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  1. #1
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    Radial Head Fractures Thoughts?

    So I'm riding in an area I was unfamiliar with and going much faster than I should have been for not knowing the terrain. That was, in hindsight, a bad idea... but to make matters worse my gear snaps. Basically I'm pedaling air for about a half second. Never happened before and scared the crap out of me.

    I look down for that quick second taking my eyes off where they should have been and blammo! Hit a bump, went airborne, and over the front... smack and both elbows broken.

    My right took the majority of the force. The left, unfortunately, was also jacked up. My right was broken in a couple places and looked like like two big pieces of a jigsaw on the xray. The left was broken with a slight step out.

    Anyway I'm now almost six months out from my surgery. I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to feed myself, drink, wash, shave, brush teeth... and well... go to the bathroom myself

    My left arm feels fairly normal. It's not back to where it was but it's darn close. My right though... it's still very stiff. I don't have much in the way of flexion or extension.

    I was wondering if anyone had similar experience and if your situation improved.

    I've read that six months is about the window for the most amount of improvement... generally speaking. So now I'm obviously concerned that I may never be able to ride again.

    I tried a couple times and I can ride, but it's fairly painful when I hit any kind of bump. I still can't do any kind of "pushup" with my right arm either.

    Just hoping someone in here will give me some good news... like they had the same situation and it improved hehe.

    Anyway thanks for any insight.

  2. #2
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    Glad to hear your recovering ok. It will take some time to heal completely(maybe a year or so). Reason I say this is because I suffered a right radial head fracture about 11 years ago(7/97) in the Cuyamaca Mountain riding trails in San Diego. The hills were so steep initially that you had to walk your bike up for the first mile or so then a slow steady climb. My brother and I got to the top and started haulin azz down the hill-me leading the crazed attack. I was sailin' down a bumpy off beaten rock stretch when I lost it, WHAM! I don't really remember alot because I think I got knocked out for a split second and regained. All I know is
    I ate it pretty hard/fast and that my right hand and forearm twisted inward because of the force. A moment later my brother came up laughing at me.
    I tried to get up to pick up my bike and thats when I knew it was broken. The next two miles downhill were hell because I could only grip lightly with alot of pain. I walked most of it and we got to the truck. Another hour to get home and 4 more hours in the ER. They shot my elbow with Marcaine and gave me Motrin.
    Diagnosis? Hairline Radial Head Fx. No cast, just a sling. I was extremely lucky to be in this good condition w/o alot of injuries. It took a few years as I recall to completely recover w/o my hand (cuniform and pisiform bones) swelling. Good luck and thanks for the story.

  3. #3
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    Its' been almost a year to the day

    I smashed my radial head last year in Moab on Memorial Day. You can seach this forum for my posts; I got a lot of feedback from folks on the boards which was great.

    I got lucky, my arm almost can fully extend, no surgery, just PT. Still a little stiff now and then. I was even able to ride Downieville in October last year, 4 1/2 months afterwards. I also can tell I favor my right arm and my shoulders and back is tweaked a bit because of it. I would say continue PT, religiously (sp?).

    My advise, good luck and keep hope in mind. I told myself I was never going to ride again but here I am. You got to do PT everyday, ice it, flex...maybe you already are, its a process.

  4. #4
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    Imatk,

    I am not an orthopedist but I am an ER doc so might be able to help you out bit. Obviously since you had surgery on your elbow that you had plates or screws or both placed into your elbow/arm. Inherently this type of injury is much more severe than fractures that do not need surgical intervention and thus a longer recovery period.

    The first thing to do is truly dedicate yourself to Physical Therapy. Any joint when immobilized for a prolonged period of time loses range of motion and throw in some metal and scar tissue and it only gets worse. Sometimes scar tissue builds up so bad (especially in shoulders after surgery) that the orthopedic surgeon will sometime take the person to the OR months after the surgery...put them under anethesia and then just crank the shoulder in all directions...and you hear the scar tissue popping. Have not seen this with elbows though as PT is usually effective enough to regain range of motion. However if it does not return you to normal or near normal, then talk to your surgeon. It is possible that the fracture was so bad that you will get back only a certain % of your normal range. Other possibilities are that after the bones are healed...sometimes having the plates and screws removed will add more flexibility.

    Hopefully things will continue to get better...and in an injury such as yours I would give it at least a year before I made any real conclusions as to what you will recover. Good luck to you and get working on that arm

  5. #5
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    This thread scares me. I fractured my radial head on 4/18 and had surgery on 5/2 with plates and crews inserted. I'm walking around with a hinged brace right now locked at 90 degrees. I'm supposed to go back in August and have the hardware removed.

    Saving grace so far has been the advice provided by my Physical Therapist. Also, I'm lucky enough to have access to a hot tub which really gets the muscles relaxed and is allowing me a surprising amount of extension. Rotation of the wrist is going much slower.

    I say stick with the PT and you might also try massage therapy. My muscles get really tight after being in the brace all day and it takes a heat source and 10 to15 minutes of massage to get thing moving. I ice it down after the exercises are done.

    Good luck man. I'm rooting for you.

  6. #6
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    3 Weeks ago, radial head fracture, small chip. Put me in a splint for 2 weeks, took it off last Tuesday. Arm is still stiff, getting about 15 degrees of movement. They told me to keep stretching it.

    No mention of any PT. Damn Kaiser. I will be calling them on Monday.

    What kind of PT should I be doing to get this stiff elbow moving again?

  7. #7
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    I've got Kaiser as well and they insisted on PT

    Quote Originally Posted by megafrenzy
    3 Weeks ago, radial head fracture, small chip. Put me in a splint for 2 weeks, took it off last Tuesday. Arm is still stiff, getting about 15 degrees of movement. They told me to keep stretching it.

    No mention of any PT. Damn Kaiser. I will be calling them on Monday.

    What kind of PT should I be doing to get this stiff elbow moving again?
    In fact, they told me to get an appointment before I left the facility the day I got my cast taken off (broken wrist). I don't know if your coverage is the same as mine but you need to call as soon as possible and get on it.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  8. #8
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    insist on PT

    Megafrenzy

    Even after surgery, screws ands a plate Kaiser didn't initially recommend PT for me. I went around the orthopedic surgeons PA (cute, but dumb) and went to my primary care Dr and had him prescribe the PT. You have to be a smart consumer with Kaiser or you will get screwed.

  9. #9
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    pt

    if you can't get a formal referral to PT, you can do a lot on your own. Depends on what you had done - removal of bone fragment, fixed with screws, radial head replacement, any ligaments repaired? - but for a while the only thing to worry about is getting range of motion. This involves gentle flexion and extension, as well as supination/pronation of the forearm. Elbows get notoriously stiff and this is hard to ever get back. You need more range in mountain biking than most other activities. Again, your pace and when you can really start strenthening depends on what you had done.

  10. #10
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    Radial head

    Broke my self up in a crash in early May breaking my right radial and my left radial head.

    Had surgery for both (Group Health) and was very lucky that I was able to have only a half cast on the right so that I was able to take care of my personal needs.

    The radial fracture on the right was repaired with a plate and 6 screws and I had to go back for a second surgery to replace bent hardware.

    The left radial head required 3 screws to repair. So far I am getting most of my flexion back, but have a lot of work to do on extension. So far just doing stretching 3 times a day with a 16oz hammer held at the end for 3 to 4 minutes at a time. Also doing some light swimming at the pool.

    PT is my next step once healing of the injury is better and it will be my priority to working at it until I get it right.

    Good luck on your recovery

  11. #11
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    I'm almost three months out from fracturing my left radial head. I just had surgery again on 7/7to remove the plates and screws. I feel much better with the metal out but there is still a ways to go.

    Doc indicated that is unlikely the arm will ever go straight again but I do hope to be able to ride before too long. I've been working on this build to keep me occupied in the meantime...


  12. #12
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    Hi

    I was wondering what anybody's progress with a Radial Head Fracture was.

    I just got one and would really appreciate it to see others experience.

    It happened last Sunday for me. They dropped me in a small cast for 3 days and then that was off and since then I've been asked to increase movement. Like the first poster I couldn't get a full flex but it is slowly coming. Strength is slowly coming too. I am thinking by the first week of September I should get a lot of recovery back but with some extra pushing and pulling to increase mobility.

