Olecranon fractures usually represent a type of triceps tendon avulsion fracture. Management is based on degree of displacement and associated injuries. Patients with fractures demonstrating separation of less than 3 millimeters and no step off are candidates for nonoperative treatment. Surgical repair may involve a variety of techniques. Because they directly involve the elbow joint surfaces, most patients lose some range of motion (primarily extension) after injury. Following an olecranon fracture, pain and lost motion are a long term problem for an average of 1 out of 5 patients, and a similar number develop degenerative arthritis later in life. Worse functional results are seen in patients over 30 years old. Recovery may be prolonged, and average six months or more before patients can be expected to return to heavy labor.
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