Question - Radial Head Fracture

by Linda
(Tauranga, New Zealand)

This is not a sports injury, but 3 months ago I got hit by a reversing car. Once of my injuries was a radial head fracture to my right elbow. Even though the fracture should have healed by now I am having constant pain, clicking, catching, and a snapping sensation.

I have had about 10 sessions of physiotherapy to try to reach full extension, but this has not worked so I was referred to a specialist who just advised me to stop physiotherapy and it was going to take about six months to heal and just get on with life as best as I could. I am not entirely happy with this diagnosis and would appreciate any suggestions you may have.

Many thanks

Linda

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Aug 16, 2008
Radial head fractures...
by: Bart - SII

The problem with this type of fracture is the way the radial head has to move during elbow motion. When you move your forearm, turning your wrist over, the radial head must rotate within the joint. A fracutre usually significantly reduces this movement, causing problems with extension, as well as forearm pronation and supination (turning your hand over)

Did your PT involve any joint mobilizations or soft tissue massage around the radial head? This will often help return extension and decrease pain.

Sometimes, it is beneficial to stop therapy for a few weeks, take time to just live life, and let your motion come back naturally. However, it is a good idea to keep an eye on how you are doing and make sure to follow up in a few weeks if you are not improving.

4-6 months for recovery is a normal timeline for this injury.

Bart

Aug 18, 2008
RADIAL HEAD FRACTURE
by: LINDA

To Bart,

Firstly I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

My PT did apply soft tissue massage around the radial head. I have stopped physiotherapy for now and I am just going to let nature take its course and look forward to being completely recovered within the next few months.

Kind Regards,
Linda

Aug 20, 2008
Good Luck!
by: Bart - SII

You are very welcome!

Good luck with your continued recovery.

Bart

Jul 18, 2009
Injury
by: Leonard

Iam A Chef in santa Fe NM I Fellat work cooking and received a radial head fracture to my right elbow i dont have full range motion im stuck at 30 degrees i was at 40 it wont move am i ever gonna have full motion

Jul 18, 2009
Injury
by: Leonard

Iam A Chef in santa Fe NM I Fellat work cooking and received a radial head fracture to my right elbow i dont have full range motion im stuck at 30 degrees i was at 40 it wont move am i ever gonna have full motion

Aug 02, 2009
RADIAL HEAD FRACTURE
by: LINDA

IT HAS BEEN OVER 12 MONTHS SINCE I BROKE MY ELBOW AND IT HAS TAKEN THIS LONG TO OBTAIN FULL MOTION. I DID ATTEND PT WHICH HELPED WITH EXTENSION AND THE FRACTURE HEALED WELL, BUT I STILL SUFFER WITH A VERY SORE ARM SOME DAYS, IT DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH PHYSICAL WORK I HAVE BEEN DOING. BUT THATS NOT TO SAY YOUR FRACTURE WILL TAKE THAT LONG IT DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH MUSCLE AND NERVE DAMAGE YOU SUFFERED. HAVE YOU BEEN TO A PT. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR RECOVERY.

Aug 26, 2009
help with radial head fracture
by: leen321

hi; I fractured ny radial head of my dominant arm. X-ray report stated.. fracture of the radial head with extension into thr articular surface with slght distraction of the fracture fragments.

I did this 1 week ago. when i bent my arm at the elbow palm of hand facing me my elbow locked and I could not touch my shoulder with my palm. The only treatment plan I have is to stay in this half hard cast for two weeks than begin therapy. I am afraid mt ROM will nrver be the same An ideas? excuse the typing

Sep 02, 2009
I'm almost there
by: Anonymous

I fell with my arm extended and broke the radial head in my non-dominant arm. This was 7 weeks ago. It was casted for the 1st two weeks. Then I began therapy myself to work on getting full extension. Did not go to a therapist. I have now achieved that and can bend it to touch my shoulder, though not without pain. Doc says from my most recent x-ray that the bone is still not yet completely healed. Must continue to be careful. Worked very hard to achieve the full extension. Exercised 2x a day initially at 2 weeks post fracture and then 3x day since then. Worked up to about 70 extension stretched and then the same number of bends by the 4th week post fracture holding for 10 and then short stretches and bends 70 times. I am of the opinion, that in order to achieve full extension and flex you must work very hard at it. And it is going to be painful. You know what they say, no pain no gain. Keep working and you will get there.

Oct 06, 2009
radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

Ifell leaving a restaurant and fractured the radial head of right elbow. Dr. has stated I will prob not be able to extend my arm straight out ever. I was put in a sling (no cast) and it seems to aggravate my pain. Is it normal to have pain from the elbow down to the hand? I have been put on therapy 2 weekly for 5 weeks and report back to the DR. I am elderly and I dont look for a fast recovery. What are your thoughts?

Oct 06, 2009
Radial head fracture
by: Kathy

Hi Anonymous:

I'm in a similar situation - I broke my radial head almost 5 weeks ago, and was in a sling (no cast) for about 3 weeks. I still have almost constant pain, but for the first two weeks especially I did have pain that radiated all the way down to my hand. My doctor told me that this was normal, as there are some nerves in the elbow that run all the way down to the hand, especially in the area of your ring and pinkie fingers. I think we both have a long road ahead of us, so good luck.

Oct 07, 2009
radial head injury
by: Anonymous

I fractured my radial head 8 weeks ago. I have been doing pt for 8 weeks and I still cant straighten arm. My doctor has ordered a JAS brace to help straighten arm. My pain has increased since my injury. Has anyone had same problem, and ever used this brace?

Oct 08, 2009
bi lateral radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

I experienced the clicking, and now with autumn coming I can feel a dull thudding pain that I think I am stuck with

My Own story
============
I was knocked off my push bike and managed to have my two elbows broken (non displaced radial head fracture).
Initially I was put in 2 casts - however a second opinion had the casts removed , replaced with slings and exercises.
After about 2 weeks, the constant pain stopped - and i have recovered as much as I will. I have good ROM and can touch my shoulders with little pain. The PT was painful, but beneficial.
I was glad to be out of the casts as it accelerated the healing.

it is the dull constant pain when it rains that irks me most - will this continue?

Oct 19, 2009
Radial Head Fracture
by: Anonymous

I fractured my radial head in April of 2009. Initially treated with sling until could tolerate pain. Did extensive physical therapy for 3 months. Gained extension to -25 degrees.

I have intense pain that shoots down my forearm and into my biceps whenever I put any weight on my arm.

I went for a second opinion today from another orthopedic surgeon. He said that I have a crater in my radial head where it did not heal. He is sending me for a nerve conduction test as he thinks I may have some sort of nerve entrapment. He is also recommending a radial head replacement.

Has anyone undergone this procedure and what was your experience? It has been seven months since I fractured my elbow and I need resolution.

