TitaniumGeek




Olecranon Fracture Posts

Elbow Fracture – How it happened

Seeing that Bono is such a cool chap and in December 2014, he decided to smash up his elbow, I thought that sounded so rock and roll, and decided to copy him. In January 2015 I took a tumble whilst out cycling on my Scott Foil – only cosmetic damage to the bike – this is the start of my story, where I intend to document the fracture and the process of rehabilitation, from my own personal, medical perspective – Read on for the injury itself

TitaniumGeek IMG_0878 Elbow Fracture - How it happened Olecranon fracture fracture elbow fracture cycling

How I received my elbow fracture….

Sunday 18/01/2015 11 am, I’m asked by my girlfriend; “It’s lovely and sunny, let’s take the bikes out!!’

“Not at all!, There is ice on the path, let’s go after lunch when it’s melted.”
So ensued a lovely ride around Warwick.

Monday 19/01/2015, 10 am, the first day of my long-awaited seven-day holiday, a text from a cycling buddy

– “Spin?”
– “Sure.”

A great day, cold, but lovely sunshine, blast the 8km to the meet point, happy with an average 33KMPH on the A-road, turn off to the country lanes…
“Hmm, that’s a big chunk of ice, there,” I think as we trundle by, but the road is smooth, and drying, it’s going to be GOOD…



The Event – Elbow Fracture

It remained a beautiful day, but 2.2km later, a lovely, dry(?), SHADED corner, 23.9KMPH according to STRAVA, and suddenly I’m horizontal…
There is no sliding or fish; there is nothing I have any control of, I’ve vertical, and then not. The speed, the force! It’s as if I’m part of a book that’s just been slammed shut between the bindings of a bike and Tarmac. It was that fast, SNAP and the book was closed.

I’ve had enough falls and slips on mountain bikes and when climbing, yet this catastrophic change of direction was like nothing I have ever encountered, or hope to again….

My whole weight struck through the tip of my elbow, my olecranon process, and THEN the bike hits, and that’s it!

I quickly moved from the floor. I’ve had a fall, so things are buzzing, nothing really HURTS. Although I instinctively clutch my elbow. “It’s going to be fine…”

After a moment the shock passes.
Elbow doesn’t feel “good”, but it moves-ish and then my inner medic kicks in (he’ll be a pain the neck over the next few weeks).

“I’ve seen enough falls like this, I might have chipped something, but the jacket looks ok. Some lovely road rash on THE FIRST OUTING OF MY BRAND NEW BIB, but could be worse!”

“But I could have chipped something.”

“Remember the broken X-rays, you don’t want to miss something… this could be an elbow fracture…what if I’ve fractured and pulled off my olecranon? Don’t be stupid, it’s a bruise.”

I have a chat with my friend, I don’t want to ride on, not sure if I can, but I certainly want to pop into A&E, MY A&E, just to check its a bruise. Hoping against hope I’ve not gone and given myself and elbow fracture

Arrival in the Accident and Emergency

Denial is NOT a river in Egypt but in fact a potent form of analgesia! I don’t care if it’s swelling, it could still be a bruise!

TitaniumGeek Olecranon_process_haematoma Elbow Fracture - How it happened Olecranon fracture fracture elbow fracture cycling

A large haematoma…, I know its not an olecranon fracture

At this stage, I’m holding out for a big, swollen bruise, while the Registrar who saw me thought it possibly an elbow fracture, but more likely dislocated.  I didn’t like the sound of that, I’ve helped him relocate dislocated elbows before – not exactly fun for the patient, so fingers crossed it’s not that! Although that wouldn’t be as bad as the olecranon fracture, people keep suggesting.

Xrays

The only way to tell it’s not a bruise, apart from the steadily swelling lump is with an X-ray. But that really is a formality….it IS going to be a bruise, not an elbow fracture – I can believe it better!!!

TitaniumGeek Ouch Elbow Fracture - How it happened Olecranon fracture fracture elbow fracture cycling

It’s just a bruise. It IS an elbow haematoma… This ISNT an olecranon fracture *PLEASE!!!*

Minutes later and the X-rays show it’s not …

TitaniumGeek Olecranon_fracture Elbow Fracture - How it happened Olecranon fracture fracture elbow fracture cycling

Olecranon fracture, Mayo IIa classification

Nasty Elbow fracture

In the trade, that’s what we call a displaced olecranon fracture of the RIGHT arm – specifically a Mayo IIa classification – see how my x-ray almost perfectly mirrors the diagram below:

TitaniumGeek olecranon-mayo Elbow Fracture - How it happened Olecranon fracture fracture elbow fracture cycling   To everyone else though, it’s just on the good side of the types of elbow fracture you want to have. There is not really any significant floaty bits inside the gap – well, there are actually a couple on my x-ray if you play around with it on the radiology system, but you can’t really seem them in this picture!

The worst part of the whole ordeal was the X-ray, and positions I needed to hold. Honestly, prior to that, I had actually been relatively pain-free.

TitaniumGeek IMG_1063 Elbow Fracture - How it happened Olecranon fracture fracture elbow fracture cycling

Now the X-ray was in, and the temporary plaster on, three things were apparent:

TitaniumGeek IMG_0608-2 Elbow Fracture - How it happened Olecranon fracture fracture elbow fracture cycling

This is not going to be i) fun ii) quick or iii) easy, why of all the injuries did it have to be an elbow fracture??

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James Gill

Author of TitaniumGeek, which started after smashing off my RIGHT elbow. Feel free to drop me a line about sports tech, medicine, or frankly anything that you want to chat about!!