Olecranon Fracture Reduction: A Case Study of an Olecranon Fracture Fixation in a Recreational Cyclist

Student Author(s)

Kjersten McKinniss

Faculty Mentor(s)

Margaret Frens MS, AT, ATC, Kinesiology, Timothy Koberna MA, AT, ATC

Document Type


Event Date



The elbow is made up of three bones, the radius, ulna, and humerus. The bony prominence on the back of the elbow is the olecranon process. This olecranon is needed to stop the arm from extending backward. Fractures to the olecranon process of the elbow account for approximately 10% of all adult upper extremity fractures. These fractures are most often seen in active and elderly populations resulting from high-energy trauma or low-energy falls, respectively. In those living an active lifestyle this can be a debilitating injury potentially leading to less range of motion. This alone can inhibit athletes in the functional movement required for sport as well as daily activities such as pulling a door or picking up a backpack. A 27-year old female recreational cyclist was participating in a 28-mile road race. The athlete was racing at 32 miles an hour when her front tire was struck on the left side, sending her body and the bicycle to the right. She was triaged by a first aid responder and taken to the nearest hospital for further trauma consultation. At the hospital, she had x-rays and was immediately sent to the nearest university hospital. The patient was treated for a comminuted, displaced, stable olecranon fracture of the elbow with 2 plates and 7 screws as well as severe road abrasions. The two main types of olecranon fracture classifications are Shatzker and Mayo. These aid in describing the type of fracture pattern and stability present in the compromised joint. Most fractures are treated surgically through an internal fixation. This method yields the greatest results especially in the active population. Many will have success with a surgical fixation; however, frequently loss of full extension of the elbow is seen in long term outcomes.

This document is currently not available here.