Elbow fractures usually involve a fall onto the outstretched arm or a direct trauma to the elbow. With elbow dislocations there may be associated nerve and/or blood vessel injuries. X-rays may show the fracture or dislocation but small breaks may be difficult to see.
Fractures are an emergency and immediate reduction (or placing the bones together to allow healing) is necessary. Bone breaks within the joint need special attention to ensure recovery of proper function of the joints.