An olecranon stress fracture is an uncommon but difficult elbow injury mainly seen in baseball pitchers. In this video, I explain what the injury is, how a doctor makes the diagnosis, how you treat it and return to pitching safely.

Signs and symptoms

An olecranon stress fracture is a stress fracture of the tip of your elbow. It almost always results from overuse, usually too much pitching without enough rest. The pain comes on slowly and takes longer and longer to go away. Soon you have pain at the tip of your elbow even when you aren’t throwing.


A doctor can make the diagnosis by examining your elbow and figuring out where your pain is. He will likely perform many physical exam tests to rule out other elbow injury. He will also order an x-ray which might show the olecranon stress fracture. If the x-ray looks ok but the doctor is still concerned for a stress fracture, he might order an MRI of the elbow.

Athlete with an olecranon stress fracture

Treatment of an olecranon stress fracture

Fortunately, most baseball pitchers can recover from this injury with rest. Basically, you stop pitching until it heals and your elbow feels better. Sometimes you get better in just a few weeks, but it can take a few months in some pitchers. Occasionally the orthopedic surgeon might feel surgery is the best course of treatment.

Learn more about an olecranon stress fracture by watching the short video and learning where the pain from this injury occurs, what is involved in the surgery, and how you can avoid suffering this injury in the first place.

Also read:
Can you play sports despite a stress reaction?
Elbow stress fracture in a pitcher

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