Oct 20, 2009
Fractured radial head Sob Story
by: Mac

In 2001 I fell and broke that pesky little bone in my right elbow. The doctor at the time had the same fracture and told me it would never be 100%. (he was correct) He said to move it as much as possible, even though it smarted, but for several months, I found that impossible, it smarted like the dickens.
It took about five years until I could stretch my arm out straight, and even still, it feels 'tight' at the elbow. This I accomplished by holding it out straight, palm up, and pushing under my elbow with my left hand.
The past few years it's been manageable, although if I've done a lot of heavy lifting, I can amaze my friends with all the snap, crackle and pop sounds I can make.
I'm a piano player in Calgary and it's a good thing I'm a hack from way back, because had I'd been a concert pianist, this definitely would have been career ending. Lucky me.
Also, when I close my right hand fingers into a fist, the middle finger locks, and I can't straighten it out unless I snap it back with my left hand. The doctor said this was a severed tendon I got as a bonus. I don't know if this is part of the fractured radial head injury, or a separate injury that occurred at the same time.
So, eight years later this dam thing still occasionally bugs the hell out of me, and I'm thinking about surgery, but would it wind up worse? Plus, in Calgary, Alberta, the health care system is in a state of chaos, the wait times are lenghthy, and I can't afford the time off work.
I hope my comments are helpful to others afflicted with this stupid injury.
Mac, Calgary

Oct 20, 2009
Six weeks later
by: Anonymous

I fell on my outstretched left hand and shattered my radial plate in four pieces. The following morning I flew cross-country back home with my arm in a sling, nothing else, what a journey. A week later, the surgeon removed the bone fragments and inserted a titanium pin. Two days later, I was out of a splint and exercising, with PT, very tentatively. I thought it would be healed by now -- I've been doing my exercises religiously -- but I feel as much, if not more pain now, though I have decent range of motion (can't touch my shoulder, though) and it's impossible to straighten my arm. Foolishly, I tried to carry heavy grocery bags the other day, thinking I was exercising the arm and forcing it to get straighter. No one mentioned that this might not be a good thing. The arm was excruciatingly painful for 48 hours. Typing causes pain, especially in the shoulder area, and I'm a writer, so that's depressing. I had no idea the healing would take this long and wish there was more information on the subject so that I could have managed my expectations accordingly. What a relief, through this site, to find out that I'm not the only one with ongoing pain.

Doctor said "no pain, no gain" and therapist said "listen to your body." Not sure which advice to follow!

Oct 22, 2009
Radial head fracture with ORIF
by: Anonymous

I broke my non-dominant radial head while tailgating at a football game believe it or not! Tripped over a cornhole game while playing catch with a football in a parking lot. I had two opinions: 1) Surgery with possible screws and/or plate or replacement 2) No surgery and see how I feel. I went forward with the surgery due to the amount of nerve pain I was experiencing. It ended up being the right decision because my bone fragement was stuck in my elbow joint and I would not have been able to ever extend my arm. The fragment was screwed back into the radius and I am now 3 weeks post surgery. I am able to type but cannot straigten my arm and do not have good range of motion with my hand. My Dr. just referred me to P.T. and recommended the JAS brace. I've heard it's rather expensive so PT hopefully help me get some range of motion back. From reading the below posts, it appears this may be a long battle!

Oct 28, 2009
Arm tingling
by: Anonymous

I had a radial fracture in August of 2008. The only treatment I had was a sling and home exercises.
Last week Ive begun to have tingling in my elbow down to my hand.
Has anyone experienced this?

Nov 23, 2009
My recovery
by: Barry

It's been 4 weeks since I broke my radial head. (non displaced, non dominant).

I fell 8 feet off a wall and landed on my outstretched arm. Had NO movement for a week. I was put in a collar and cuff (sling) and told to rest it. Second week I started my own exercises at home, moving my are slowly and gripping things. But as little rotation as possible, this I have read is bad for recovery. During weeks 2 and 3 I had tingling along my arm from my elbow to my hand when touched.... felt like nerve damage that I had in broken nose.

Week four and I have full extension and nearly full rotation with little pain...only soreness is if I have and flat on ground and try to apply pressure (as if push up). This i am told is due to sever tendon damage from the fall....like a sprained wrist.

hope this helps and good luck with your recoverys...looks like i got lucky

Nov 23, 2009
update
by: Kathy

Well, I am now almost 11 weeks post-injury and am extremely frustrated. I'm in constant (though fortunately not excruciating) pain, have quite a bit of fatigue, and am still about 35 degrees away from full extension. I am now in a hard splint which I wear at night in an attempt to force my arm to get straight. So far it has done nothing except ruin my sleeping. I actually have less mobility than when I started using it.

I'm sorry to be a downer, but if you are going through this, stay on your doctor like white on rice and make sure they are doing everything they can for you. Push the issue. I believed what I now think is my doctor's lackadaisical attitude, and now I'm wondering if I'll ever regain full motion. At this point, it seems unlikely.

Dec 01, 2009
Keep going people!!
by: Knit Bones

I fell and fractured my radial head in my left arm 6 weeks ago. (On my way into my first day of work and all!)

The doctor told me the same thing as I am hearing here; that you will never be 100%, well that is complete BS because today at my physiotherepy I was mesured at zero degrees - perfect.

I am a fashion student, not an exercise person at all, but I refused to believe that doctor and now he cannot believe my arm!

Full extention, can bend right up to my shoulder, and turn my palm any way I please! I started my physio after 2 and a half weeks and have been doing a bit everyday, it is still tender, I'm not going to over-do anything right now.

I say believe in yourself and that all your little cells can help you and know you better than some negative bloody doctor!!

Dec 09, 2009
Radial Head Facture - undisplaced
by: Anonymous

Hi everyone,

I fell and broke my nondominant radial head 5 days ago. In ER, I was told that I have non-displaced radial head fracture. I was put into sling and was sent home. My elbow got really swollen the next day and still is. The day after, I noticed a large bruise over my elbow.

I don't have pain at rest, but when I move my arm it starts to hurt. My pronation and supination movements are getting better, but my flexion/extension is very limited. The arm feels very heavy when I move it.

I have not seen an orthopedic surgeon yet, but I have an appointment coming up. I know it's been less than a week since my injury, but I already trying to exercise my arm at home. I try to turn it up and down, and flex and extend it to my limits. I also started carrying light things to get my muscle power back.

I wish everyone fast recovery.

Dec 10, 2009
Re:
by: Knit Bones

To the last comment! don't exercise it for at least two weeks!! I had the exact same pain an sensation you're talking about at first but I got to see a physio nurse 2 and a half weeks after my fall and thats when you need to start, she said it takes two weeks for the fracture to bind, so please don't exercise before that!! So sore!!

Dec 13, 2009
Complete radial head replacement
by: Anonymous

I fell about 4 months ago over forklift blades that were left up. I had a full radial head replacement, and then 3 months later a follow up under anethesia manipulation. I still do not have full range of motion. I have been using a JAS brace for 2 months, too. I currently only have a rom of 40 to 120 is driving me a bit nuts.
I have been to physical therapy twice a week for four months, and work on my therapy 3 times a day.

Any added suggestions on how to get full extension? Or the next thing I should look into?

Please advise.

Dec 20, 2009
Radial Head Fracture
by: Al

Bah - just my luck to get this injury!

Week 2 for me. Week one it was just cracked, week 2 it has separated from the bone. Week 3 x-ray in a couple of days and I'm hoping for some re-attachment of bone, but I'm not hopeful as I nearly hit the roof the other day when my 2yr old tripped and fell and I lunged out for her only to un-intentionally extend my arm! Ow!

Did it cycling when some girl clipped my rear wheel on her bike and took me down. At least I put my foot through her expensive carbon wheels in the process :-P

Dec 31, 2009
radial head
by: Anonymous

I fell at work and broke the radial head in my elbow.

