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A condyle is a rounded part of a bone that is usually located within a joint, and that articulates in conjunction with another bone. When this part of the bone is cracked from impact or twisting, a condyle fracture has occurred. This can happen in the elbow, knees, or other joints in the body in which condyles are present. Treating a condyle fracture usually starts with immobilizing the affected joint or bone to prevent further damage and to reduce pain. Initial treatment usually involves the RICE process, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
The patient should consult a doctor immediately following the injury, but it is important to properly immobilize the affected area before attempting to move the patient. Minor instances of a condyle fracture can be treated fairly easily, but more complicated fractures will require more intensive treatment, so it is best to attempt to prevent excess damage to the condyle. An x-ray will likely be necessary in order to properly diagnose the condyle fracture and to assess the seriousness of the injury. If no bone fragments are present, surgery can usually be avoided, but if any part of the bone has separated, a surgery may be necessary to remove that bone splinter and possibly other damaged tissues.
Minor to moderate condyle fractures will usually be treated with anti-inflammatory medications and immobilization. A doctor will likely apply a hard cast to keep the bone from moving during the healing process. This cast will protect the bone from further injury, prevent movement, and add compression that will stimulate blood flow, speeding up the healing process. Painkilling medications may also be prescribed, as a condyle fracture can be a fairly painful condition depending on the severity of the injury.
If surgery is necessary, the healing time will be prolonged, and it will be necessary to treat any open wounds left from the surgery. Infections can complicate the process, so the wound must be kept clean and dry at all times. Dressings should be changed regularly until the wound has healed properly, and like lesser fractures, the affected area will need to be immobilized for an extended period of time. Healing time can vary anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Once the injury has healed sufficiently, the patient will likely need to undergo physical rehabilitation to restore functionality and mobility to the affected area.
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