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Fractured arm, now i can't straighten it
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sdamaged99
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Default Fractured arm, now i can't straighten it - 07-24-2010, 00:04 | posts: 1,945 | Location: Isle of Man

Hi,

I fractured my arm (upper radial) and was in a cast for two weeks. The cast has now came off but i can't straighten my arm out, it's stuck in a 15 degree angle. I can try and force it but it hurts like hell and feels like its locked - i can't even walk without my arm being at a stupid angle (looks like i'm carrying an invisible handbag!)

The hospital have signed me up for physio, but i could be waiting 2-3 months before it starts and i'm worried my arm may be knackered by then

Has this happened to anyone else? Any recommendations?
   
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Finchwizard
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Default 07-24-2010, 00:08 | posts: 16,465 | Location: Locked in Guru3D Server Room. Help!

Well being in a cast and no use it's going to be like I'd imagine.

Just try and straighten it occasionally, but don't force it too much, it will eventually come good.
   
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ShadowMyth
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Default 07-24-2010, 00:14 | posts: 3,494 | Location: PA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finchwizard View Post
Well being in a cast and no use it's going to be like I'd imagine.

Just try and straighten it occasionally, but don't force it too much, it will eventually come good.
+1 Yeah I'd say try & move it occasionally, it will eventually loosen up. I'd also try hot/cold packs. Just give it time.
   
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Default 07-24-2010, 00:39 | posts: 4,149

Welcome to the guru3d emergency room, please take a seat over there

The wait time is currently 5 minutes; Our completely unqualified personnel will be with you shortly.
   
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flat3sand5s
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Default 07-24-2010, 01:03 | posts: 124 | Location: Arizona

2 weeks and out of the cast, that's amazing! All my busted stuff took 6 or 7 and all the affected body parts looked and felt like twigs. Give it time, things return to normal agter a while.
   
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Default 07-24-2010, 01:05 | posts: 4,525 | Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Originally Posted by dustpuppy View Post
welcome to the guru3d emergency room, please take a seat over there

the wait time is currently 5 minutes; our completely unqualified personnel will be with you shortly.
qft!
   
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scoutingwraith
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Default 07-24-2010, 01:11 | posts: 9,449 | Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

Well i had that happening to my leg but i was in a cast for 2+ months. For this go see a doctor really.......
   
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AJ˛06
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Default 07-24-2010, 01:19 | posts: 4,854 | Location: USA

While its normal to have limited range of motion after breaking something, just go see your doctor to be safe if you are that concerned.

Last edited by AJ˛06; 07-24-2010 at 01:21.
   
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Default 07-24-2010, 01:21 | posts: 807 | Location: SC

It takes time dude, when any joint is in a cast it creates a pocket of natural lubrication that pools up and makes it hard to move. just give it a little bit and it will wear away and you will be fine, just keep trying to move it or the pocket could become permanent.
   
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Default 07-24-2010, 01:43 | posts: 1,553

I had such fracture and spent exactly the same amount of time with my hand in the plaster... However, I had two changes of plaster, during which docs tried to slightly move my hand. And when they finally took the plaster off, doc just straightened my hand by force. It didn't hurt, and I was able to move it just fine right after that. So I guess they should have done the same to you. Maybe it's not too late to ask your doc for some additional assistance.
   
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nvlddmkm
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Default 07-24-2010, 01:47 | posts: 4,191 | Location: Indiana

I broke tibia and fibula in both legs a while back. When I was able to walk unaided, it took several months for my ankles to get to where they would have normal range of motion.
   
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Default 07-24-2010, 04:48 | posts: 366 | Location: Sydney, Australia

That's a bit of a worry. My brother broke his forearm when he was around 8. Unfortunately, the doctor didn't set the bones properly, left him with a crooked forearm, close to the wrist region. Luckily my mother reacted quickly, after the cast was removed. She told the doctor there was a problem, he did an x-ray and promptly re-broke the bone and properly set it right. Sad times. But he's 100% now.

Good luck buddy.
   