Happened 6th Dec 2009. Had operation on 29th Dec (2 days ago).

Advised by physio to start joint movement right away. befoe opewration pain was bad and as a guitarist thought I'd never play again. However today pain is gone and I amplaying again although there is no doubt that it'll be sometime before I am gig ready. But really I can see real progress so things are very very positive.

I was told not operating was not an option, especially if i wanted to play guitar again.

I was told to start rotation exercise right away and i have to say that this is esential for guitar players!

Jan 10, 2010
Rt Radial Head Fracture
by: Ferngrrrl

I was treated at a little hospital in Jasper Alberta immeidately after the fall & fortunately,received an injection of Tordol [anti-iflammatory] which allowed me to get through the night and reduce swelling. The attending physician preferred a sling to prevent the elbow joint from seizing. The pain was deep, achy and intense and of course, I was unable to extend the arm or rotate the hand at all. I was able to track down topical arnica gel and took homeopathic symphytum and Bach Oak tincture until I could see my naturopath in Ontario [day 7] who gave me BFC cream [bone, flesh, cartilage], arnica homeopathic and supplements [B complex, D,Cal/mag - it is an osteoporosis formulation]. I am applying the cream and taking the supplements and also had one treatment of accupuncture and a TENS to the painful bicep area [day 9]. My healing took a dramatic turn after this. It is now day 12 and extension and rotation are improving daily and better than I expected at this point. I will continue cream, supplements and a few more accupuncture treatments for 4 - 6 weeks in total. I would highly recommend a qualified naturopath who can work to support your healing once the medical folks have assessed the damage.

Jan 15, 2010
Unable to supinate arm after radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

I tripped over ice and broke my right radial head 10 days ago. Was splinted for a few days, then in a sling. CT showed no displacement of fracture. Started PT 2 days ago. Have been unable to supinate forearm past neutral (thumb up)position since injury. PT is excruciating during any motion past neutral. Extension is limited, but not nearly as painful as rotation. I understand this will be a painful recovery, but this seems beyond what is reasonable. Any thoughts?

Jan 15, 2010
Re: Unable to supinate arm after radial head fracture
by: Knit Bones

About your comment, rotating your arm, the physio told me that the bone needs at least 14 days to knit, so I would seriously put off trying to rotate your arm up for another week, as it's not really healed enough to try to move it.

I feel your pain, that was the sorest part of the physio for me, but it will be less sore and you will be able to get it moving again!

Jan 15, 2010
response
by: Anonymous

I agree about the supination. It's really not been long enough for you to be performing this motion. I'm still having pain, and I'm 4 months post-injury. The first three weeks were excruiciating, and I had NO supination ability without major pain until about 2 months post-injury. Now there is still some pain, but only a little. Don't rush it - if you do this too soon you can re-injure the bone which could make your injury worse. Just give it a little time. :)

Jan 24, 2010
any help would be appreciated
by: 22andstressed

I have a question for anybody out with an answer. Unfortunately suffered a broken radial head in my dominant arm (right) playing beaseball two weeks ago. i have already been thru surgery and just started rehab. my doc just took out the couple pieces that broke off the RH and sealed it back up. i have got almost all of my range of motion back,w/is great... but when i put any weight on the thing, like a push up type excersise it pops all over the place. it pops when coming back from full extension or when i move the elbow with any kind weight in my hand when the elbow is raised above my chest. its really strange and uncomfortable. im starting to get worried that its going to be all messed up forever. if i wasn't such and active person i wouldn't really care. but I race motorcycles and i just joined the military and can't even do one push up. has anybody else had this popping problem, and if so did it go away eventually or did you get stuck with it? or should i consider radial head replacement surgery?

Jan 24, 2010
any help would be appreciated
by: 22andstressed

I have a question for anybody out with an answer. Unfortunately suffered a broken radial head in my dominant arm (right) playing beaseball two weeks ago. i have already been thru surgery and just started rehab. my doc just took out the couple pieces that broke off the RH and sealed it back up. i have got almost all of my range of motion back,w/is great... but when i put any weight on the thing, like a push up type excersise it pops all over the place. it pops when coming back from full extension or when i move the elbow with any kind weight in my hand when the elbow is raised above my chest. its really strange and uncomfortable. im starting to get worried that its going to be all messed up forever. if i wasn't such and active person i wouldn't really care. but I race motorcycles and i just joined the military and can't even do one push up. has anybody else had this popping problem, and if so did it go away eventually or did you get stuck with it? or should i consider radial head replacement surgery?

Jan 25, 2010
Get a second opinion
by: Anonymous

I broke my radial head in my dominant arm 4 months ago. I did not have surgery as the doctor felt it was not needed. I wore a sling for 2 months and started therapy a week after the sling was removed.
With each visit to the doctor, I complained of pain in my elbow, wrist and hand as well as stiffness. The doctor just said keep up with therapy twice a week and do my home program. I went for a second opinion and a c-scan was done which showed that my arm did not heal and there was still a crack in the radial head. I go for surgery next week for the radial head replacement. If you feel that something is not right, get a second opinion because x-rays and doctors are not always 100% right.

Jan 29, 2010
Extreme heat
by: Anonymous

I fractured my radial head 12 days ago,and was given a sling and told to come back for an xray after 2 weeks. I can move it a fair amount, although its pretty weak still. Does anyone suffer in the evenings with your arm becoming red hot? My elbow is always worse in the evenings having a deep ache and being incredibly restless, but the heat is unbearable, i go through ice packs that still dont cool it down!Until i read this page i didn't realise how long the recovery would be, my doctor seemed to rush me in as quickly as he rushed me out.

Wishing everyone a speedy recovery

Feb 08, 2010
Radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

I just returned from my 10 day follow up visit for a fall I had on an icy driveway.When I fell, I landed my elbow then my hand. I waited a day and when the swelling didn't reduce even with ice and the throbbing continued despite motrin, I went to the orthopaedist and was examined. I had x-rays and no fracture showed up although she felt it was a radial head fracture and put me in a sling. The doc had me come back today and she ordered another x-ray. THis time the fracture (like a crack in a teacup) showed up. The doc tells me that it could take 8-12 weeks before I feel better and I should continue to use the sling on and off, but that some motion is best. Continue to ice and move it gently. Take motrin for the throbbing (which feels like a bad toothache). .elbow hurt the most for the first few days and for the last three days the pain has been down my forearm. The doc took another x-ray

Feb 09, 2010
doesn't sound good
by: jen

I fell on my way to class, and threw my arm out to catch myself as soon as I stood up I was unable to put my arm out straight. I have been told that I have a radial head fracture it has been two weeks and is still very painful to do any movement my doctor told me to start moving several times a day I try but am unable to get very much movement without alot of pain. I work as a kindergarten aide and am concerned about how long I will be off work, I only have eight sick days accumulated. Does anyone know how long this usually takes?

Feb 21, 2010
radial head fracture
by: Luckyduck

I'm 25 years old. I had a radial head fracture on 12-9-09...I fell off a platform at my work. I didn't need to have surgery. The doctor said my bone was in a good spot. Its been about 2 1/2 months but I can say it is gradually getting better. I basically have full motion of my arm, although my arm is very weak since I haven't been able to move it. The biggest problem Im having is the movement of straighting my arm, I can do it but my elbow feels really tight and has a clicking or snapping feeling. I had another X-ray done and the doctor said my bone healed perfect, but it takes 4-6 months to fully heal. And the doctor said my elbow had alot of inflammation in it, and he said I have to fight through it. Also I have attempted a "push up" My arm feels like it has the strength but every time i do it my elbow makes a popping or snapping sound. I just hope its all better after 6 months is over.

