Olecranon Fractures

Olecranon fractures are an injury to the prominent bone of the elbow. The bone is actually the end of the ulna, one of the two forearm bones. A direct blow to the elbow, such as landing on the elbow in a fall or being struck by a hard object, can cause an olecranon fracture. An indirect fracture can result from a sudden contraction of the tricep, in which the muscle pulls the tip off the ulna. Symptoms of an olecranon fracture include pain, swelling, and inability to extend the elbow.

Symptoms

An olecranon fracture(or broken arm) typically causes sudden intense pain, tenderness, bruising, swelling and some deformity of the arm.  Inability to straighten the elbow may also occur.  Numbness in one or more fingers can also be experienced.

Diagnosis

These injuries typically occur due to a traumatic incident.  Dr. Louis will perform a thorough examination to evaluate and determine the extent of your arm injuries and conduct a complete review of your medical history.

He may also utilized diagnostic tools such as an MRI, X-ray or CT scan to confirm the extent of your condition.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the amount of displacement of the fracture fragments and how well the triceps muscle is working. In most cases, surgery is not necessary and limited motion and time will generally heal the fracture. When the bone fragments are out of position, or if the triceps muscle is detached, then surgery is usually necessary for treatment of an olecranon fracture. In this case, an incision is made over the back of the elbow joint, and the bone fragments are put into the proper location. Some combination of pins, wires, and/or screws may be used to secure the bone fragments in the proper position.