We retrospectively evaluated the clinical and radiological outcomes of a consecutive cohort of patients aged > 70 years with a displaced fracture of the olecranon, which was treated non-operatively with early mobilisation. We identified 28 such patients (27 women) with a mean age of 82 years (71 to 91). The elbow was initially immobilised in an above elbow cast in 90° of flexion of the elbow for a mean of five days. The cast was then replaced by a sling. Active mobilisation was encouraged as tolerated. No formal rehabilitation was undertaken. At a mean follow-up of 16 months (12 to 26), the mean ranges of flexion and extension were 140° and 15° respectively. On a visual analogue scale of 1 (no pain) to 10, the mean pain score was 1 (0 to 8). Of the original 28 patients 22 developed nonunion, but no patients required surgical treatment.
We conclude that non-operative functional treatment of displaced olecranon fractures in the elderly gives good results and a high rate of satisfaction.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:530–4.
- Olecranon fracture
- Non-surgical treatment
- Elbow fracture
- Elderly patients
- Functional treatment
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
This article was primary edited by D. Rowley and first proof edited by J. Scott.
Supplementary material. A table of patient demographic data is available alongside the electronic version of this article on our website www.bjj.boneandjoint.org.uk
- Received October 17, 2013.
- Accepted January 7, 2014.
- ©2014 The British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery