An olecranon fracture is defined as damage in the bony protrusion felt beneath the skin of the elbow. The break might be simply a bend or small crack in the bone or it might shatter into several pieces. In some cases, the bone might break through the skin.
The usual causes of an olecranon fracture include a fall or sustaining a direct strike to the elbow. In some cases, the injury might also be due to a health condition that leads to the weakening or turning brittle of the bones.
What are the signs?
Generally, the indications of this injury include:
- Achiness, bruising, swelling or tenderness right after the injury
- Discomfort when the site of injury is touched
- Swelling or discomfort that prevents the individual from flexing or using the arm
- A site in the elbow or forearm is pale, cold or numb
- Deformed elbow
Management of an olecranon fracture
The treatment for an olecranon fracture is based on the seriousness of the injury:
- If an open wound is present, the treatment aims on controlling the bleeding or lowering the risk for infection.
- In case a small bony piece is broken at the endpoint of the bone, it is managed with a cast or splint. If a bigger part of the bone is damaged or the damage involves the joint, it requires surgery to fix the bone. The doctor will utilize screws or pins to keep the damaged bone in place.
- In case the bone is dislocated, it must be restored back into place. Medications are given first to make the procedure less painful.
- The arm might be placed under a sling, splint or cast to prevent movement as it recuperates. If a cast is placed, it should be kept dry always.
With proper treatment, the injury might take several months to fully heal. After some time, special exercises must be performed to strengthen the arm as well as keep it flexible.
Disclaimer / More Information
The information posted on this page on an olecranon fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how the injury is managed, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.