Olecranon Fracture

Olecranon Fracture – Diagnosis and Treatment

Fractures can occur anywhere in our body including hand, forearm, leg, hip, and even spine. All fractures are known specifically by their name as defined according to the fractured site. Now, when the fracture occurs in the elbow, it is known as “Olecranon fracture.” This is what we are going to talk about in this post.

What is Olecranon Fracture?

When the fracture occurs in the bone of the elbow with pointy projection, then it is known as olecranon fracture. The elbow joint comprises three bones including the humerus, ulna, and radius. These bones are held together with the help of tendons, ligaments, and muscles. This joint plays a key role in the movement of the forearm like bending and straightening.

Olecranon fracture is known to be common and is a type of isolated fracture. In this fracture, the pointy bone comes out when the arm is bent and that generally occurs at the end of the ulna. Elbow fracture can also be a part of a more serious or complex injury. In the surgical treatment of these fractures, special structures known as orthopedic implants like Bone Screws, Olecranon Locking Plates, and K-Wires may be used.

Causes of Olecranon Fracture

These types of fractures can be intra-articular or extra-articular, whereas extra-articular olecranon fractures are not common. The most common cause of extra-articular fracture is triceps avulsion injury. When it comes to their treatment, such fractures can be fixed without surgery.

Intra-articular olecranon fractures are more common when compared to extra-articular fractures. The most common cause for olecranon fractures is by either direct or indirect blow on the elbow. This could occur when someone falls directly on the elbow or gets impacted by a solid object. Thus, elbow fracture can occur during contact sports like cricket and also during automobile accidents.

Symptoms of Olecranon Fracture

Pain and difficulty in the movement of the elbow are the two symptoms that can be noticed right after the injury. Here are some of the other symptoms that may be noticed as well:

  • Pain in the elbow
  • Inability or difficulty in bending the elbow joint
  • Swelling in the elbow along with bruising
  • Deformity

To visualize the fracture, the doctor will suggest an X-ray after doing the physical examination. In most cases, X-ray examination tells the site of the fracture and the doctor can decide the best treatment method, but in certain cases, MRI may also be suggested.

The Treatment

The treatment of olecranon fracture will depend upon the seriousness of the injury and based on that, the doctor will decide whether to go for surgical or non-surgical treatment.

Non-surgical treatment

In most cases, the orthopedists will suggest the application of a splint or sling to restrict the elbow movement while it heals properly. After application of a splint, the orthopedist will examine the progress with periodic X-ray examination. In case of non-displaced fractures, the patient may be allowed to move the elbow slightly after 2-3 weeks with a physical therapist’s assistance.

Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment is the best choice in case of displaced or open fractures. During surgery, an incision is made at the back of the elbow. This will give complete access to the fracture to the surgeon. Application of implants like wires, pins, and Locking Plates and Screws may be done to hold fractured bone fragments in their correct anatomical position.

Siora Surgicals is the best Orthopedic Instruments & Implants manufacturer in India that supplies its products globally to its hundreds of clients.

One of the best things about surgery is that the patient can start moving its elbow gently right after the surgery. But this should be done under the guidance of a physical therapist.

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