Feb 25, 2010
elbow
by: Anonymous

hi i had a question for anyone willing to answer it. i had a radial head fracture in the middel of november 09 and am still haing problems. the last xray i had in mid december showed my bone was almost completely healed and my doc told me to lose the sling but i am still in pain. i cant straighten and can barely touch my elbow . it is also extremely swollen. i do not have constant pain tho only when i move it wrong. any ideas??

Feb 27, 2010
stick with it - it takes time
by: Anonymous

I broke my right radial head in a cycling crash 6 months ago. I began early movement after 2 wks. Its a very painful and SLOW process so be prepared. After a few months I was able to get back in the gym and begin strengthening my forearm for increased stability. After six months of hard training I am able to perform any exercise and my ROM as returned although it is still very creaky and pops often.


Just stick with strengthening your forearm and upper arm after the bone has healed completely and understand that it is a long process that calls for serious discipline.

Can't wait to get back on the bicycle this season!!

Mar 02, 2010
Radial Head Recovery
by: David

I'm 27, fell with my arm extended playing basketball a month ago. I had the radial head reattached with 4 screws, and started therapy 1 week after. The first session, I had extremely limited motion, extension and flexion around 45 degrees and rotation of less than 10 degrees. Three weeks of therapy has led to almost complete extension and flexion, and rotation. The doctor was amazed one month out from injury of movement. I do have difficulty with lifting anything with my hand. It causes a pulling sensation at the elbow that radiates down to my hand. The therapist said to keep practicing home exercises in order to maintain and improve range of motion.

Mar 11, 2010
radial heAD fracture
by: Anonymous

hi i fractured my radial head on my dominant arm in october 2009 was in a cast for 4 days then had surgery had on screw put in! felt great to be out the cast as it was hurting my wrist being in the cast its been 5 months now and i have been doing my strething trying to straighten my arm palms up and pushing my palm down wid my left hand! i am lifting light weights to help and trying to build my tricpes as they are the muscles that help straighten ur arm! i can rotate my arm now without pain but in the mornings can be little stiff! i can touch my shoulder with my fingers now but not without pain but pain is going away now thankfully....main problem still is not full extention almost there im working really hard on it...im sure it can be done not gonna give up hope im 28 and use 2 weight train so i wanna get back in training im not gonna give up...... Just keep on moveing ur arm if u dont use it u lose it lol by the way i had pt for about 10 sessions he said im improveing so they discharged me and told me to carry on with movements...build those triceps

Mar 13, 2010
Seems like a slow recovery process
by: Stievie

I fell when I was out running on 25 January. I thought my arm was just badly bruised, but, sfter a week in pain, I went to hospital, got x-rayed, and was told I had a radial head fracture. Although I am having intensive physio, and do the exercises I have been given religiously, I cannot extend my arm fully and the pain still sometimes wakes me up at night. My arm creaks and cracks alarmingly when I do the exercises. Acupuncture has been effective in relieving the pain and relaxing the tight muscles around the elbow. It is a relief to hear that others have had the same experience, but depressing that it seems as if it will be a long haul to get full movement back, if ever.

Apr 03, 2010
Lucky me
by: daniel

I fractured my radial head on March 21 around 3pm. I drove my ATC off an embankment, or a small cliff to me. Fell about 12 feet straight down, landed on my left side with my left arm extended as if I was trying to stop myself. First off I cannot believe how much pain I went through the first 2 days. Went to the ER later that night, they said all I did was fracture my elbow, nothing else, which is weird because my whole arm hurts in different places when I move it, especially wrist, forearm and elbow. The pumped me full of dilaudid and put a splint on with a sling.

Went and saw the Ortho doc today(3-25-10) and he said it was a small fracture and I probably won't like this, but I should take it out of the sling within a day or two and just start slowly doing stretches. That's it! I asked a lot of questions, but he said at my age(32) and with a minor fracture, surgery isn't worth the risk and a cast will only result in lack of mobility later??

For the first 2 days I couldn't sleep hardly at all and was in almost constant extreme pain the whole time, even on percocet. Starting last night, the pain started easing up a bit and I could slowly start to move my arm and hand around. I am typing now, but I have to move hand slowly. I can't get my even close to straight and when I move just about any part of my arm/hand it hurts. I have move real slow. I can just barely start to lift my arm up off something under it's own power. And my hand is still really swollen.

After all the bad stuff I have been reading, I will call my pcp tomorrow and schedule a visit with another ortho doc.

I sure wish I got a video of me flying off that trail. I can still see the whole thing. It was like I did a body slam from 12 feet onto the rocks. Yeah, the wash/creek I flew into was filled with rocks. I'm amazed that's all that happened, other than some nasty bruises and cuts, and a head cracking
minor concussion. And the 3 wheeler was ok too, minor damage, started up after about 10minutes.

Update 4-3-10

Have an appointment in a couple days for a 2nd opinion. I know it's a little late, but I still want one. Still have pretty much constant pain. Very little if not moving arm, but I have to be very careful twisting my hand, too much and it feels like a knife going inside.

Almost 2 weeks now and I have regained a lot of ROM back, close to full extension, maybe 15-20 degrees, guessing. About 6 inches from touching my shoulder, but still have very little grip strength or load bearing ability. I leaned over the bath tub to grab something and extended my arm out and put my hand against the wall to hold me, big mistake. So much pain I almost gave in and fell into the tub. Just that little pressure of leaning over a couple feet is too much weight.

Anyways, at least I didn't break might right arm. That would be a disaster!

Apr 04, 2010
return comment
by: jen

I commented before about my radial head fracture has been two and a half months, doctor had me start therapy two weeks ago. My arm is getting more ROM but is still not very strong. Tried to open dryer door and still to weak and alot of pain. Cracks all night long with every movement. But I am supposed to go back to work in two weeks hope that there is still alot more improvement before then. Wish all quick healing.

Apr 04, 2010
JAS Splint use
by: Anonymous

My last comment was several months ago. I killed my arm by falling over upraised forklift blades.

I havr been using a JAS splint 6 times a day for almost 3 months. Still have very limited ROM around 40 to 105. Has anyone else used one of these splints? How long before you saw any improvement?

The doctor is talking about a second manipulation under anethesia. Any other suggestions will be helpful. I had a full radial head replacement in August.

Apr 07, 2010
Radial Head Shattered
by: Nate

Last year on May 7, 2009 became the worst day of my life. I am a teacher and after school one of my colleagues came running frantically about a kid being jumped. Me and a few teachers went to see what was going on and once we arrived on the scene, we yelled at the kids and told them to go home. They wouldn't listen so I decided to jump the gate and try to stop a situation from going really bad. BIG MISTAKE!!!

The gate was 6.5' and when leaped to the top, my right foot didn't make it over and I came down all 245lbs on my right elbow and then my face. No one could ever pay (even a billion dollars) to relive that experience. The ambulance tried bend my arm in a splint and the guy almost got knocked out by me. Then they decided to do an air-splint which required no bending. This was a better option but was EXTREMELY PAINFUL. But that's not the worst of it.

When I arrived at ER, they gave me a drug that allowed me to feel the pain while they tried to reset my arm, but get this, I wouldn't remember it. They were right because my wife said I begged and pleaded for them to stop at the top of my lungs, but I don't remember. The next day I was scheduled to see the Orthopedic specialist and when they took an x-ray the technician whispered in a lamenting voice, "your arm is dislocated." So the doctor gave me a shot to numb the pain, but exclaimed that since there was nerve damage, nothing would numb the pain (thanks for sticking me with needled for nothing).

So he tried to reset my arm three times and it wouldn't stay. I CAN'T BEGIN TO TELL YOU THE AMOUNT OF AGONY & PAIN I EXPERIENCED. I yelled and moaned so loud everyone in the doctor's office stopped and was in tears!!! I finally gave the doctor that crazy look of DON"T TOUCH ME AGAIN!!! And he quickly complied. Later they realized that all of my tendons and ligaments were torn off of my bones and everything was wrapped and twisted together. So in essence, there was NO WAY they could have reset my arm. Again, thanks for nothing.

After 2 surgeries and months of intense physical therapy, I can extend my arm about 110 degrees and bend it about 130. But I have lost my supination and pronation due to calcification. Sometimes I feel handicap because I can't button the top buttons of my shirts, hold a football properly, carry a tray or play with my kids like I use too. I'm still not over my injury, but my doctor stated,"it could have been worse, you could have broken your neck." So I'm extremely grateful and thankful. He also mentioned that my injury was one of the worst he had seen in the 24 years of service. They mention that a third surgery would help and/or total joint replacement (TJR), but if I received TJR I could never lift more than 5lbs ever again. So that's my story and I may go through with another surgery if it will help my wrist movement because I am a professional piano player and music producer. Thanks!!

Apr 07, 2010
sucks
by: daniel

Can't they do something for calcification? There should be some surgical procedure for that. Sometimes I can't believe in this day and age with all our "advanced" technologies, so many people have to suffer with permanent problems because doctors can't completely heal common injuries like these.

Apr 09, 2010
Injury, recovery and pain
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately we're not robots so 'fixing' the human body is not as simple as replacing parts. Pain is not just due to damaged bone, muscle, ligaments or tendons. It's a far more complex thing involving emotions, attitudes, beliefs, past experiences etc etc. We've got a pretty complex nervous system that can get 're-wired' following an injury and can leave it a bit hypersensitive. The road to recovery is a pretty tough one! Best of luck everyone!

Apr 10, 2010
I feel your pain
by: Elvis

I broke my right radial head Jan. 24, 2010. Only 2 weeks in a cast seemed crazy but after reading some comments here it sounds like it is the norm.

When I began OT 6 weeks after the break I was -35 for getting it straight. After some work I got it to -20. I was stuck there for about a week and a half. Also when I began therapy I was prescribed something called a Dynasplint. This hellish device is like a medieval rack. It applies tension to stretch the arm. It is designed to be painful the entire time it is worn. Once the pain from wearing it improves you increase the tension to make it hurt again. They want me to use it 6-8 hours a day. After I hit the wall at -20 I started last Monday to wear it no matter what. I am able to stand about 4 hours a day but I got from -20 to -10 between Monday and Friday. And that is actively not passively.

I get the popping and cracking too and that creeps me out as much as the pain.

I stumbled upon this today just because I really don't know what to expect regarding recovery time. My goal had been to play golf by the end of May but after reading some stories here I am not as hopeful. However the stories here have given me hope that I am not unusual in the amount of pain and time this is taking.

Thanks, and I will bookmark this and check in from time to time.

Apr 13, 2010
radial head replacement and ulna fracture
by: Anonymous

I had an olecranon(elbow) fracture, a fracture of my ulna and a radial hear fracture and dislocation, had ORIF surgery and I now have plates, screws in the ulna and a radial heal prosthesis. It has been 3 1/2 months since surgery, i am attending physio but my range of motion is not that great, and my rotation of my arm is not that great either. I was in a brace for the first 8 weeks and didny start physio until around the 9th week, it has been very hard to deal with and my recovery feels dissapointing, reading what other people are experiencing is helpful. If anyone has any further information, that would be great.

Apr 18, 2010
basketball injury
by: Jon

I broke my dominant elbow 2 weeks ago today, and went in for emergency surgery the next day. Half of the radial head broke off and moved into my elbow joint. They were either going to replace my radial head or reattach the piece. Luckily they were able to salvage most of it and they reattached it with 3 screws. Immediately afterwards my arm became very swollen and hot, and I was in tremendous pain. They eventually gave me some morphine pills, and this helped a little. I've been going to physio, but right now can't straighten my arm or get it much past 90 degrees the other way. I also can't move my palm up and down very much due largly to them cutting through some tendons to get to the bone. I'm not really sure what to expect

May 05, 2010
Giving Up
by: Anonymous

On Jan.23, 2010, I fell on the ice and broke my radial head on my right arm. It was one of the most painful things I've experienced. I've been doing physical therapy for about 2 1/2 months. My orthopedic doctor told me last week that this is as good as it gets and told me he didn't need to see my again. I could continue with PT if I wanted. I was devestated. I can't live the rest of my life like this. I am right handed, my life is a mess because of this. I feel like I am now permantely disabled. I've gotten much better yes, but I still have trouble sleeping. I can only lay one certain way or I am in pain. I can't turn my arm palm side up. Every little normal daily activity that one doesn't even think about is affected by my injury. I can't hold my new baby nephew. I can't do any of my hobbies any more. I sit at a computer all day for my job and the doctor told me that my injury doesn't affect that so I'm fine. What about the rest of my life? Carrying groceries, washing my hair, gardening, using a screwdriver, etc, etc. Doctor said surgery not an option, at this point. Probably would do more harm than good. PT is so incredibly painful. I usually end up in tears at some part. Should I continue with it or just give up and accept what the doctor told me?

May 06, 2010
Reply to May 5 posting
by: Anonymous

I am experiencing just about everything you are, I felt like you were reading my mind. I am 4 months in now and I still only have 90 degrees flexion and I cant turn my arm over, there is so much I cannot do and I feel permanently disabled as well. Therapy brings me to tears and screaming but has not progressed much at all, my therapist tells be there is a block and she cannot get any farther, I am so frustrated. I cant imagine having to live like this for the rest of my life.

May 06, 2010
Reply to May 5 posting
by: Anonymous

I am experiencing just about everything you are, I felt like you were reading my mind. I am 4 months in now and I still only have 90 degrees flexion and I cant turn my arm over, there is so much I cannot do and I feel permanently disabled as well. Therapy brings me to tears and screaming but has not progressed much at all, my therapist tells be there is a block and she cannot get any farther, I am so frustrated. I cant imagine having to live like this for the rest of my life.

May 09, 2010
3 weeks in radial neck fracture
by: Anonymous

Interesting...I went over the handlebars like so many of you.I was amazed when they gave me a sling and sent me packing at casualty.Extreme pain.I do however understand why they dont cast it.My wrist was also sprained and the ligaments torn on the inner elbow, but grit your teeth and start turning the hand in a hot bath and then frozen peas.I have good movement but a lot of discomfort straightening and can not take much weight/twisting like picking up the lap top.This will come in good time.

May 09, 2010
radial head replacement
by: Anonymous

I have not written in awhile. I had a full radial head replacement, due to a fall over a forklift back in August 2009. I just had my second manipulation under anesthia and that has really helped. i was stuck at a 40 degree extension and a 120 degree flexion (you know can not get the phone to your ear, can not reach a drive up window). i am now at 25 degrees, I am also on a full cpm machine that has my arm moving 6 to 8 hours per day. I will be using it for at least 21 days since I had the surgery. I had been lifting 3 pounds before the latest surgery so I am using 1.5 pound ankle weights to help my arm relax into more extension and flexion.
Rotation has been good. My PT started me working with an 8 ounce hammer to turn the extra weight helped to turn the hand over. It was not easy it originally took almost 4 weeks to get my hand to turn up past neutral position (handshake position).
I have been on a jas splint for around 3 or 4 months, too.
I am still hopeful of getting at least a full 100 degrees rom and so are my doctors. If you are not getting enough information from the doctors or getting enough treatment then make suggestions and ask what they think. I am only writing this since it sounds like some of you may need more ideas to ask your doctor if they think something else can work. I ask my ortho doctor everytime I see him (every 8 weeks at least) what are my options? Is there something else we can try? He mentioned the manipulation under anesthia and then started to back off. He gave me all the things that could go wrong but I was thinking what if they go right? Would I always wonder what if? I look on the internet for ideas and ask my PT if it is something that I should try and if not why not?
I have heard from at least one doctor that this is a tough joint and my injury was an extremely bad one. Therefore, I have to stay motivated to get as much motion back as I can and so do you. It is tough the gains are fractions of an inch at a time and so are the losses. I tried to explain that to my parents but until you are on this side of the injury it is hard to understand.
I wish you all good luck on your road to recovery.
Keep searching for answers and letting others know what worked and what does not.

May 24, 2010
Plan B?
by: Anonymous

I shattered my radial head, fractured my wrist, and damaged all four rotator cuffs on Jan. 8, 2010. Today has been a rough one with a lot of tears ... the realization that this might be "as good as it gets" is hitting me. I am stiff and sore every morning. I feel awkward and clumsy and disabled. I get moments of searing pain. I can touch my face, but not put my makeup on. I can extend my arm, but not fully nor without pain. I can turn my hand palm-down, but only get a scant 10% turn toward 'up'. I can't pick up even small things that require any rotation, and feel so weak when I use my arm.

It has been helpful to read that I am not alone, and reading the other entries makes me feel encouraged to go put on my dynamic brace and put up with the burning pain it gives me. It is not being able to rotate my hand that is the worst. As others of you have described, the lack of rotation affects just about everything I want and need to do.

I received some counsel last week that I have been trying to embrace: don't give up on recovery, while allowing myself to accept that I can give up on my life's Plan A, and find a fulfilling Plan B. Life is definitely not perfect.

Jun 02, 2010
radial head replacement
by: AS

Hi: I shattered the head of my radius. The surgeon put on a new head. My physiotherapist said I am probably a lot better off with the new head than I would be if my injury had been less severe and I had not gotten a new head.

I am a writer and immediately started trying to rotate my hand face down so I could type. After about 3 months I could type but it was very painful and made my arm swell. A few months more and I could type as I always have without pain.

I had to work very hard for hours everyday against a good bit of pain to restore my daily functions. It was very discouraging, but eight months later I can straighten my arm out to lie flat on the floor if I relax, but in going about my normal day it stiffens into a slight flex. I can now eat with the arm and brush my teeth and hair with it (not good at it yet) and operate my quite heavy camera hand-held, though all these things hurt somewhat. Exercises are ongoing at 8 months.

A key point in my therapy was when a friend massaged my arm thoroughly and loosened it up considerably. As a result I signed up five friends to massage my arm on different days. I could never have afforded having professional massage everyday. Some of them were totally inexperienced at massage but they had good instincts. At that time it was about 4 months into the injury and the flesh around the top of the forearm and the incision were still hard and swollen. They had that hard stuff softening up within a week. They kept at it about 4 or 5 weeks that formed a major transition for me.

One of the big problems was that struggling to straight my arm pulled on my shoulder. The shoulder may have been partially frozen from the early days being in a sling. I immediately started exercise to loosen it up and gained substantial improvement. But as physio exercise continued, after about three or four months my shoulder deteriorated, became progressively stiff and sore and finally was extensively frozen and painful. I had to go off of exercise 1 week, and greatly reduced exercise another week. Then my physio exercises way more than doubled in order to get the shoulder unfrozen. That has taken months but I've gone at it aggressively because I want to swim this year, and it now looks as if that is going to happen, I'm just waiting for our swimmable lake to get warm enough to swim.

I still have swelling and inflammation but it doesn't bother me except when I do marginal things. Because of this my PT has urged me not to do strength exercises for the arm (I do some for the shoulder). But there have been enough instances of unconsciously picking up something like a camera on a heavy tripod to let me know that some weight is going to be possible.


Jun 02, 2010
Question for AS
by: Daniel

How did you shatter your radial head?

Jun 03, 2010
Another fractured radial head
by: Philip

Took a hard fall off a ladder and took the brunt on my right outstretched arm. Amazing pain. This was April 18th. It was on my third trip to the Dr and third set of x-rays before the fracture was found (about three weeks later). In the meantime it was extreme pain, much bruising and tough to sleep at night. The non-stop pain pretty much ceased after about three and a half weeks but still intense pain with rotation or excessive bending the elbow. Simple things like brushing my teeth, raising a phone to my ear or using the mouse (for more than a few minutes) was extremely difficult.

I've been thru 4 sessions of PT and like others have said it does have it's moments of intense pain but the ladies have been helping me steadily improve my ROM while pushing me as far as possible. Also doing the stretching at home. Starting to use a rubber therapy ball to work on improving my grip strength. It is helping. I encourage all to grit your teeth and work thru the pain. I intend to recover my full rom and I believe it can be done but I now realize that recovery from this injury will require a serious investment of my time and willpower.

I refuse to accept a feeling of disability at this point and that's exactly what it feels like now. I'll come back and update my progress in the future. I'll do my best to bring some hope for others here by proving to myself that this can be overcome.

Jun 18, 2010
Trying to stay possitive
by: John K.

Wow, all the comments posted here don't give me the warm and fuzzies. I straight armed a wall after tripping while sprinting. I shattered my radial head and fractured my coronoid on Monday. Luckily, there was surgeon on duty and available that day and they had replaced the radial head and pinned the coronoid process that afternoon. It's pretty swollen right now but the pain is minimal (pretty high pain threshold). So much so that I try not to take the pain meds unless it gets iritating. I'm worried about the recovery time and wondering what I'll be able to do post healing. The comments on this page don't give me many positive things to think about. The only saving grace is that everyone heals differently. Well, staples out on the 29th and PT immediately after. Anyway, just wanted to thank everyone for sharing their experiences on the site so I know what to look out for. Positive thoughts to all.
John

Jun 21, 2010
This sucks!
by: Luke

From what I hear, this takes time to heal. I flew off my bike (literally) and landed on my outstretched hand fracturing my radial head on impact. That was two weeks ago. I had these weird blood spots coming out through my pores on top of my arm and figured it was because of the strain.
My muscles feel sore all over and can't fully stretch my arm because it feels locked into place. Also, when I try to bend my arm I get to a point where I feel an electricity jolt going through my arm to the tip of my fingers (extremely painful). It's been two weeks, had a cast for 1 week and I don't feel much relief and I am wondering if I will remain disabled all my life because of this dumb accident. I hear physio helps but some people seem to heal no matter what. Any suggestions? Will physio help? It's not really a matter of time but I don't have much time for physio and wondering if it really is necessary.
Thanks,
Luke.

