Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Olecranon Fracture

Olecranon Fracture: An olecranon fracture is an injury to the most prominent bone of the elbow. People may call the olecranon the ‘funny bone.' The bone is actually the end of the ulna, one of the two forearm bones, and it is the attachment of the powerful triceps muscle of the arm. The triceps is the muscle that straightens the elbow, and olecranon fractures can impair a patient's ability to straighten the elbow joint.

Treatment: Treatment of an olecranon fracture depends on the amount of displacement of the fracture fragments and the function of the triceps muscle.

If the fracture is non-displaced, or minimally displaced, and the triceps muscle is able to extend the elbow, then surgery may not be necessary. In these cases, protected motion and time will generally heal the fracture. Otherwise, surgery of olecranon fractures is the usual treatment.

When is surgery necessary for an olecranon fracture?: When the bone fragments are out of position, or if the triceps muscle is detached, then surgery is usually necessary for treatment of an olecranon fracture. There are several ways to fix an olecranon fracture. An incision is made over the back of the elbow joint, and the bone fragments are repositioned into the proper location. Some combination of pins, wires, and/or screws may be used to secure the bone fragments in the proper position.

... So, apparently I have a habit of breaking bones and not realizing it.

The first time was during the San Francisco Half Marathon in 2005. At around mile 11 my right shin started hurting pretty badly. I chalked it up to shin splints -- something I had battled with from time to time. I finished the race (I was not happy at the finish line) and took about four months off from running.

I found out about six months after that race that I had fractured my shin in two places.

Today I discovered that I broke my elbow when I crashed on my mountain bike back in August.

At the time I thought I had sprained or strained it, and after a few weeks it felt much better. However, a dull pain has remained and I noticed last week that I am not operating with a full range of motion in my right arm (I can't straighten it), so I made an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon.

They took x-rays of my elbow, which I was looking at as the doctor came back into the examination room to review them. They looked fine to me! NOT.

My doctor informed me that I had fractured the olecranon bone in my right arm. He also pointed out on the x-ray what looked like bone chips floating around. GREAT. Finally, he stated that I should have had surgery to repair it at the time I fell. I don't understand how I could have broken my elbow and not known it, but that is a moot issue at this point.

Concerned about developing arthritis, my doctor ordered a CT Scan, which I have scheduled for tomorrow.

If I have to have surgery... well, I think my coach might fire me.


anthony said...

you have got to be kidding!

i think we're gonna have to bubble wrap you!

Jennie Unger Eddy said...

I know, I know. I just don't know what is going on!

I think the bubble wrap is a good idea, because clearly I can't avoid breaking bones. : )

Michele said...

Honey, I am soooo sorry.

rick said...

You are one tough girl though. I mean your pain tolerance must be high enough for you to keep going despite these pains. When are you gonna stop messing with these short distance races and join us on the ultras:)

Jennie Unger Eddy said...

Ha ha ha.

Rick, maybe after I have a marathon under my belt.

I have that PCTR credit waiting to be used...