The Olecranon is the tip of the elbow and is a bony prominence that extends from the ulna. Fractures of the olecranon can result from a direct blow to the elbow or landing directly on a bent elbow. Sometimes it is caused by a fall on an outstretched arm with the elbow locked, in these instances the triceps muscle pulls the olecranon off of the ulna.
Sudden, intense pain and swelling over the bony part of the elbow. An inability to straighten the elbow and numbness in one or more fingers. There may be bruising around the elbow and pain with any movement.
Non-surgical: If the bone fragments are in a good alignment it may only require a splint or sling to hold the elbow in place while it heals. After this period of immobility treatment with a physical therapist will help regain movement and strength in the elbow joint.
Surgical: Surgery is usually necessary if the bone fragments are out of place or if the fracture has broken the skin. The surgeon may need to use pins/wire, plates, screws or sutures (stitches) in the bone or tendons. Following surgery a splint or sling may be applied to the arm to help keep it in place while it is healing. Physical therapy will help regain the movement and strength following surgery.
Exercises are started following surgery although there are usually restrictions placed on lifting objects with the injured arm for at least six weeks. Recovering full strength can take up to 6 months with rehabilitation therapy.