to diagnose properly then try to take a simple radiographic test which will explain you completely and thoroughly.

Depends on the grade and stage of the radial neck fracture, the aim of management will be decided. The initial procedure carried out after the diagnosis of radial neck fracture is the placement of the joint and bones in the correct position.

Followed by the placement of bone position, either plaster of Paris (POP) will be applied or a tight splint will be added to the particular area. Proper calcium supplementation will added to the aim of management and the person should take proper care to the particular limb without any movements for at least 45 days duration. This form of management will surely help in the proper bone healing process and scar as well as callus formation.

Once the plaster or splint has been removed, the post fracture rehabilitation procedures will be started where the most important play of physiotherapy will come. Passive movements and assisted training programs help in fast recovery from the radial neck fracture. Proper rest and perfect physiotherapy rehabilitation together will help in effective recovery from the radial neck fracture.

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