  13. #13
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    Oh and thanks for the replies

  14. #14
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    Flugu

    I fractured my radial head in April 2008. I had two surgeries, one to screw it back together and one to remove the hardware. It is an injury that takes a while to come back from. I?o was about an inch away from full radial head replacement.

    You will hear this over and over but it is absolutely critical, get into Physical Therapy and stick with it. My health care provider (Kaiser at the time) tried to tell me PT was unnecessary. I knew better and had my primary care physician order up the PT.

    I have to really pay attention to my arm. If I slack off the exercise my injured arm will become noticeably smaller than my uninjured arm in a matter of weeks.

    Good news is I'm back on the bike and with minor exception, I'm doing everything now I was doing before the injury. Let me know if there is more info I can provide.

    JB

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 187
    Flugu

    I fractured my radial head in April 2008. I had two surgeries, one to screw it back together and one to remove the hardware. It is an injury that takes a while to come back from. I?o was about an inch away from full radial head replacement.

    You will hear this over and over but it is absolutely critical, get into Physical Therapy and stick with it. My health care provider (Kaiser at the time) tried to tell me PT was unnecessary. I knew better and had my primary care physician order up the PT.

    I have to really pay attention to my arm. If I slack off the exercise my injured arm will become noticeably smaller than my uninjured arm in a matter of weeks.

    Good news is I'm back on the bike and with minor exception, I'm doing everything now I was doing before the injury. Let me know if there is more info I can provide.

    JB

    Thanks for this. I really appreciate it.

    I'm not at the stage of displacement or even surgery. Just a fracture in the head as of yet.

    I have a lot of mobility yet and I am doing some strength exercises myself. I am noticing a difference but I do want to contact the Doctor to make sure where I stand.

    Cheers again.

  16. #16
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    Follow up to Radial Head Fracture

    I posted last summer about my Radial Head Fracture and I am happy to say that my recovery has been positive.

    Had surgery to repair with 4 screws holding the joint together.

    I still do not have complete full extention of the arm but I think I am about 90%

    I have been lifting weights and streching the arm before and after to gain mobilty. I no longer have any pain and I will continue to keep working at it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamimitch
    I posted last summer about my Radial Head Fracture and I am happy to say that my recovery has been positive.

    Had surgery to repair with 4 screws holding the joint together.

    I still do not have complete full extention of the arm but I think I am about 90%

    I have been lifting weights and streching the arm before and after to gain mobilty. I no longer have any pain and I will continue to keep working at it.
    Hi Mitch

    Is it possible you could tell me when you had your fracture, when you had surgery etc too so I could compare timelines? I also want to get back to lifting weights too and want to ascertain a feasible time for me.

    Also, are you lifting the same level of weights you were prior? Or what kind of weights are you able to lift on a week on week basis?

    Thanks for the reply Mitch. It's really appreciated. I've heard a lot of ambiguous things about the injury and really want to get a good hold on it to improve my recovery.

  18. #18
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    My injury was in May of 2008 and after surgery to repair the elbow it was in a non movable brace for several weeks. After two weeks I was moving it gently but I had very little range with it.

    After about a month of slow stretching with a hammer for weight I was able to gain more range and add more weight.

    After that I started swimming and returned to the gym and lifted light weights with high reps to regain strength.

    My strength is back to normal on both arms injured but the left with the radial fracture is still limited in extension a little and will tighten up if I do not stretch daily

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamimitch
    My injury was in May of 2008 and after surgery to repair the elbow it was in a non movable brace for several weeks. After two weeks I was moving it gently but I had very little range with it.

    After about a month of slow stretching with a hammer for weight I was able to gain more range and add more weight.

    After that I started swimming and returned to the gym and lifted light weights with high reps to regain strength.

    My strength is back to normal on both arms injured but the left with the radial fracture is still limited in extension a little and will tighten up if I do not stretch daily
    Thanks Mitch

    Mine isn't as bad as yours but the outcome appears to be similar for most RHF's in that mobility is the key concern after healing.

    I was reading up on it today and found some work on Bone Mass Density and weights. I am trying to move it as much as I can at the minute. There is some pain but mobility seems to keep it fresh and able.

    It hasn't been long for me but I'm going to keep on with moving, nutrition and a little bit of weights too.

    Thanks again.

  20. #20
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    Make sure you go slow and light at first to make sure you do not injure yourself again.

    Good luck on your recovery

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamimitch
    Make sure you go slow and light at first to make sure you do not injure yourself again.

    Good luck on your recovery
    Thanks Mitch.

    Well at present it is slow and steady but I can't push it anyway. The response is always slow, the speed is slow and steady too. There are also movements which I can't attempt either so... there you go.

    There is a slight increase in strength and some flexibility increased too - but the fragility is still evident when I move it or intend on moving it some more.

    Cheers again. I'll let you know if things change.

  22. #22
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    4 mos and counting

    Still working on my elbow after 4 mos. I do my own PT at least twice per day and I have it to about 90% movement and have started riding again. But it continues to ache constantly. The elbow seems to be a long road on the recovery.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Griffin_NC
    Still working on my elbow after 4 mos. I do my own PT at least twice per day and I have it to about 90% movement and have started riding again. But it continues to ache constantly. The elbow seems to be a long road on the recovery.
    Hi Griffin

    Could you give a little more information regarding what kind of fracture you had please?

    I'm about 70% movement, I'd say. Maybe I'm being optimistic. OK, 60% but I'm working at it and today I am a little more optimistic.

    I'm trying to use it as much as is possible of light work and doing what exercises I've been told to do.

    Thanks for replying mate and all the best.

  24. #24
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    Fractures

    I was fortunate and didn't do a full displacement of the radial head. There were two 1/2" cracks on each side of it. They didn't put my arm into a cast and started me on light PT about 3 days after the accident. They also gave me a shot in the elbow to reduce the swelling quickly. I was at about 80% movement after the first 30 days. Since then it's been very slow getting the rest of the movement back. It does seem like a rollar coaster some days though. I'm betting about 6 months to full recovery at the moment.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Griffin_NC
    I was fortunate and didn't do a full displacement of the radial head. There were two 1/2" cracks on each side of it. They didn't put my arm into a cast and started me on light PT about 3 days after the accident. They also gave me a shot in the elbow to reduce the swelling quickly. I was at about 80% movement after the first 30 days. Since then it's been very slow getting the rest of the movement back. It does seem like a rollar coaster some days though. I'm betting about 6 months to full recovery at the moment.
    Thanks Griffin

    What you're saying is quite reassuring. I am going to be into Physio myself soon but in the mean time I am doing some movement and getting something back but I've also get pain too. I guess this is partly down to me pushing it since I want more movement back...

    Cheers again. Finding out more about it gives some indication as to the nature of the injury and what type of healing and recovery is occurring.

    Regards

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by 187
    Flugu

    I fractured my radial head in April 2008. I had two surgeries, one to screw it back together and one to remove the hardware. It is an injury that takes a while to come back from. I?o was about an inch away from full radial head replacement.

    You will hear this over and over but it is absolutely critical, get into Physical Therapy and stick with it. My health care provider (Kaiser at the time) tried to tell me PT was unnecessary. I knew better and had my primary care physician order up the PT.

    I have to really pay attention to my arm. If I slack off the exercise my injured arm will become noticeably smaller than my uninjured arm in a matter of weeks.

    Good news is I'm back on the bike and with minor exception, I'm doing everything now I was doing before the injury. Let me know if there is more info I can provide.

    JB
    Hi there man

    I was just wondering regarding your recovering.

    I have seen some significant changes recently. I am out of the sling and can flex completely, almost albeit with some pain.

    Extension wise it is a bit off still. I have been able to push it until it's 10 degrees off but that was with some real pain for a few days.

    I was wonder then, how far are you with in terms of extension considering you were told it won't get back to that. I am starting Physio next week by the way.

    Regards

  27. #27
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    I had the pleasure of radial head fracture myself:

    2 months ago: Road bike ride. Brand new Look 555 with about 30 miles on it to replace my '93 Trek with 25,000 miles and 3 dozen races on it. A one-in-a-million chance of nicking a stick with my front wheel and putting it perfectly in the spokes. The carbon fork shattered and I went over the handlebars hard. Brand. New. Bike. Grrrrrrr.

