Olecranon Fracture

Olecranon fracture

The olecranon process the the large bony prominence at the back of the elbow on the ulna forearm bone. It is usually fractured from a direct impact or fall onto a bent elbow.

Symptoms of an olecranon fracture

Sudden intense pain at the back of the elbow will be felt at the time of injury. The patient will in most cases be unable to straighten the elbow. Rapid swelling and bruising may start to appear. Trying to move the elbow will be painful and the back of the elbow will be very tender to touch.

An Olecranon fracture can also occur due to a forceful contraction of the Triceps muscle which attaches to it. This may happen when falling onto an outstretched hand, with the elbow bent.

Treatment

  • X-rays will be used to determine the extent of displacement of the fractured bone segment.
  • Pain medication and a sling may be used in the meantime.
  • If the fragment is not displaced the elbow is immobilised in a splint or cast to allow healing.
  • If the fragment is displaced, surgery may be performed to realign and fix the bone fragment.