An olecranon spur is an extra-articular enthesophyte seen at the posterior portion of the proximal ulna's olecranon within the superficial aspect of the central triceps tendon insertion point.
Olecranon spurs are commonly seen in patients with conditions such as tendinitis of the triceps, bursitis and gout. It is also believed to be more prevalent in patients who have a history of elbow trauma, or those who partake in repetitive forceful elbow extension activities. They can be an incidental finding.
They can be found in asymptomatic individuals or in patients who present with posterior midline elbow pain.
The spur often curves upwards and possesses a faint radiolucent line at the base, which is thought to be due to the spur's formational developmental process as the calcified fibrocartilage thickens and forms small osseous nodules that overtime will fuse. Careful inspection of the base is therefore warranted to ensure it is not fractured.
In the case of an incidental finding, one should look for secondary signs of inflammation such as swelling, or clarifying if the patient has midline posterior elbow pain, as the patient may be asymptomatic.