    Anyway, I put out my right hand for impact. Cracked the radial. That was 7/11/09. The orthopedic surgeon cut off the ER's cast and said no surgery - only PT. I did 6 weeks of PT and have pretty much all range of motion back.

    I haven't ridden since the crash. I've been building up my new frame: Look 565 this time (there was a tiny patch of cracked paint behind the head tube of the 555 meaning the the frame was damaged in the crash.) and I'm also itching to take out the Stumpjumper.

    Question to anyone else who had gone through this: How long until I can safely ride on the elbow? The doc said 2 months, but I work as a camera man and have put alot of weight/work on this arm in the last month - I don't want to over stress it any more. It is still sore and putting miles on the trainer definitely irritates it. Is the pain something to ice after a ride, or am I risking further damage at this point? I'm running out of DVD's to watch while on the trainer. (BTW - on the old reliable Trek.)

    Thanks!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeeper
    I had the pleasure of radial head fracture myself:

    2 months ago: Road bike ride. Brand new Look 555 with about 30 miles on it to replace my '93 Trek with 25,000 miles and 3 dozen races on it. A one-in-a-million chance of nicking a stick with my front wheel and putting it perfectly in the spokes. The carbon fork shattered and I went over the handlebars hard. Brand. New. Bike. Grrrrrrr.

    Anyway, I put out my right hand for impact. Cracked the radial. That was 7/11/09. The orthopedic surgeon cut off the ER's cast and said no surgery - only PT. I did 6 weeks of PT and have pretty much all range of motion back.

    I haven't ridden since the crash. I've been building up my new frame: Look 565 this time (there was a tiny patch of cracked paint behind the head tube of the 555 meaning the the frame was damaged in the crash.) and I'm also itching to take out the Stumpjumper.

    Question to anyone else who had gone through this: How long until I can safely ride on the elbow? The doc said 2 months, but I work as a camera man and have put alot of weight/work on this arm in the last month - I don't want to over stress it any more. It is still sore and putting miles on the trainer definitely irritates it. Is the pain something to ice after a ride, or am I risking further damage at this point? I'm running out of DVD's to watch while on the trainer. (BTW - on the old reliable Trek.)

    Thanks!
    Well... do you still have pain in any form from it? If you do then I'd maybe wait a while although my Physio tells me the pain is not damaging all that much. It is still a weak area, well it is for me.

    I had mine about 2 or 3 weeks after you and it still gives me bother. I've only had 2 weeks of physio yet though but it still has it's problem.

    Have you really got full range of motion back? I mean without pain? You can fully extend it and flex and rotate it without pain and to every extreme? If so - then that is quite amazing.

    Good luck with the riding. You could ask some of the guys here. Maybe go on some straight roads and see how it feels. Tie it up a little, I mean with some support. It should help.

    You could try PMing some of the guys above for more advice.

  29. #29
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    Hi....regarding radial head fracture.

    I am the mother of a racer from Seattle...first name of Tim.

    Anyway, I thought maybe I could ask all of you about my radial head fracture.

    8/22/2009 date of injury. hard cast for five days then half cast splint and sling that I used for two weeks, doing range of motion, palm up, palm down.... for past 10 days splint only.

    I now have swelling again..just been using the sling...do you think I could have broken again?

    Thanks
    A supportive mother of your sport

  30. #30
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    Wow......one week ago I had a (horrific) road bike wreck. Doing about 30, looked down for a second and veered into a curb. Went OTB and hit the ground where there happened to be a culvert, so instead of sliding along the pavement, I came to a rapid stop.

    Lots of rash, and I learned two days later that I had a radial head fracture on my right. Doc said it was 1.5mm wide, looked to be about 1.5" long on the Xray. Same deal, no cast just work moving it. I am still in pain every day, but today was the first day without advil. I am probably working it too much. I hope to be back on the bike in 2-3 weeks, pending a good dr visit.

    Range of motion gets better daily, but it is still quite painful to do palms up/down.

    Also have shoulder pain now, should have mentioned that at docs office, but did not notice it with the arm.

  31. #31
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    Matt...just the same except how it occurred. I was sitting on the top of the steps at cabin and probably caught heel behind first step when I stood up....basically flew over five steps and landed directly on the concrete below...crossing my arm in front of me probably prevented worse injuries.

    My fracture is identical to yours at 1.5 mm...slight distraction. My elbow did lock at 90 degrees.. that has improved.

    It still hurts. still taking Advil. Hard for me to touch my face...It may have been immobile too much of the day in the 2nd week.. not sure. or maybe an age factor. Keep your fingers moving...and if you think your wrist hurts even a little bit have it x-rayed too or re- x-rayed if it already was done.

  32. #32
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    forgot to mention..see a PT..I did therapy on my own and think I probably pulled a tendon in my hand. Also, your should probably have your shoulder x-rayed. If you have a sling keep the elbow strap behind your shoulder and not in front...seems to help me with the shoulder pain.

  33. #33
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    Ya.....still can't come close to touching my face. I can finally use a spoon with my right hand though. Not easy...

    How long did it take for you to get all healed up?

    How old are you....I'm 25. Ill post back here after my return visit to the Orthopedic's office.

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    Matt. My son is 28, close to your age.... I am 56...may be why it is taking me longer to heal. My fracture was "healed" on x-ray at 4 weeks, but was told last week to still be careful, still no solid callus formation yet. I have hit my elbow a couple times and it scares me.

    I am really sorry I did not insist on professional physical therapy and instead just had the orthopod say "do this do that, etc". I also have heard that occupational therapy is beneficial in helping to hold pen, etc.

    Your accident does sound horrific, but I must say you are much further than I was at 1 week post injury. I find it hard to understand exactly how much exercise the MD wants me to do.

    I will be anxious to hear what your ortho says.

  35. #35
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    Update on my injury:

    I went on my first ride since my 7/11 accident yesterday. The ortho doc said no riding for 2 months following the accident. Even if movement is back and pain is down, that is alot of force going through that joint while riding. I'm a cameraman and work came up at week 5 that had me shooting for 2 straight weeks - that really aggravated it and I decided to add another 2 weeks to waiting to ride.

    Patience. I'd rather do some time on the indoor trainer than risk compromising the healing process. My rides the last two days have been road rides and I'll keep off the mtb until another couple weeks, due to the increased amount of shock put into the arms.

    Matt - I would definitely give it a lot more time than 2-3 weeks to return. The main instructions from my ortho and physical therapist were keep stretching, flexing, and improving range of motion - but keep all weight off it.

    -Geo

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    I have to go out so will reply in detail when I return.

    Leen - I don't think you've broken it again but only an Orthopaedist will be able to answer that. The swelling is normal and is basically the swelling covering the injury and also from movement (which you need to do to stop it getting worse).

    If you are still concerned, then it is best to see the Orthopaedist. The Physio is more exercise and rehab based, the Orthopaedist can assess injury and stuff.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by leen321
    forgot to mention..see a PT..I did therapy on my own and think I probably pulled a tendon in my hand. Also, your should probably have your shoulder x-rayed. If you have a sling keep the elbow strap behind your shoulder and not in front...seems to help me with the shoulder pain.
    You can't keep x-raying because of radiation poisoning. I think you're supposed to have one ever 6 months only and only if it's serious you can have another.

    The Orthopaedist or your Doctor could send you to somebody who could assess an injury without an X Ray.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeeper
    Update on my injury:

    I went on my first ride since my 7/11 accident yesterday. The ortho doc said no riding for 2 months following the accident. Even if movement is back and pain is down, that is alot of force going through that joint while riding. I'm a cameraman and work came up at week 5 that had me shooting for 2 straight weeks - that really aggravated it and I decided to add another 2 weeks to waiting to ride.

    Patience. I'd rather do some time on the indoor trainer than risk compromising the healing process. My rides the last two days have been road rides and I'll keep off the mtb until another couple weeks, due to the increased amount of shock put into the arms.

    Matt - I would definitely give it a lot more time than 2-3 weeks to return. The main instructions from my ortho and physical therapist were keep stretching, flexing, and improving range of motion - but keep all weight off it.

    -Geo

    I haven't ridden and I don't think I will for a while. Winter is coming soon and I will also need to get my fitness back soon too.