Jun 25, 2010
Suggestions for exercise?
by: Anonymous

I am 3 weeks out from fracturing the radial head and 2 weeks out from surgery to remove shattered bones and remove the remaining radial head - no replacement. The doctor did not order physical therapy. What are some exercises I can do at home to get back full extension and rotation? Its still extremely painful to try most any movement. The doctor also advised that I have an 8 week window for recovery of motion but that doesn't seem to be the case from reading other folks experiences.

Jun 29, 2010
Over the handlebars
by: Chloe

hi, 4 days ago i landed on outstretched arms and have bilateral radial head fracture in both elbows. Going to fracture clinic in 2 days. The doc didn't say much to me apart from that it was a clean fracture. One arm seems to have more movement than the other, pain killers have mean't virtually no pain. I've been reading forums etc and sounds super compicated and depressing. Has anyone had an easy quick recovery?

Jul 01, 2010
when can I start paddeling again?
by: island_paddler

I had a non-displaced hairline radial head fracture 3 weeks ago to my right arm.
I paddle for a Outrigger canoe club and I fractured my elbow the week before our first race so I haven't even been able to race!!
I know I won't be able to race, and the Dr. gave me this huge window of 4-6 weeks for healing. ( I have kaiser) My question is, how long before I can actually start paddeling-(safely without reinjuring the bone)? If you are familiar with Outrigger Canoe racing, then you know it can be very intense sport. My Ortho dr. also said PT wasn't necessary, but everything I"ve read says contrary!!
Anyone have some solid advice?
Much Appreciated!

Jul 01, 2010
better to be safe than sorry
by: themaxx69

I also had a minor fracture on the radial head. I guess it was a hairline fracture, went all the way across though. Anyway after 2-3 weeks of intense pain, it got a lot better, almost daily. I wore a sling for about 1 week after injury, then doctor said to take it off. No surgery, doc said he could refer to PT, but said all I had to do was basically use my arm, try to just move it around the best you can everyday and let pain be an indicator as when it's too much. I don't necessarily like that train of thought, because everyone handles pain differently, but I just used it best I could, rotating and bending till pain was a moderate but not excruciating. Used it everyday, and had a few painful slip ups, where you forget about it and then lean on something or try to hold something heavy...oh man, talk about pain, just like day 1.

Anyways, I was told 2-3 months for the bone to be as strong as the other side. I went out riding on my Honda 200x after 5 weeks and it was pretty much fine, but I still wouldn't do any heavy lifting or push ups, anything like that. I didn't want to push it. As of now, I think it's been 13 weeks. I have full range of motion, but even up 2-3 weeks ago it still hurt a little if twisted it extremely, like clasping hands behind lower back, then rotating palms out then bending over and lifting my arms up and forward as hard as I could. And if I try to extend my arm quickly to try and pop it, sometimes it hurts real bad. But I was able to climb a wall a week or so ago, and I just did a couple push ups. Seems ok. I am actually gonna start lifting some weights ago, starting with lower weights and see how it goes, probably could have started a month ago, but........like the title states, I would rather be safe than sorry and end up push it too much and re-injuring it. As mild of a fracture as it was, IT SUCKED! I felt like a total gimp for a while, I couldn't imagine breaking my right arm/wrist or both arms!

But I would definitely recommend not pushing too much exercise to soon. You for sure need to exercise the arm, but just take it slow. You might think you can do more, faster, that's up to you, but just think what happens if you re-injure it and make it worse.

Good luck, and don't break it again. :}

Jul 02, 2010
Hang in there!
by: Scott

Hi there,
I displaced my radial head beyond repair,smashed the head off it ended up down the bottom of my elbow under the skin.I had to have it and the bone framents removed and a Radial head repl acement(looks like a Plumbers Plunger!)
The pain was the worst,was very hard to sleep as that was also the side I slepted on.After surgery I also suffered from radial nerve damage,so I couldn't straighten out my fingers and thumb.Four days after surgey the cast came off and physio started twice a week.Almost 4 mths on I still can't fully straighten my arm or touch my shoulder.Good news is my fingers have improved,still waiting for the thumb to wake up.I also still have a fair amount of pain,not sure why.Happy to be out on my bike again!
All the best recovery to everyone. ;)

Jul 02, 2010
Hang in there!
by: Scott

Hi there,
I displaced my radial head beyond repair,smashed the head off it ended up down the bottom of my elbow under the skin.I had to have it and the bone framents removed and a Radial head repl acement(looks like a Plumbers Plunger!)
The pain was the worst,was very hard to sleep as that was also the side I slepted on.After surgery I also suffered from radial nerve damage,so I couldn't straighten out my fingers and thumb.Four days after surgey the cast came off and physio started twice a week.Almost 4 mths on I still can't fully straighten my arm or touch my shoulder.Good news is my fingers have improved,still waiting for the thumb to wake up.I also still have a fair amount of pain,not sure why.Happy to be out on my bike again!
All the best recovery to everyone. ;)

Jul 02, 2010
For best answers, try to be more specific about location
by: Bnonymous

To make sure that you get the most out of this very informative website, each injured person must be specific about WHICH radial head has been fractured. There are TWO radial heads on each radius: 1) the DISTAL radial head (at the wrist) also known as a Colle's, Barton's, Smith's or Chauffeur's fracture, often the result of a "FOOSH" fall on out-stretched hand (or direct impact to wrist), and 2) the PROXIMAL radial head (part of the elbow), usually from direct trauma to the elbow. To get the best advice, it is important to make the readers aware of WHICH radial head is fractured.

Jul 02, 2010
to island_paddler
by: Anonymous

Everything is dependent on the location (whether the joint is affected) and extent of your fracture. Depending upon the "stability" of your particular fracture, it may or may not need to be internally fixated or "pinned". If it is mild, without too much displacement and distortion of the joint, mobilization to prevent a frozen elbow, could be beneficial. Loading the elbow at your early stage with weights or resistance (i.e. paddling a boat) could re-injure the elbow and make things worse, rather than better. Ask your MD about whether you can do gentle range of motion exercises (with or without a physical therapist), to keep the joint mobile. You are still in an early stage and do not want to re-injure yourself.

Jul 02, 2010
Thanks!
by: Island_Paddler

Thanks everyone for the advice!
just to be more clear- my radial head fracture was a Proximal radial head fracture (hairline) at the elbow joint of my right arm.
I had a hard cast on for 1.5 weeks and then used a sling for a week and now I'm trying to use my arm more and more.
Still have trouble with fully extending it and rotating it ( like twisting a doorknob) and also bending it back (like when you put your hair in a ponytail) without some pain.

thanks again for your comments and I hope everyone heals fast!
Aloha!

