Healing From an Olecranon Fracture: What to Expect

Healing From an Olecranon Fracture: What to Expect

An olecranon fracture is a fracture of the ulna — the pointy-looking bone of the elbow and the one it sticks out when you bend your arm. 

Olecranon fractures can be either simple (no displacements) or complex (displacements of the surrounding joint). 

Symptoms following the fracture include pain, inability to straighten the arm at the elbow, tenderness in the elbow, and swelling. 

Our experts at LA Orthopaedic Specialists, located in downtown Los Angeles, California, have extensive experience treating fractures and can guide you throughout the recovery period, ensuring your elbow heals and you can return to your routine as fast as possible. 

Exploring your treatment options 

Depending on the complexity of the fracture, you may benefit from a cast or surgery. If the joint is displaced following the fracture, we’ll need to stabilize it with wires or plates, which are inserted surgically. 

Left untreated, a displaced fracture can lead to arthritis in the elbow, as the cartilage will rub against itself, causing pain and inflammation. 

Regardless of the treatment plan, after your fracture heals, you’ll need to participate in occupational therapy, as joints in the elbow can get stiff quickly if they aren’t used. 

Recovery timeline 

If you’ve had surgery to fixate the fractured bone with a plate, you can wear a sling, and about six weeks later, you’ll be encouraged to make some elbow movements to prevent mobility loss. 

However, if you didn’t have surgery for the fracture, you can start performing the exercises earlier. 

You can expect your fracture to be fully healed within three months.

Possible complications from an olecranon fracture 

If you’ve had surgery for your fracture, you may be at higher risk for stiffness, infection, or a fracture that fails to heal. 

You can prevent stiffness by performing certain exercises. Infection rates are very low and typically occur in the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. 

Fractures often fail to heal in people who don’t follow instructions after surgery or have uncontrolled diabetes, which slows healing.

If you have diabetes and experience a fracture, speak with a dietician about ways you can tweak your diet to reduce your blood sugar levels and prevent complications. 

Get your fractured treated with us 

If you suspect your elbow may be fractured, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our specialists in Los Angeles, California, have extensive experience treating olecranon fractures and can help you in your journey towards a quick recovery. Our medical team is available to help you recover!

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