    It aches regularly. Most movement makes it ache - fast movement is not possible but when I do it struggles for a while.

    I am thinking with what I've heard it will take probably months to a couple of years before I get any normalcy.

    I also get a clicking sound too.

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    Yeeper.....Maybe my fracture was not as severe as yours....at least that's what I am hoping. The Orthopedic that I am seeing is a good family friend and has a really good reputation in the community. I am pretty sure he would have had me do PT if he thought the injury was bad enough. At least I hope.......

    I'm having a hard time with it, mostly because I'm a farmer and a lot of my time is spent using that arm. I just hope I don't screw it up and have permanent limited range....

    On a side note.....I run now that I can't ride, and nearly ate it today while running. I'd like to think I would have the presence of mine to pull in that injured arm, but I dunno. Luckily my feet caught me.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattsteve
    Yeeper.....Maybe my fracture was not as severe as yours....at least that's what I am hoping. The Orthopedic that I am seeing is a good family friend and has a really good reputation in the community. I am pretty sure he would have had me do PT if he thought the injury was bad enough. At least I hope.......

    I'm having a hard time with it, mostly because I'm a farmer and a lot of my time is spent using that arm. I just hope I don't screw it up and have permanent limited range....

    On a side note.....I run now that I can't ride, and nearly ate it today while running. I'd like to think I would have the presence of mine to pull in that injured arm, but I dunno. Luckily my feet caught me.
    I'm not sure where you are in the world but in the UK your GP (Family Practitioner) will send you to a Physio.

    I have talked to a lot of people regarding the injury and all of the guys I spoke to, told me to see a Physio and it has helped in a lot of ways.

    I would consider taking this option and also talking to the Orthopaedist and later Physio about the work your are doing.

    I put a bandage over my elbow by the way. I had a really strong bandage which helped support the arm while it healed. It does help.

  41. #41
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    i fell off my road bike at about 0.5mph about 15-16 years ago ...

    i was quite lucky in that the doc in er was a cyclist and knew exactly what to look for when i told him what happened ... fractured my left radial head, complete with step etc ...

    it took ages to free up and stretch the muscles out again after a few weeks being bandaged up ... as a operational firefighter it meant a few months off work too ...

    i don't know what really happened, but i was in so much pain and frustrated with it not straightening out, doctors even put in a steroid injection directly into the elbow and were looking at possible srugery to remove the radial head itself ... then i woke up one morning and it was more relaxed and much freer ...

    i was trying to stretch the muscles myself at home by putting palm on the wall with elbow on hip and using body weight to push the arm straight, and i was also doing some low level kayaking which i could do without too much pain or restriction ... dunno what would happen if i fell out though ...

    over the years it has still given me a bit of trouble on occasion, but that could be an age thing too [am 48yo presently] ... if i lay on it for too long then it really starts to ache too, same if i hammer on a trail that is too rocky/rooty and if i use a rigid instead of front shocks ...
    it also aches a bit if it is too cold on occasions ...

    what worked for me was to keep it warm [warm water baths really helped] and to keep it moving ... but then mine was quite minor compared to what i have read here!

    in hindsight, i cycletoured with a guy who had both radial heads removed following a motorbike accident and he really had a limited range of movement in both of them, and rode hunched over his bars cause he couldn't straighten out his arms at all ...

    good luck, hope it improves soon!
    "old enough to know better. too old to care."

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoogie
    i fell off my road bike at about 0.5mph about 15-16 years ago ...

    i was quite lucky in that the doc in er was a cyclist and knew exactly what to look for when i told him what happened ... fractured my left radial head, complete with step etc ...

    it took ages to free up and stretch the muscles out again after a few weeks being bandaged up ... as a operational firefighter it meant a few months off work too ...

    i don't know what really happened, but i was in so much pain and frustrated with it not straightening out, doctors even put in a steroid injection directly into the elbow and were looking at possible srugery to remove the radial head itself ... then i woke up one morning and it was more relaxed and much freer ...

    i was trying to stretch the muscles myself at home by putting palm on the wall with elbow on hip and using body weight to push the arm straight, and i was also doing some low level kayaking which i could do without too much pain or restriction ... dunno what would happen if i fell out though ...

    over the years it has still given me a bit of trouble on occasion, but that could be an age thing too [am 48yo presently] ... if i lay on it for too long then it really starts to ache too, same if i hammer on a trail that is too rocky/rooty and if i use a rigid instead of front shocks ...
    it also aches a bit if it is too cold on occasions ...

    what worked for me was to keep it warm [warm water baths really helped] and to keep it moving ... but then mine was quite minor compared to what i have read here!

    in hindsight, i cycletoured with a guy who had both radial heads removed following a motorbike accident and he really had a limited range of movement in both of them, and rode hunched over his bars cause he couldn't straighten out his arms at all ...

    good luck, hope it improves soon!

    Hi Hoogie

    Thanks for your experience, it's really appreciated.

    I am only 2 months out (on my 8th week right now) and I do feel this is a long term thing i.e. it will give me some pain, some discomfort over the years. At present I am working at minimalising with Physio and such which is helping but I have realised how obscure the injury is because it's in a complex area so will just accept it play around over the years.

    Anyway cheers again.

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    Update....I went today for another visit with my doc. His wife caught me opening a car door with the bad wing and thought I may have damaged it doing other such things. Took pix and it looks like everything is coming together nicely (2 weeks post incident). He said that I should let it rest as best I can for another two weeks and then start more aggressive PT (at home, I hope). So that's the plan, I hope to be back on the bike in a month at the absolute latest. I did ride it around a bit, albeit one handedly. Probably being foolish with the injury but whatever. Glad I read this thread.....I tricked myself into thinking that since a cast was not called for, it was not that serious of an injury.....when in terms of long term issues, it is probably more serious than a complete break of the arm.

    Glad I am young and a fast healer.

    Hope you all get healed up as well...!

  44. #44
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    i only had a bandage wrapped around the elbow, then the nurse put the arm in a smallish sling and wrenched it up. was just a bit achey till then and when she wrenched it up it hurt like sh*t!
    "old enough to know better. too old to care."

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    .I am glad you had a good x-ray report and MD visit. Go for the professional therapy if offered. I see the ortho on Thurs...unsure about how it will turn out. My elbow feels unstable.. I have been wearing the sling more often even though I am 5 weeks out. I am pretty sure I have done too many exercises too soon. When I wake up in the morning I cannot close my fist. It takes a few hours then it is okay...seems to be more my wrist, but I am not sure. I totally agree with you...this type of break is definitely a long-term and harder to heal injury then maybe a long bone.

    Hope you are allowed professional PT... The more I think about it the more irritated I am with my ortho that he just expects 60 seconds of instruction to take the place of a professional several times a week. Will write on Thurs

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    Good luck, Leen. The more I read on this topic, the more it sounds like there can be a pretty good range of damage according to the individual accident characteristics.....Just be glad you don't have to go in for surgery....ugh.

    Look up online PT and you can probably do a decent job on your own...

  47. #47
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    Matt..the good news for me is that my fracture is totally healed and my flexion is normal and extension only off 7 degrees.. I do have some bad news. Remember how I said my arm was bothering me. I have reddish/blusish fingers with quite a bit of pain..kind of shiny skin. I have a complictaion from the fracture called CRPS complex regional pain syndrome. I guess it is pretty uncommon and happens mainly in women. Basically my nerves decided not work in my arm. There are several stages...I am in stage 1 and it is totally reversible. I have professional therapy several times per week and do therapy everyday at home.
    Thank you...
    I am glad your fracture is healing well. I wish you the best.

  48. #48
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    left radial head fracture

    Im new to both the forums and mountain biking (2 mos) i got into mountain biking to enjoy the freeride aspect of it... long story short, i fractured my left radial head 1 week ago. Im in a sling now for 10 days and have an appt to see the Dr. again on monday.


    Just wanted to comment and say thanks to everyone for posting useful information about this injury and what i can expect to recover.

    Ive always been active in sports, skating and broken a lot of bones... this injury, by far seems to be the most nagging and frustrating.

    Thanks Again everyone... i enjoy the reading.

  49. #49
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    Okay - this thread is depressing, so here goes. Fractured radial head on 8th Dec 09 road cycling - girl clips my back wheel with her front wheel and I hit the deck at 6mph with arm outstretched. Was riding my 5 day old Specialized Tarmac SL!!! Luckily that was not damaged.

    No displacenment initially. 2 weeks later I have 1.5mm displacement. 3 weeks later - no change & signs of recovery. at 7 weeks I go to PT and he starts manipulating the elbow which was VERY painful. After 3 weeks of getting nowhere and increased pain after manipulation PT referrs me to specialist. She requests another X-Ray and now I have 5mm of displacement and no signs of the bone healing??!! She referrs me to another "specialist" whom I have yet to hear from.

    I have approx 50% movement I recon so it's rather depressing. Now I haven't heard back from specialist/ PT/ hospital and no one knows whether I should have surgery or what.


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    Hi Bushman.

    You are right, this thread is depressing. You are two months out with no real treatment plan. If you live close to a Teaching University I would get copies of all my chart notes, PT notes, digital x-rays, etc and make an appt ASAP with a orthopedic hand specialist (they do shoulder on down). My radial head fracture is very similar to yours, just a bit less. I am still doing therapy and will tweak my elbow and it hurts like crazy (like tonight, felt fine scrubbing the skin and you would think I just broke it all over, but I have RSD as you may have read above as a result of this fracture---rare..do not worry about getting it). I have read almost everything I can find and realize this is a tricky fracture even if a tiny fracture or minimally displaced. Therapy seems to be what most agree on. Palm up/palm down, but I would not do this unless instructed by physical therapist. I got the run around similar to you, but it only hampered my recovery. So my main advice to you is be advocate for yourself in your care and do not let anyone keep you from getting the treatment/care/therapy that you need, especially if you are only at 50% movement. BTW therapy can hurt, but it should not hurt to the point of tears...too much too soon can cause more damage. My therapist specializes in hand/arms/shoulders only. My best to you...Kathleen

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    Meee Tooo!

    I am a dirt/street bmx guy but I actually hurt my elbow in a motox accident, about 4.5 months ago. I was training for supercross and I had a bad get off which put me in ICU for a list of things and the elbow pain/swelling was on the list. I insisted that there was a problem but the Dr. said it was not broke and had clear x-rays..... a month ago I am still in pain and am not getting much better so I saw two specialists and both said that I had a radial head fracture that had become displaced and both said that it needed to be screwed together initially. I am having constant pain still and I will be going in for a cartilage cleanup surgery and a possible ulnar nerve re-location. One Dr. said that it probably wont be worth Fixing the displacement???. I have broken many bones and this is definitely the most complicated by far. Good luck to you guys.

  52. #52
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    So sorry you have a radial head fracture. Often they are not "caught" at first, but will show up on plain films in 7-10 days. I transcribe radiology reports and I have typed ulnar fat pad sign is indicative of elbow fracture in the case of acute trauma.. I would guess you had at least one fat pad that had edema. But cannot go back. They do not always do surgery for a radial head fracture. I did not have surgery, but it still bothers me even after 6 months. I really believe in physical therapy. If you are close to a teaching university I would go there for another opinion if you do not feel comfortable with what you are being told. The best to you. Let me know how you are doing.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman
    Okay - this thread is depressing, so here goes. Fractured radial head on 8th Dec 09 road cycling - girl clips my back wheel with her front wheel and I hit the deck at 6mph with arm outstretched. Was riding my 5 day old Specialized Tarmac SL!!! Luckily that was not damaged.

    No displacenment initially. 2 weeks later I have 1.5mm displacement. 3 weeks later - no change & signs of recovery. at 7 weeks I go to PT and he starts manipulating the elbow which was VERY painful. After 3 weeks of getting nowhere and increased pain after manipulation PT referrs me to specialist. She requests another X-Ray and now I have 5mm of displacement and no signs of the bone healing??!! She referrs me to another "specialist" whom I have yet to hear from.

    I have approx 50% movement I recon so it's rather depressing. Now I haven't heard back from specialist/ PT/ hospital and no one knows whether I should have surgery or what.

    I'm really sorry to hear about this. This doesn't appear to the way things go.

    I think my history is above but it's 6 to 7 months for me so I can tell you where I am at.

    I have full flexion (like a bicep curl) but with a little pain, sharp pain. While extension is just 5 degree off. I can't hold things with it for a long time but it is healing but slowly.

    I think in your case mate it should be plastered up first and I am wondering why it hasn't been plastered up. You have displacement and minimal movement. You need at least a plaster to let the bone heal. The Physio can play around with it later!!! I mean, I was in a plaster at first and then asked to move it as much as possible. I had no displacement but I was in a plaster. I'm confused as to why they didn't plaster you with a displacement. If you look online, you will find that displacement leads to a plaster.

    Maybe you need to see somebody who gives a damn.

    Keep us informed on what happens!!

    and the bestest of luck!

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by leen321
    Hi Bushman.

    You are right, this thread is depressing.
    But there is a future. If anything this thread highlights how you should really try and get this thing looked at properly.

    I keep thinking, without the responses I got from this thread, I wouldn't have had physio, I wouldn't have had the support either.

    This is a complicated injury and the online support is important for ambiguous injuries like this.

    It was really annoying and upsetting for me as well. I was out of sync for about 2 months, but it started to improve in time.

    Stick with a programme and never underestimate any pain is what I say.

    Oh and I do recommend Calcium/Magnesium supplements too!!

  55. #55
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    Like most replies I had a Radial Head Fracture on my right arm. It sucked.

    I took a week off the bike. My physical therapist told me no biking, so I found another therapist. The stretches and exercises seem silly, but they are a huge help. Sometimes my elbow will feel stiff or my wrist will hurt, but I just go back to the basic exercises and it all gets better. It has almost been one year since my wreck and I am on the bike with no limitations. Well almost no limitations... I am having a hard time commiting to steep downs (I was on a steep down when I wrecked.) I even did the 24hrs of Old Pueblo and my arm did not bother me at all.

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    I have gained no upward motion 2 months out any thoughts?

    I has my radial head replaced on january 4 th 2010 since then I have gained 22 degrees downward and none upward. The surgeon had never preformed this surgery before and he said its possible the stopper may be to big. He said lets hit therapy for another six weeks then he can numb it and try to manually move it. If he cannot then the stopper is too big. Im getting concerned. Has anyone else run into anything like this?
    Thanks
    Sean

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by seank
    I has my radial head replaced on january 4 th 2010 since then I have gained 22 degrees downward and none upward. The surgeon had never preformed this surgery before and he said its possible the stopper may be to big. He said lets hit therapy for another six weeks then he can numb it and try to manually move it. If he cannot then the stopper is too big. Im getting concerned. Has anyone else run into anything like this?
    Thanks
    Sean

    I have heard about it Sean and I am sure you can appreciate from the responses, this is not a simple break we're talking about here.

    What you can also factor into this is, people do get better but it takes time. Don't worry about it because there is a future and there is a solution at the end of it all. Keep posting on your progress and people will give you advice and reassurance as and when you do post.

    Keep in touch with the Doctors and don't take any pain easily. Always report.

    All the very best.

  58. #58
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    I'd love to hear from anyone who posted in this thread on the status of their injury? Thanks!

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    Well, it's been just short of a year for me.....

    I was able to start riding (lightly) about 2 months after the wreck. It gave me trouble doing other things (wasn't able to surf for 4 months) and I still can get a pretty good shot of pain if I accidentally rapidly over extend it. The arm still does not straighten 100%, probably 85%. But it does seem to slowly get better.....and keep in mind that I haven't done any PT. I should have.

    Good luck for all you guys!

  60. #60
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    It's been over 2 years for me, it was a fracture. Did PT, never got full movement back but I'm still riding. Hurts if I lift something heavy, but generally it's not noticeable.

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    Almost one year for me..sound similar to others. I can straighten close to 90%. It pops if I extend too quickly as in grabbing something. My RSD causes more problems than anything. If I stir too much, garden too much, anything with rotation... I really hurt the next day...slowly but surely I guess. Stiil do PT at home. Sometimes I think a little callus breaks away and it heals over and over and over. Hope everyone is doing great.
    Kathleen

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffdom1978
    I'd love to hear from anyone who posted in this thread on the status of their injury? Thanks!
    Well it has been a year for me as well now and I do have some trouble still.

