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Olecranon Stress Fracture Treatment

What Is an Olecranon Stress Fracture?


Olecranon stress fractures are rare injuries. They are primarily found in throwing athletes, particularly baseball pitchers. These injuries can often be misdiagnosed and are poorly understood due to their rarity. It is important to see healthcare providers that deal with throwing athletes frequently and have an understanding of this condition. I want to provide a brief breakdown of the anatomy, cause, diagnosis, and treatment of an olecranon stress fracture.


First, you need to know what the olecranon is. It refers to the tip of your elbow. The olecranon is part of your ulna, which is the larger bone in your forearm. Primarily, the elbow moves in flexion and extension, but some supination and pronation is important. During extension, the olecranon comes into contact with the olecranon fossa, which is part of your humerus. The fossa provides a space for the olecranon to sit without contacting the humerus and creating damage. You can see the movement of the olecranon in the video below:



Notice how extending my elbow causes it to almost disappear into the humerus? This is because the olecranon fossa is ensuring that there is smooth movement.


Overuse or abnormal forces can cause the olecranon to create abnormal contact with the humerus. Chronic force from these contacts can cause a stress reaction and eventually a stress fracture to occur at the site. There can be many reasons for the contact to occur, but it is important to understand the process that is occurring between the bones.


What Causes an Olecranon Stress Fracture?