Elbow Surgery Helps Cyclist Gear Up to Ride Again

February 13, 2017 7:00 AM

After an unexpected cycling injury, a seasoned rider got reparative surgery at Michigan Medicine. Now, he’s back on the road.


A typical bike ride for Al McWilliams turned perilous after an unexpected tumble on the trail.

“I was just cruising back nice and easy, and I fell off my bicycle,” recalls McWilliams, a semiprofessional bicyclist and resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Immediately, he knew something wasn’t right. His left elbow was swollen and, upon closer inspection, clearly out of place.

“It wiggled around a lot,” says McWilliams. “I checked the other one. They’re not supposed to do that.”

He headed to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center for treatment and found himself in a hospital for the first time.

“Al experienced an olecranon fracture of the elbow,” says Aaron Perdue, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the musculoskeletal center. “Typically with an injury such as this, we perform internal fixation with a plate and screws.”

After McWilliams’ injury Aug. 1 and a successful surgery the next day, he began rehabilitation and got back to riding in just six weeks — a time frame that surprised both the doctor and his patient.

“The biggest deal for me was getting back on the bike as soon as possible,” McWilliams says.