    Using it excessively brings on some pain. If I use it too much, I can't over extend the arm so I have to wait until the inflammation goes down.

    Other wise, I have almost got full extension. It's only a little bit off.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flugu Truck
    Well it has been a year for me as well now and I do have some trouble still.

    Using it excessively brings on some pain. If I use it too much, I can't over extend the arm so I have to wait until the inflammation goes down.

    Other wise, I have almost got full extension. It's only a little bit off.

    Flugu,

    At what point, (month) did you get closest to full extension? I am in month 5, and I still am off quite a bit... I feel like Im not gaining anything... I do all my stretches and by end of day my arm looks and feels alot straighter, then I wake up the next morning and I feel like Im back to square one... really annoying!

    I still get days where it hurts all day and its sore... The only plus is I have alot of my strength back, just not extension!! really driving me NUTS!

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffdom1978
    Flugu,

    At what point, (month) did you get closest to full extension? I am in month 5, and I still am off quite a bit... I feel like Im not gaining anything... I do all my stretches and by end of day my arm looks and feels alot straighter, then I wake up the next morning and I feel like Im back to square one... really annoying!

    I still get days where it hurts all day and its sore... The only plus is I have alot of my strength back, just not extension!! really driving me NUTS!
    My full extension came about around... January I would say which was 5 months after.

    This does depend on the kind of injury you had and the extent of the break too.

    I don't have all my strength back. My arm weakens very quickly and can't handle excessive usage or the picking up of weights and this is after all the work I have put into it too.

    My extension on the other hand is barely noticeable but this doesn't hide the fact it hurts sometimes but it is close to normalcy and we're only 12 months in. I have been told it takes around 2 years to get complete normalcy back.

    Are you doing all the extension and twisting exercises? Has the Physiotherapist told you how much to twist it (palm facing upwards and then downwards)?

    Maybe you could look into the state of your pain and focus on that.

  65. #65
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    Fractured my radial head July 20th 2010. Been in PT one week. Should be back on the bike late August or early Sept for a cruise by the beach, then a few light XC rides before I'm back DHing!!! The rotation is the slowest thing to return & my PTer pushes me until I'm almost crying! BRING IT!!!

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamD79
    Fractured my radial head July 20th 2010. Been in PT one week. Should be back on the bike late August or early Sept for a cruise by the beach, then a few light XC rides before I'm back DHing!!! The rotation is the slowest thing to return & my PTer pushes me until I'm almost crying! BRING IT!!!

    I would seriously advise against getting back on your bike within the next month or so - I really would.

    It's not only the bone but the soft tissue you should consider during the healing process so give it time. You could put unnecessary strain on your joint to the point it heals incorrectly.

    Give this thread a good read as it's all written here.

  67. #67
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    Geez. This thread freaks me out every time I read it. Even more so now that I know my elbow has a RHF.

    Did some kind of lame endo while riding offroad and came down hard on my left side 5 days ago.

    It's in a splint for 10 days, then we'll reevaluate. X-rays showed no displacement. I was stoked on that until I read bushman's account. Christ.

    I had figured just a hard impact on the elbow had done this, but what really causes a RHF? Landing with an arm outstretched? Can't remember my arm's position on impact. Always thought that resulted in busted collarbones in cyclists... never heard of an RHF before I found my way here.

    I'll crash in a fetal position next time to avoid this kinda potential nightmare again. :/

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by gruppe_a
    Geez. This thread freaks me out every time I read it. Even more so now that I know my elbow has a RHF.

    Did some kind of lame endo while riding offroad and came down hard on my left side 5 days ago.

    It's in a splint for 10 days, then we'll reevaluate. X-rays showed no displacement. I was stoked on that until I read bushman's account. Christ.

    I had figured just a hard impact on the elbow had done this, but what really causes a RHF? Landing with an arm outstretched? Can't remember my arm's position on impact. Always thought that resulted in busted collarbones in cyclists... never heard of an RHF before I found my way here.

    I'll crash in a fetal position next time to avoid this kinda potential nightmare again. :/

    Yes, it is landing with your arm outstretched so the impact travels through to the radial head of the elbow that causes the fracture.

    I don't know where you are but if you remain in the care of a Physical Therapist (Physiotherapist) and Orthopaedic Consultant/Doctor then you should be ok. Do as they say, continue with strength building and mobility exercises and you will return to normal (if it is not displaced).

    Stick with the exercises and therapy. This thread could seem daunting but do your best and you should be ok.

  69. #69
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    While this thread does indeed freak me out, it is an excellent one and I definitely do appreciate everyone's input! (As I type one-handedly...)

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    It's tough not to stick the had out there when it happen in flash. I know better from 25 years of skateboarding. Fact of the matter is, I stuck it out DHing 8 weeks ago. The radial head healed well (No Displacement) but my wrist is FVck!ng killing me. Getting and MRI tomorrow. I have had a bunch of surgeries (2 this year on my knee even). The body and the head always get better. Hang tough!

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    Edit..... "Hand out there............happens......".

  72. #72
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    Radial head fracture

    Hiya Guys.

    I suffered a nasty radial-head fracture coming down a slope which i didnt think was that bad apart from some cuts & bruises until i got -up & tried to lift my bike when i knew there was something wrong.

    A week later i decided to go to the doctor as i found i just coudn't lift the smallest of items.

    Ist x-ray showed-up as a "subtle-fractute" with minor brusing.

    2nd x-ray a week later showed-up as 2mm gap on the surface of the radial-head.

    In the sling the right arm goes for a period of 4-6 weeks.

    5 weeks in the sling when you take it off , it literally feels like youre arm is a block of ice.

    You can barely extend-it or bend-it : that for me was the worst fear & panic i ever felt :

    never using my right arm again.

    2 weeks into Physio now & i can safely say i'm regaining 50-60% on the extention & bend , palm-up i have a good 90% but the palm-down still only 70% seems to be the most difficult area.

  73. #73
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    Here is my daily routine for a 2mm displaced radial-head please stop if you feel any sharp or stabbing pain)as the bone is still in the process of healing , however start applying muscle pressure once you feel the bone has healed , most of these exersises are designed to remove the "kink" or "stiffness" from youre joint after the sling has been removed.

    I repeat each exersice (4) times per day & rub with elmore oil 2-3 times per day.

    1) Stand straight looking in front & straighten elbow flush(or as close you can) with youre leg hold 5-10 secs.

    Raise arm & bend elbow hold 5-10 secs.

    10 x each

    2) Grab a stick , a broom will do : hold with two hands palm-up & extend elbow flush with youre legs , hold 5-10 secs

    Slowly raise & bend elbow hold 5-10 secs.

    10 x each.

    3) Turn palm @ 90 degree angle tucked & hold stick bend to apply pressure with other arm hold 5-10 secs.

    Repeat with palm down.

    10 x each.

    4) Hold hand @ 90 degree angle tucked-in & turn palm up & down.

    10 x each.

    These routines have helped me emminsley from thinking i was gonna be cripple to back the "jelly' like motion through my limb again.

    Dont be afraid to break the kink in youre joint with these routines : its just that youre elbow has been locked-in a certain position in a sling for too long , however dont go passed the point when you feel any sharp or stabbing pains as youve hit a tender spot in youre fracture.

    Anyhowz you'll know youre on the right track when you can place palm down on the roof of youre head & hold 5 secs without feeling like a magnet!

    Oh well something to shoot for in the next couple of weeks.

    Peace.

    Tom

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    That's good stuff Tom, thanks! I'm not that far along yet, but I'm surprised how well I'm doing...

    3 weeks since the crash as of yesterday. Out of the sling & splint. Probably still gonna use those for sleeping. X-rays from 2 days ago still show no displacement in my radial head/neck fracture. Head surface looks "pristine".

    I can extend the arm at least 90%. Flexing is similar. Palm down nearly 90%. Palm up is only about 70%.

    I actually rode the bike yesterday, only about 3-4 miles. Doctor didn't freak out when I mentioned this today, & actually gave me permission assuming I'm super duper careful.

    So I guess I'm pretty lucky. And about to screw everything up if I get too cocky.

