We need you! See something you could improve? Make an edit and help improve WikSM for everyone.

Proximal Radius Fracture

From WikiSM
(Redirected from Radial Head Fracture)
Jump to: navigation, search

Other Names

  • Radial Head Fracture
  • Radial Neck Fracture


  • This page describes all proximal Radius fractures, including Radial Head and radial neck



  • Most common forearm/ elbow injury in adults, representing about 33% (need citation)
  • Radial head fractures represent up to 4% of all fractures[1]



  • Trauma almost universally
  • Fall on outstretched hand (FOOSH) injury
  • Elbow typically in extension or hyperextension, forearm pronated
  • Force vector transmitted down Humerus, through condyles into radial head

Associated Injuries


Risk Factors

  • Female > Male

Differential Diagnosis

Differential Diagnosis Elbow Pain

Differential Diagnosis Forearm Pain

Clinical Features

  • History
    • Patient should describe mechanism
    • Will report pain, swelling
    • Inability to fully extend elbow
  • Physical Exam: Physical Exam Elbow
    • Tenderness along the radial head
    • Diminished range of motion due to effusion or mechanical block from osseous fragment
  • Special tests


Nondisplaced radial head fracture with posterior fat pad sign



  • Useful to better characterize fracture, especially complex or comminuted


Mason Classification of Radial Head Fractures

Type Description
Type I Nondisplaced or minimally displaced (<2 mm), no mechanical block to rotation
Type II Displaced >2 mm or angulated, possible mechanical block to forearm rotation
Type III Comminuted and displaced, mechanical block to motion
Type IV Radial head fracture with associated elbow dislocation


Radial Head Fractures


  • Indications: Mason Type I, minimally displaced with no mechanical symptoms
  • Immobilization for a short period followed by early mobilization


  • Indications[2]
    • Mason Type II with mechanical block
    • Mason Type III
    • Complex injuries
  • Procedure
    • Fragment excision
    • Radial head resection
    • Radial head arthroplasty
    • Nail reduction

Radial Neck Fractures


  • Mostly non displaced and managed conservatively
  • Immobilization: Long Arm Cast


  • Indications: Transverse fracture with fragment displacement

Rehab and Return to Play


  • Depends on injury
  • Mason type I can likely begin range of motion and therapy early at 2-4 weeks

Return to Play/ Work

Complications and Prognosis

  • Radiocapitellar joint arthritis
  • Fragment displacement
  • Chronic pain
  • Elbow stiffness/ loss of motion
  • Decreased pronation/supination

See Also


  1. Morey B. The Elbow and Its Disorders, 3rd ed, Saunders, Philadelphia 2000.
  2. https://www.orthobullets.com/trauma/1019/radial-head-fractures
Created by:
John Kiel on 4 July 2019 07:11:27
Last edited:
17 August 2021 23:59:03
Trauma | Elbow | Forearm | Upper Extremity | Fractures | Acute