Randon Hall, MD
NCAA Purdue - What Type of Fracture Might Isaac Haas Have?
Isaac Haas' Fractured ELbOW
In the first round of the NCAA March Madness Tournament star center for Purdue Isaac Haas sustained an elbow fracture. The injury occurred with a direct fall on to the tip of the elbow. Although he tried to return he was quickly pulled back off the court. The injury was furthered evaluated after the game and x-ray confirmed a fractured elbow that requires surgery. Based on how the elbow impacted the ground, my guess is he sustained an olecranon fracture of the elbow. Other options include a displaced radial head or radial neck fracture to name a few. There is now talk of him returning to play with a brace but this seems pretty risky. It is possible that the the medical team feels that surgery is now not needed but it also possible that he can delay the surgery until a later date.
Elbow Fracture Insights
Based on the mechanism of a fall directly on to the elbow the most likely injury is called an olecranon fracture. The olecranon is the point of the elbow, which is part of the ulna bone where the triceps attaches. There is not significant soft tissue between the skin and the bone so it is vulnerable to injury when it hits a hard surface. The determination of surgery depends on the displacement of the fracture and if the fracture includes the joint surface. In this case, if it is an olecranon fracture it likely is displaced at the joint surface necessitating surgery (see photo above). When the fracture is non-surgical usually an above elbow cast for 4-6 weeks is the appropriate treatment. However, when the fracture requires surgery a few possibilities come to mind. Options include aligning the fracture fragments and using a tension wire, screw fixation or locking plate to stabilize the fracture. Typically, immobilization will still be needed but the benefit is that it can be done for a shorter period of time allowing for early mobilization and less stiffness or risk of loss of range of motion. Physical therapy is often needed after an elbow fracture, in order to regain full range of motion and strength.