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Default 07-24-2010, 05:44 | posts: 3,445 | Location: Florida

4 years ago I had a car accident and fractured my left ankle and had it in a cast for about 2 months and when they took the cast off it was hard fr me to walk cause at 1st it felt like needles going into my foot and ankle but after about 2 or 3 months of walking it came back to normal for walking at least took a bit longer for me to start running again though.
   
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Default 07-24-2010, 05:54 | posts: 2,667 | Location: Austin Tx

i broke my toe it still hurts
   
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loquefxp
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Default 07-24-2010, 06:07 | posts: 127 | Location: Cambridge

Don't worry im a nurse! No really! hehe.. You need a Registered Physio to get you loosened up again and for professional advice (Ooh that sounds naughty) lol.. After seeing the Doctor again of course for a referial. Im assuming since you fractured the top section of your Radial bone, the cast covered your elbow? If this was the case, the reduction in movement of your biceps brachii tendon caused the tendon and surrounding bicep muscle to lose tone and elasticity..

I'd imagine you had a hairline fracture if the cast was only on for 2 weeks? have you had another Xray since it was removed? If I were you, I'd keep it moving as much as you can tolerate (flex your bicep with your arm in a relaxed position) and wear a soft support sling when you go out to protect it (and so you don't look like a nob).. use a pillowcase or something
   
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Chouji
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Default 07-24-2010, 06:36 | posts: 5,632 | Location: In a house, on a hill, by a road.

Dr. Takahashi, at your service.
It's normal for your arm to be stiff and have trouble straightening out after having a cast removed. It can take up to a month before you get full motion of it again.
In some cases longer.

Take some pain killers, and take a warm shower, but not too hot, and move your arm while running it under warm water to help blood flow.
Try sleeping on your back with your arms to your side. Let gravity do the work for you.
   
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nm+
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Default 07-24-2010, 06:51 | posts: 10,373 | Location: Not Minneapolis

Talk to a doctor, not the internet. Jeebus.
   
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dchalf10
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Default 07-24-2010, 07:05 | posts: 4,035

Dude I have broken so many bones it's insane. I've broken each wrist 3-4 times each a few fingers 2 toes, my elbow and nose... it's obviously not something to brag about but what can you do if not laugh.

Don't worry about it, and don't force your elbow, let the bone recover first and then you can work on building the tendons and muscles back up. When you get your cast off, your arm will be so thin it's insane, muscle degeneration is crazy fast when 100% unused. But you just have to take it each, when you get it off, use stress ball, just squeezed it for 10 minutes a few times a day and it will help strengthen your wrist and elbow. Then after a little bit, start using some really really light weights ( rushing it is only ever a bad thing ) maybe 1-2kg and do 30-50 reps a few times a day. Then get some 5kg weights and do 30-50 reps after 2 more weeks etc.

I fractured my scaphoid bone in my wrist and my wrist doesn't bend back at a right angle anymore when I stretch it....only about 75 degrees, which suck knowing i'm f-ed for life....and I fractured my radial head in my elbow skating... I rushed it and f-ed myself up at work. Just do wrist exercises and some light weights, in the mean time, just chill and watch TV...

P.S there is nothing more exciting than having to have a shower with your hand up in the air with a plastic bag over your cast so it doesn't get wet...or watching as your friends swim in your pool while you sit and watch.

Last edited by dchalf10; 07-24-2010 at 07:09.
   
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sdamaged99
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Default 07-24-2010, 09:48 | posts: 1,945 | Location: Isle of Man

Thanks for the advice guys. I'm booked to see the doctor next week so he may refer me back to hospital for a double check. You're damn right about the arm losing muscle as well! My arm was a pretty decent size, now it's nowhere near the size of my right arm! Crazy stuff. Looks like i've been doing something excessively :-)

Cheers

Last edited by sdamaged99; 07-24-2010 at 09:51.
   
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Pablo
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Default 07-24-2010, 10:10 | posts: 1,578 | Location: UK

Get yourself a handbag then, then it wont look quite so odd as having an imaginary one.


