Upper limb amputations are most commonly caused by accidents, infections, burns, tumors, disease, and/or birth conditions, with trauma and cancer being the lead causes. With a wrist disarticulation, the limb is amputated at the wrist, whereas with a forearm amputation (transradial), the amputation runs from the elbow to the wrist. These types of injuries can result from trying to block impact during a car accident or fall, or as the result of working with heavy machinery or under other dangerous conditions. Sometimes they result from infection or from other medical procedures.
Elbow dislocations and transhumeral amputations tend to result from catastrophic injuries, whereby the bones of the arm (humerus) or forearm (radius and ulna, forming the lower parts of the elbow) are dislocated. Approximately 20,000 to 30,000 people undergo amputations every year for one reason or another, and they can be complete or partial.
There are close to 2 million people in the United States living with a loss of a limb or extremity. Trauma from a car crash or workplace accident represent 45% of all amputations. (Source: Amputee Coalition). Motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents or a pedestrian being struck by a car, motorcycle or bike as well as workplace injuries and falls all may lead to an amputation. Below knee amputations are the most common amputation.
The arm is a very complicated structure and is capable of lifting and carrying great amounts of weight and bending in all types of directions. We rely heavily on our arms. Our arms play a major role in helping us perform some of our basic daily functions. They also allows us to swing a golf club, shoot a basketball and perform some of the many other activities that rely on the arms. The arm consists of three bones, two joints and several muscles, tendons and nerves. All these parts play an important role in helping the arm function. Without the proper care or treatment an injury to one area can result in complications that will affect to entire arm.
There are two types of dislocated elbows: a partial dislocation (subluxation) and a complete dislocation. A partial dislocation occurs when the ulna bone and or radius bone partially separates from the humerus and elbow joint. A complete dislocation occurs when the ulna bone and or radius bone completely separates from the humerus or elbow joint.
It might feel like there is only one bone in the forearm but there is two. The ulna and radius bones make up the forearm. The ulna and radius bones start at the wrist and run all the way up to the elbow. Both bones combine at the wrist to make the wrist joint and both extend to the elbow to form the elbow joint.
A biceps muscle will not grow back after it tears away from the forearm bone. Someone with a torn lower bicep will have to rely on other muscles to help stabilize the elbow, bend the arm and rotate the forearm. A torn lower biceps can result in a 30% reduction in elbow bending strength and a 40% reduction in forearm rotation strength. We rely heavily on our biceps and a lower biceps tear can have a serious impact on our day-to-day lives.
Ulnar nerve injuries are caused by trauma, the aging process and pressure. The most common cause of ulnar nerve injury is ulnar nerve entrapment. The ulnar nerve can get entrapped or compressed (impinged) on its way from the shoulder to the hand. Ulnar nerve entrapment or compression occurs most frequently at the elbow.
Radial head fractures are a common fracture and they account for approximately 20% of all elbow fracture injuries. People between ages of twenty and forty are most prone to this type of elbow fracture. Women are more likely to sustain a broken radial head.
This injury is so common because it is often associated with slip and fall accidents. Our instinct tells us to stick an arm or hand out in order to brace for a fall. Often times when we do this our elbow either sustains a direct impact or an indirect impact which occurs when the impact from a fall travels up the hand, to the forearm and into the elbow joint.
A broken distal humerus occurs when there is a fracture in the bottom end (distal region) of the humerus bone. This region is also known as the humeral head. A fractured distal humerus is a kind of elbow fracture. A fracture in one of the three bones that make-up the elbow joint will constitute an elbow fracture.