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    Dumb teenager with Ipod headset suddenly lurched in front of me while on the easy part of the trail, causing me to hit a rock throwing me head over heels. Broken radial head left arm (non-dominant). Been 4 weeks. My next door neighbor is a physical therapist. He told me to stretch it out as far as I could and hold it for 30 seconds, 7 times a day. Okay so far. Can't ride yet, as it won't support much weight, but it is better. First week I could play tennis if my partner did all the serving. Second week, I could hold one ball, but couldn't toss it up very high. Third week could toss ball high, but not with control. Now I can serve normally as long as its only one ball in my hand, but still can't ride bike yet. Tried golf, but dissolved into agony on the downswing when the club hit that tiny little white ball. Funny, it looks so small......

  76. #76
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    Did mine on my left arm about Feb 2010. Had a type 1 fracture, a small slit.
    Had about 2 weeks of light duties till pain went away and had a sling, but im a chef, so that was 2 weeks off work

    All healed up fine till the last few weeks (6-8) I started my new exercises for the day. It was a 2-5kg rubber band which i have to curl. Then i heard a creaking/ grinding sound. I attempted other things to left down to about 1-2kg and the sound still came. The grinding also came from Flexing my arm and moving it up and down in a Hammer curl motion.

    Went to doc the specialist... The slit never healed and closed all the way up to the top of the bone. And its right on the joint, thus making the grind.

    Specialist told me ill never be able to goto the gym again or even do pushups alot.
    Said i can still ride. The bone is as strong as it ever was. but not a perfect flat joint.
    He also said in an ideal world, i should never move the elbow again... ><
    I was almost in tears when he told me all this.

    To get it fixed i have to give into early next year and see if it has fixed its self somehow.
    Then go under the knife, but he tells me its no 100% fix.
    Also if its not fixed , i may get arthritis in 15years (im 27 atm).
    I asked him if there is a cure for arthritis ( i know little about it) he tells me by the time i get it there maybe... fuk him i say.

    In the process of tracking down the best surgeons atm to fix my problem.

    SO.... If you take one thing away with you from this thread.... Get a good Phyiso and a (trusted) doc and get a 2nd or 3rd opinion if you feel then need.
    My small injury basically may fuk me for life.....


    Ill try update next year when i find out more.

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    here is my story:

    riding in soquel demo forest here in the sf bay area on a steep section of trail, went over the bars. landed on my left hand which was outstretched, heard a crunch, and saw my forearm pointing in the wrong direction. not being a doc, i had no idea what was going on, i just assumed that the radius and ulna were broken to permit that kind of direction.

    it turned out to be a radial head fracture. luckily, i was able to avoid surgery, and am currently doing physical therapy. this happened on 7 Aug 2010, so its been a few months. i have most of my flexion, pronation movement back. extension is still only abt 80%, plus the tendons and connective tissue that were avulsed are still swollen and tender. my physical therapist says that w/ due care adn diligence, i should get everything back fingers crossed (i'm still not cleared to ride).

    key takeaways:

    1. get as MANY orthopedic surgeon opinions as you think you need--the first two surgeons i saw wanted to operate right away. the third one was a bit more experienced, and noted that a few weeks in a splint should suffice and then PT should start asap. my buddy who is an orthopedic surgeon also told me that a lot of places are money making operations (so they will push for surgery even if not needed)

    2. get a good physical therapist that you are comfortable with, and that actually pays attention to the exercises you are doing to ensure proper movement, and to recommend changes as needed.

    3. you should get a set of exercises to do at home as well--you have to be very diligent about doing these---i saw big improvements in my range of motion when i started doing the home exercises 2x a day

    hope that helps
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  78. #78
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    Thanks for all the replys guys. Definatly helpfull.

    I went otb and fractured my right radial head on 10/28/10
    One week later I had surgery and one screw installed on 11/4/10
    I've been doing stretches on my own for pt but I don't think it's working as i have had no progress in the past few weeks.

    Its so aggrivating being able to ride a bike but not being able to RIDE a bike.

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    How long does it usually take for a midly displaced-fracture of the radial head to re-align itself ?

    Ive been on physio for about 4 months now & still the bone has'nt sat back into position :

    I heard it could take up to a year or so ?

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    if its been 4 months, then i would think that any breaks in the bone have already healed. the pieces of my radial head that i broke were displaced by a few mm, but the doc said its fine, the body smooths out the discontinuity so that you end up w/ a smooth surface.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dth656
    if its been 4 months, then i would think that any breaks in the bone have already healed. the pieces of my radial head that i broke were displaced by a few mm, but the doc said its fine, the body smooths out the discontinuity so that you end up w/ a smooth surface.
    My crack was also displaced by a few mm : so its the discontinuity in the break that has to smooth over before you get realignment , or does the entire - bone get wacked out by a few mm & has to realign ?

    Or both im bit unsure as im still unable to fully extend the elbow ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy.B
    My crack was also displaced by a few mm : so its the discontinuity in the break that has to smooth over before you get realignment , or does the entire - bone get wacked out by a few mm & has to realign ?

    Or both im bit unsure as im still unable to fully extend the elbow ?
    tommy b,

    it probably depends on the exact geometry of your fracture. on mine, if you imagine the radial head as a sphere, the pieces that broke were on the periphery of the sphere,a nd they got shifted downwards by a few mm. it was that discontinuity t hat the doc told me would smooth over w/ time, enabling the humerus to move smoothly. also, i'm at month 5, and i'm still not able to fully extend the elbow--i can almost get there, but not quite. the doc told me that it will take several months to get that last range of motion back.

    my recommendation would be to avoid being shy about asking the doc question until you understand things to YOUR satisfaction. the first two ortho's i saw were not good about answering questions at all.
    94 Specialized Rockhopper

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by dth656
    tommy b,

    it probably depends on the exact geometry of your fracture. on mine, if you imagine the radial head as a sphere, the pieces that broke were on the periphery of the sphere,a nd they got shifted downwards by a few mm. it was that discontinuity t hat the doc told me would smooth over w/ time, enabling the humerus to move smoothly. also, i'm at month 5, and i'm still not able to fully extend the elbow--i can almost get there, but not quite. the doc told me that it will take several months to get that last range of motion back.

    my recommendation would be to avoid being shy about asking the doc question until you understand things to YOUR satisfaction. the first two ortho's i saw were not good about answering questions at all.
    Hiya dth & thankyou kindly for youre response

    Sounds like a very similar injury to mine m8) , im also @ month 5 & cant fully-extend almost there but it feels like a "lock-up" on the edge of the elbow thats preventing the full-extension.

    Take a look @ the diagram if you can m8) as i have a feeling this illustrates the type of injury youre describing & would be very-similar to mine.

    We'll just have to give-it several more months & wait for that bone to smooth-over to see how much range of motion will return.

    Stay tuned there bro , i'ii keep you updated on the recovery & thankyou for youre post
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    Last edited by Tommy.B; 01-02-2011 at 06:16 PM.

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    Well, 10 months in and still cant fully extend my arm, cant turn my wrist up or down all the way and it constantly pops and cracks, and I still am in pain.. Im just getting used to it.. BUT I have all my strength back... I can do push ups and pull ups no problem. my small type 1 fracture has been a complete nightmare...

    Did 8 week of PT
    3 months of Active Splint to extend the arm

    all for nothing.

    I havent been to my doc in 4 months so I think Im gonna go back but Im sure surgery is the only option at this point..

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    The 1st big test today for me was back on the job loading / unloading containers , the elbow held-up still didnt put all the force into the right arm but feck im pretty -happy with the result :

    still cant -fully extend after 5 months but i guess that will come over time

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy.B
    The 1st big test today for me was back on the job loading / unloading containers , the elbow held-up still didnt put all the force into the right arm but feck im pretty -happy with the result :

    still cant -fully extend after 5 months but i guess that will come over time

    tommy b,

    good to hear that your elbow is holding up--one thing that for me is limiting full extension is the fact that the 2 weeks in the splint caused my bicep to shrink, and other connective tissue to atrophy as well. basically, the body thinks that the position in the splint is "normal", and adjusts accordingly--this limits the range of motion. so far, physical therapy is helping me w /this, but its slow going at this point.

    also, i've started using my arm more, but i tried moving to 5 lb weights from my current 3 lb weights, and that caused a lot of pain and swelling, so i backed off.

    it may sound stupid, but i also try and do breathing exercises to relax, and to be able to stretch my arm out more (as part of my physical therapy). it helps me get a little bit more movement, at least during the therapy session
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    Quote Originally Posted by dth656
    tommy b,

    good to hear that your elbow is holding up--one thing that for me is limiting full extension is the fact that the 2 weeks in the splint caused my bicep to shrink,
    I was 4 weeks in a sling & when then docs took it of , i literally had no muscle left or very little , i could hardly move -it : it was like a block of ice

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    Quote Originally Posted by dth656
    tommy b,

    and other connective tissue to atrophy as well. basically, the body thinks that the position in the splint is "normal", and adjusts accordingly--this limits the range of motion. so far, physical therapy is helping me w /this, but its slow going at this point.
    I was initially & still afraid of twisting the elbow into any other position then the :splint" & the weight exercices my physio has my on , especially when i apply "full" force on heavy objects either picking them up or placing them down is still a problem for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dth656
    tommy b,


    also, i've started using my arm more, but i tried moving to 5 lb weights from my current 3 lb weights, and that caused a lot of pain and swelling, so i backed off.

