SynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyReferences
Capitellum fracture
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Capitellum fracture

Contributors: Dylan Greif MD, Stephanie E. Siegrist MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Causes / typical injury mechanism: Capitellum fracture most commonly occurs when an individual falls on an outstretched hand (FOOSH) with the elbow in a semiflexed position. It could also be caused by a direct blow to the lateral elbow while the elbow is flexed and the capitellum is more vulnerable to injury.

Classic history and presentation: The patient typically presents after a fall with pain and limited range of motion (ROM) of the elbow. Point tenderness and pain over the lateral elbow with passive rotation and an elbow effusion will be present. A gross deformity may be visible.

Prevalence: This is a rare injury, comprising 1%-2% of all elbow fractures.
  • Age – This is more common in individuals 12 years and older, with no distribution.
  • Sex / gender – There is a female predominance.
Risk factors: Female sex, due to increased carrying angle, greater prevalence of cubitus recurvatum, or osteoporosis.

Pathophysiology: A FOOSH while the elbow is partially flexed creates a shearing force from the radius across the capitellum, inducing a fracture.

Grade / classification system: Bryan and Morrey classification (with McKee modification).

Type I:
  • Large osseous piece of capitellum with or without trochlear involvement.
  • Most common.
Type II:
  • Shear fracture articular cartilage.
  • Articular cartilage separation with little subchondral bone attached.
Type III:
  • Severely comminuted, multifragmentary.
  • Commonly associated with radial head fractures.
Type IV (McKee addition):
  • Coronal shear fracture involving both capitellum and trochlea.


S42.453A – Displaced fracture of lateral condyle of unspecified humerus, initial encounter for closed fracture

208272001 – Closed fracture distal humerus, capitellum

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

To perform a comparison, select diagnoses from the classic differential

Subscription Required

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required


Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Reviewed:11/11/2023
Last Updated:11/21/2023
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Capitellum fracture
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.