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Olecranon process, Anatomy and its function| Relation between ulna and humerus in olecranon process.

What is the olecranon process?

Olecranon process is the process of ulna which forms an outer elbow bump that fits into the fossa of the humerus when the arm is extended.

  • The ulna is one of the inner bones in the forearm, the longer one.
  • The humerus is the strongest bone of the human body, the arm bone.
  • Both ulna and humerus are involved in the olecranon process.

Ulna ( the main bone of the olecranon process)

The ulna is the inner bone among the two forearms, which can be seen with the palm facing forward.

(The other bone of the forearm is named radius).

The c-shaped (semilunar) notch which is drawn by the upper end of the ulna articulates with the trochlea of the humerus forming an elbow joint.

The projection that forms the border of the c-shaped notch is termed as olecranon process.

Location of olecranon process

As it is mentioned that the superior and posterior portions of the proximal ulna makes the olecranon process so the location of those bones is the location of the olecranon process ie. The ulna is located on the medial side of the forearm, the radius is on the lateral side and the humerus is in the arm.

Role of olecranon process

The role of the olecranon process is very important as it forms the most pointed portion of the elbow opposite to the cubital fossa (also known as elbow pit). The Olecranon process serves as a lever for the extensor muscles which straighten the elbow joint.

olecranon process

Muscles attach to the olecranon process

The major muscle which is attached to the olecranon process is the triceps. However, the olecranon process is a bony prominence of the ulna that represents the bone’s most proximal posterior surface at the elbow. The olecranon process is the attachment site for many muscles groups like flexor carpi ulnaris and anconeus.

Olecranon fracture

An olecranon fracture is a break in the “pointy bone” of your elbow that sticks out when you bend your arm, which is the end of the ulna.  This type of fracture usually happens in isolation (with no other injury) but can also be part of a more complex injury to the elbow.

Elbow joint is made up of three bones radius, ulna and humerus. These three bones are joined together by ligaments, muscles and tendons. This bends and straightens like a hinge in the olecranon process. This also helps in the rotation of the arm and to turn our hands up or down. The olecranon fracture can happen through direct or indirect blows. In direct blow, you can fall directly on the elbow or an object hit on your elbow.

– The symptoms of olecranon fracture are sudden intense pain with inability to straighten your elbow, swelling, tenderness to touch and pain with movement of joint.

Olecranon fractures are very common and occur at the pointy end of the elbow.

– Treatment of olecranon fracture depends on the seriousness and type of fracture. Treatment may include the use of a sling or surgery to help hold the bones in place while they heal to the back.

olecranon process


FAQs regarding the olecranon process

By the way, you have received a lot of information yet, but besides this, there will be a lot of questions in your mind. We will answer some questions you will give through these FAQs and their respective answers. Hopefully, your curiosity will be quiet to some extent.

1) Is the olecranon the funny bone?

– Yes, it can call a funny bone as the ulnar nerve passes over the elbow and a knock on this nerve can cause numbness and pain.
Funnybones are generally applied to the projection bone.

2) How do you palpate the olecranon process?

– Grab the forearm with one hand and, flexing the elbow to 90°, pat the elbow, feeling the head of the radius and the joint line with your thumb.  If there is swelling, is it fluctuating?  Synovitis is usually felt as fullness between the olecranon and the lateral epicondyle.

3) Which bone contains the olecranon fossa?

– Olecranon fossa is located in the posterior surface of the distal humerus, we can say that humerus contains the olecranon fossa. It receives the proximal ulna during the full extension of the arm.

4) How long does it take for an olecranon fracture to heal?

– Usually 90-120 days.
The prognosis for olecranon fractures is generally excellent and the fracture will usually heal within three to four months.  You may find that your elbow and shoulder become stiff due to the immobilization process.  Physical or occupational therapy is usually recommended to regain strength and range of motion.

5) How does a broken elbow feels like?

The pain can reach the shoulders on the hand or the forearm leading to the wrist.  Another sign of a fractured elbow is that it feels tender, painful, or numb to the touch.  The elbow may feel stiff and stiff.  it will be difficult to extend or rotate the elbow

6) What Is Olecranon Bursitis?

– Olecranon bursitis is commonly known as elbow bursitis.
Elbow bursitis occurs in the olecranon bursa, a thin, fluid-filled sac that is placed at the bony end of the olecranon (elbow).  There are many bursae located throughout the body that act as pads between bones and soft tissues, such as the skin.

7) What happens if an olecranon fracture is left untreated?

– When a bone fracture remains untreated, it may result in a non-union or delayed union.  In the chronic case, the bone does not heal at all, which means it will continue to be broken.  As a result, the swelling, tenderness, and pain will continue to worsen over time.

Now we understand that you have learned a lot about the olecranon process. We also know that when a person gets learning something new, it is a feeling of happiness, just like you are getting it.

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