    Im on 4 k with the bicep-curls & 2 k with the arm - extensions.

    The fracture is still evident however i feel that the :"displacement" or "discontinuity" as you said is starting to smooth- out as that 'edge" on the bone is feeling a bit smoother.

    We'll give -it another 7 months as you said ,you where was pretty much spot-on

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    Here i am @ 5 months physio but i was covered by work , so i had the time everyday to work on my arm for 4 hours with the stretching & weight exersices my physio has me on.

    I have to continue with the weight to compensate for the weekness on the joint so my physio tells me.

    Its nice to talk with someone who has a similar injury that occured around the same time & to compare sum results

    I'ii keep the updates over the next 7 months & hopefully we'll come-up ALRITE
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    Well it is slowly coming up to about 18 to 20 months for me now and while I have a slight pain on extension and not much on flexion, it is weak when I carry things for a while. I am trying to strengthen it somewhat so I will see how that goes.

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    Damn, I hope all of you heal up quick. I've broken every major joint in my left arm from either biking or snowboarding. The left wrist took over 6 months to make a fist, more than a year to hold it. My elbow still catches occasionally and took about 6 months to get normal (not strong) again. The shoulder was the worst since it broke and I didn't see a doc for over a month. After a surgery to grind down bone spurs and remove part of the bursa sack it's stronger but still not like the right one. Thankfully I can still ride both sports pretty hard with minimal pain. DEFINITELY go to physical therapy, especially at a sports specialty clinic. Do that stuff religiously, even when you're cleared. If you can afford it hire a personal trainer that will help you strengthen all your little stabilizer muscles, otherwise bigger muscles take over and limit your range of motion. Good luck to all of you!

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    I did my left RH in June, 2009 going over the bars. Doc wasn't sure if she was going to operate or not. 50/50. Took me into her office, lied me down, got me talking about how it happened and WHAM. Rotated my wrist around full extension. JESUS. Doc goes, well thats what I needed to see, it will rotate. That sound and pain are not forgotten.

    6 months of super fun PT and I was back to 90% extension and rotation. I am now back at full extension and rotation. Still, at times, creaks and cracks like a 90 year old arthritic , gets stiff at times and sore in damp weather. Hopefully though, continues to get better over time.

    PT PT PT PT PT PT. Do it. It sucks but it works. My PT said it would take years to get it back to where it was pre-break. Turns out she was right.

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    On 4-10-11 I had a small wreck, radial head fracture on the left arm. Its the Type 1 fracture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeCeBe
    I did my left RH in June, 2009 going over the bars. Doc wasn't sure if she was going to operate or not. 50/50. Took me into her office, lied me down, got me talking about how it happened and WHAM. Rotated my wrist around full extension. JESUS. Doc goes, well thats what I needed to see, it will rotate. That sound and pain are not forgotten.

    6 months of super fun PT and I was back to 90% extension and rotation. I am now back at full extension and rotation. Still, at times, creaks and cracks like a 90 year old arthritic , gets stiff at times and sore in damp weather. Hopefully though, continues to get better over time.

    PT PT PT PT PT PT. Do it. It sucks but it works. My PT said it would take years to get it back to where it was pre-break. Turns out she was right.
    There bugger's these type of fractures , i spent 6 months of heavy - physio on mine with a 2mm gap on the radial - surface , about 10 months in for me now & very pleased with the results so far : Its my crowning achiement

    Got looked after by the best pysio's & doctors : i can still feel it lifting or pulling very - heavy items but i guess thats just strenght of the mind from here guys

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy.B
    There bugger's these type of fractures , i spent 6 months of heavy - physio on mine with a 2mm gap on the radial - surface , about 10 months in for me now & very pleased with the results so far : Its my crowning achiement

    Got looked after by the best pysio's & doctors : i can still feel it lifting or pulling very - heavy items but i guess thats just strenght of the mind from here guys
    hey tommy b, good to hear that you are recovering well. i'm still doing physio (i go bi weekly now, and do the exercises at home 2-3x a week), but its still swollen and painful after almost 9 months. this is due to the dislocation and damage to soft tissue, but its slowly getting better. i'm cleared to mtb once a week, so i do that, and otherwise, i try to walk/run to get outside and stay fit.

    when i combine motions (pronation with the elbow bent, like when you floss your teeth), i hear a crunching noise from the joint--the phsyio folks say thats normal, and will take more time to heal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dth656
    hey tommy b, good to hear that you are recovering well. i'm still doing physio (i go bi weekly now, and do the exercises at home 2-3x a week), but its still swollen and painful after almost 9 months. this is due to the dislocation and damage to soft tissue, but its slowly getting better. i'm cleared to mtb once a week, so i do that, and otherwise, i try to walk/run to get outside and stay fit.

    when i combine motions (pronation with the elbow bent, like when you floss your teeth), i hear a crunching noise from the joint--the phsyio folks say thats normal, and will take more time to heal.
    This is pretty-much the end result of physio & back on the job heading towards 12 months still not quite the full-extention but the strength & elasticity is pretty much there still feel a bit on the outer-edge of the radial : doc reckons that discontinuity in the bone will still continue to heal over time & allowing better extention in the future

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Radial Head Fractures Thoughts?-fracture-001d.jpg  


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    Hey guys I am exactly 1 year and 3 months post accident. I was fine for many months with no pain and 85% full extension.. Well started at the gym last week and now I am in a ton of pain.. I mean I can do a ton of pull ups and push ups, do weight, but then the next day my elbow is very sore and pops and cracks alot and feels like Im losing extension I had.. really sucks! If I stretch my arm out fully it hurts!

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    Interesting thread. Both worrying and encouraging. I am now a whole twenty-two hours in from my crash (so i have a bit of time to surf the net). MTB on road, had just fitted some skinny slick tyres, pushing the speed...went to signal a turn (for my house, so close...) and bam! I'm viewing the sky though my bike frame, which my legs are holding aloft.

    I realise that the left wing is busted in some way, so I get a lift to A&E (where it is very quick service all round), have the scrapes cleaned up, and a couple of x-rays. A pretty clean snap of the radial head. The ortho junior is called over, says it is the worst break of that sort he has seen, tests my range of movement and rotation, (limited, decreasing and painful) orders me plastered shoulder to wrist and says to come back to see the consultant the next morning. Says ( I thought) that I will be in plaster for eight weeks and may need surgery (wiring the head up). Sent off with some 30/500 co-codamol.

    Next morning I am surprised when the consultant's opening gambit is "we'll just take that plaster off" and there is a nurse standing by with a cutter. Whoa! After a chat she says I could keep the cast on for a week, no longer, as the elbow would start to seize. She also says it is a really bad break, but not one requiring surgery. I do have the cast cut off and now have a simple wrist sling, which has left the arm feeling a bit vulnerable. I am also advised that the next week will be quite painful and I must take painkillers on a schedule, even if not in pain at that point (not those co-codamal though, apparently I should be on the floor after them). And, after about three days, I should start trying some movement, and return in three weeks. Hopefully mostly fixed in around eight weeks, but likely to have residual issues for some time, or permanently.

    At the moment, the arm is a bit uncomfortable, rather than in pain. The massively swollen thigh, now that's painful.

    Anyway, that's an epic first post, medals if you have made it this far and I'll try and update after my next appoinment.

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