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Radial head fractures



Picture of Radial head fractures
1 hour
Sports medicine
Publish Date
02 February 2016
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About this Course

Fractures of the radial head are common, they are seen in 20% of all acute elbow injuries and make up one-third of all elbow fractures.

These fractures typically occur after a fall when an axial load is applied to the forearm, causing the radial head to hit the capitulum of the humerus (fall onto the outstretched hand).

Radial head fractures are more common in females and occur most frequently between 30-40 years of age. Patients typically present with relatively localised pain and swelling around the lateral elbow.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the functional anatomy of the radial head.
  • Have an awareness of the typical mechanism of injury.
  • Be able to interpret X-ray studies of the elbow.
  • Understand the grading system used to define radial head fracture.
  • Be able to manage uncomplicated radial head fractures.
  • Know when to refer patients with radial head fractures for an orthopaedic opinion.


This content was created by Dr Helen Joyce Fulcher MBChB, DipPaed, PGCertHSc(Sports Med) in 2022.

Course Content

Radial head fractures Show activities
Radial head fractures
Radial head fractures Quiz