Fractures about the elbow more frequently cause permanent disability with a greater degree of impairment in function than do those of any other joint. In a large measure this is due to improper and inefficient treatment; but, even after the most careful and intelligent management by expert surgeons, permanent disability is not uncommon.
Such poor results are common in the elbow because of its complicated mechanical arrangement and function. The elbow is in reality a double joint having two distinct articulations and performing two separate motions. The joint surfaces are intricately fashioned and closely coaptated; therefore, minor disturbances in their relationship may seriously impair function.
Injuries to the cartilaginous surfaces are much more frequently present than is demonstrated by the roentgenogram. In consequence, traumatic arthritis is a frequent complication and often seriously impairs an otherwise excellent result.
Incident injury to the periarticular structures, such as the muscles, tendons, nerves and