Hang on a minute, NO maybe not... he he.
   
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Andrés
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Default 07-24-2010, 19:05 | posts: 4,525 | Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Quote:
Originally Posted by dchalf10 View Post
Dude I have broken so many bones it's insane. I've broken each wrist 3-4 times each a few fingers 2 toes, my elbow and nose....
   
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nutyo
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Default 07-25-2010, 03:52 | posts: 4,601 | Location: Brisbane, Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by loquefxp View Post
Don't worry im a nurse! No really! hehe.. You need a Registered Physio to get you loosened up again and for professional advice (Ooh that sounds naughty) lol.. After seeing the Doctor again of course for a referial. Im assuming since you fractured the top section of your Radial bone, the cast covered your elbow? If this was the case, the reduction in movement of your biceps brachii tendon caused the tendon and surrounding bicep muscle to lose tone and elasticity..

I'd imagine you had a hairline fracture if the cast was only on for 2 weeks? have you had another Xray since it was removed? If I were you, I'd keep it moving as much as you can tolerate (flex your bicep with your arm in a relaxed position) and wear a soft support sling when you go out to protect it (and so you don't look like a nob).. use a pillowcase or something
I'm a Physiotherapy Student in my final year graduating in a few short months. The advice in loquefxp's post is golden, listen to it. Secondly there is no need to panic, it is completely normal with any sort of immobilisation to lose range of motion. It can be gained back.

Unfortunately being over the net there is just so much information I need before I can give you a treatment plan or proper advice, some of which you may not know. I am assuming you had it conservatively managed since you didn't mention surgery. What kind of fracture was it? (Avulsion/transverse/spiral/comminuted/etc.) How did you do it? Are there any other fractures? Do you have any significant soft tissue damage? Has there been good reduction and alignment of the fracture? Without seeing x-rays or getting a handover from the treating doctor, I can only give you very conservative advice to make sure that everything is safe. Upper limb fractures generally take around 4 weeks to achieve proper union so for the next couple of weeks I would not push into end of range techniques.

1. Move the elbow as often and as much as possible within pain. Do not push past pain. This includes bending and straightening the elbow as well as rotating your forearm as if you were turning a door knob.
2. Either self massage or, preferably, get some one to massage your biceps using their thumbs using strong but tolerable pressure up the length of the biceps. Don't go across it.

That should keep you from losing any more range and probably gaining more by the time you see someone in person. Again these techniques are safe and conservative and while there are much more aggressive and effective ranging techniques I can't recommend them without knowing exactly what the situation is with your arm.

Hope this helped at least a little bit.

Last edited by nutyo; 07-25-2010 at 03:54.
   
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Marduk-
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Default 07-25-2010, 04:05 | posts: 679 | Location: Australia

I would see a physio and they can probably help you with some exercises if you are really concerned about it.
   
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Chouji
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Default 07-25-2010, 04:31 | posts: 5,632 | Location: In a house, on a hill, by a road.

if you guys didn't notice, his issue isn't really an issue at all. it's just common stiffness after getting the cast removed.

Often times people think once they get the cast off, it'll immediately be good as new.
He didn't mention how long he had the cast off. After a week he should see some improvement, and have almost full movement after a month.
Just because the cast is off, doesn't mean the arm is fully healed either.
It just means it's strong enough it no longer requires a cast.

Think concrete, it you can take it out of the mold after 24-48 hours, but it could take months, or in some cases years to fully dry.

But it's still good he's seeing a doctor, even if the doctor just tells him it's normal. There could be something else in play we cant see from here so it's always good to have it checked out, as with all medical problems.
   
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Default 07-25-2010, 06:02 | posts: 855

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustpuppy View Post
Welcome to the guru3d emergency room, please take a seat over there

The wait time is currently 5 minutes; Our completely unqualified personnel will be with you shortly.
LOL EPIC!
Hahahaha, but i still don't see any problem asking here
We get something to talk about and people can share experiences
   
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