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Olecranon fractures

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Introduction

Olecranon fractures exhibit a bimodal distribution: low-energy injuries in the older age group and higher-energy mechanisms in the younger population. The mechanism of injury often dictates the fracture pattern. An indirect injury results from a fall onto an outstretched hand. As the hand touches the ground, a forceful contraction of the triceps muscle pulls a portion of the olecranon off in an avulsion or oblique fashion. This is in contrast to a direct mechanism in which a force is applied directly to the olecranon, leading to a more comminuted fracture pattern. Less commonly, the olecranon may fracture when the elbow is hyperextended, as the bone is impacted against the olecranon fossa of the distal humerus.

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1. Bucholz RW, Heckman JD, Court-Brown CM, Tornetta P, Koval KJ. Rockwood and Green's Fractures in Adults: Rockwood, Green, and Wilkins' Fractures, 2 Volume Set. Sixth Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005

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