Jul 06, 2010
displaced radial head fracture
by: Amanda

Hi, I have a displaced fracture of the radial head in my elbow, the result of a 4 wheeler accident. The ortho I saw told me that surgery is not done unless the displacement is greater than 2mm. My displacement measures at 1.6mm. He said that he wants to see me once a week for 6 weeks to watch it. He gave me Lortabs and said he wants me to start exercising it right away. No splint, no sling. It is very tight when I try to move it. I'm just afraid that this will cause further damage as it has only been 3 days since this happened. The doc said that as long as i don't grasp anything with the hand of the affected arm that it wouldn't do further damage. He did also tell me that i will never have my full range of motion back but that i would be able to function 100%. I am very afraid of moving it too soon but he said that early motiom is best way to get back most of movement in that arm. Has anyone else had their doc do this with a displaced fracture? Any answers you have would be great.

Jul 08, 2010
To Amanda
by: Scott

Hi Amanda,
To your question about movement.I completely displaced destroyed my radial head(elbow)
The head was sitting under the skin on the bottom of my elbow.It was way beyond fixing.So I had to have surgery to remove all the bone framents and a prosthesis put in.Four days after surgery I was doing movements with a therapist.Very very painfull!! and I couldn't beleive the swelling and the lack of movement.I couldn't dress myself shower etc.It took me 4 weeks to have enough movement and strength to tie up my shoe laces.
So as long as your seeing a upper limb therapist who knows what they are doing,movement is required at early stages,otherwise everything binds up.My therapist made me work pretty hard and reshaped my splints and kepted me on track.He was very good at his job.
I wish you the best recovery,I know how daunting this can seem,just hangin in there it will get better.

Jul 12, 2010
armbar injury
by: paolo_themaster

Hi evryone,

i was caught in arm bar last month, since then my left shoulder and elbow is aching a little and losing strength. also when lifting and shadow boxing it, hurts a little and clicking or popping but other than that is OK, i mean does not hurt when sleeping, touching my shoulder, bending my elbow, rotating both my shoulder and elbow. i tried stretching my elbow and shoulder, trying to touch my back. its very frustrating because i can't train martial arts at 100% anymore, some point in my training it hurt a little. i don't know if this is combination of rotator cuff and radial head..
Any suggestions? many thanks in advanced.

Jul 12, 2010
ambar injury
by: paolo_themaster

Hi evryone,

i was caught in arm bar last month, since then my left shoulder and elbow is aching a little and losing strength. also when lifting and shadow boxing it, hurts a little and clicking or popping but other than that is OK, i mean does not hurt when sleeping, touching my shoulder, bending my elbow, rotating both my shoulder and elbow. i tried stretching my elbow and shoulder, trying to touch my back. its very frustrating because i can't train martial arts at 100% anymore, some point in my training it hurt a little. i don't know if this is combination of rotator cuff and radial head..
Any suggestions? many thanks in advanced.

Jul 13, 2010
4 Week Update: Trying to Stay Positive
by: John K.

4 Week Update:
Surgery, June 14; 3 Physical Therapy Sessions Complete.
Approximately 3 weeks post surgery, I remained unable to rotate my hand palm upward (supplination) more than 17 degrees and arm extension was limited to about 3 inches each direction when my elbow was held at my side. After a week of performing the therapy exercises at home and using a heat pad to loosen up the elbow joint, I am able to rotate my hand a full third over and have gained about an additional inch in arm extension. Also promising, last night during therapy, I received my first stretching session with the therapist and temporarily was able to extend a little further. While the tendons did tighten up again, as expected, all the muscles in my forearm have relaxed for the first time since surgery. More to come in the next update.

Jul 18, 2010
11 month update
by: CB

Hello,

It has been 11 months since my full Radial Head replacement left elbow. I have had 2 manipulations under anesthia, too. The second one was on April 30th and I am feeling so much better. I was the one that tripped over a forklift because someone left the blades up. I finally have 100 degree range of motion and from 20 to 120. This improved range has finally allowed me to sleep at night without my arm being propped on a pillow. All hand and wrist motions are normal.
I still do full PT exercises 4 times per day along with splinting 4 times a day 30 minutes at a time. I am still hoping that I will be able to hold a phone to my left ear again soon. Which is why I am still hopeful to get back more ROM although at this point I understand that it will be slow in coming. I am still on restriction on how much weight I can hold. Does anyone have a good exercise for getting the range back to hold a phone to ear?
I wish you all a speedy recovery.

Jul 18, 2010
7 weeks and still in pain
by: pr4u

I fractured my radial head bone of my elbow 7 weeks ago falling with my arms out-stretched. I go to PT 3 times a week and exercise at home. I still wake up with so much pain I feel nauseous. How long will this last?

Jul 19, 2010
Cracked radial head
by: Steve J

3 weeks ago, I was knocked off my bike after being hit by a car. I apparently landed on my right elbow as I found a nasty bruise, 3 days after the injury, just in front of my elbow, on the bottom. My elbow didn't hurt but I had intense pain in the forearm and everytime I moved my fingers, the pain would increase. The doctor gave me a sling to wear for 2 weeks. 17 days after the initial injury, I was re-examined by my regular doctor and since I was still having pain, he ordered an x-ray of my elbow and the crack was found in the radial head. He said the crack would eventually heal but there was still swelling in the injured area and I would have to be patient. He said physical therapy might help but told me that I probably would never be able to fully extend my arm (my dominant arm of course) again. Physical therapy was something the doctor would order, if I wanted to try that but he didn't sound very optimistic that it would be of much help. Should I wait until the swelling is gone and the pain is hopefully reduced before I try any physical therapy or would it just be a waste of time? Should I ever risk riding a bike again or should I join a club and use a bike that goes nowhere? I am really nervous about taking another spill.

Jul 20, 2010
2nd Radial Head replacement
by: Anonymous

I had radial head prosthetic surgery in March 2009, and worked for months (5) to gain back ROM. I used weekly OT & acupuncture. I have very good ROM -- almost 100% supination and complete extension. However, in September 2009 my doctor told me the implant had moved and I needed surgery again. I waited until I had pain and now am scheduled for a replacement implant next week. The implant appears to have broken through the other part of the radius. I may have a "long" implant or a "short" one the second time around. I saw 3 doctors as part of getting second opinions on another surgery, and all were amazed at my ROM and lack of pain. This is a tough surgery & recovery. If I had to do it all over again I thought I'd try it without surgery -- reading all the opinions here though makes me think there are no good options for a broken elbow.

Jul 20, 2010
To Steve J
by: Anonymous

If I were you I would meet the PT and at least go to a few PT sessions. Do not wait for the pain to leave or the swelling to leave. The PT should give you some ideas of how to deal with the swelling, mine gave me a compression style sleeve to wear along with ice really helped. Take pain medications before you go since the PT usually push you to the limit, although first appointment for me was measurements. The PT and your doctor can advise on when you can ride a bike again, and good exercises to get you as close to normal as possible.

Good luck.

Jul 21, 2010
To Steve J
by: John K.

I agree with the previous responder. Go to PT and let the therapist make the decision about how much you can do. The sooner you get started the quicker your recovery will be. In my scenario, I just had to wait for the Orthopedic Doc to release me for therapy but that was only 10 days after surgery.

Jul 21, 2010
Supination exercises
by: Anonymous

Has anyone been given supination exercises to complete at home.What do they involve? Thanks

Jul 24, 2010
Response: Supination exercises
by: John K.

Disclaimer: You should check with a therapists to get confirmation if he/she thinks you are ready for these exercises first.
1. Keeping elbow at side, supinate hand, without moving your shoulder, and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

2. Using a light-weight hammer and keeping your elbow at your side, hold the handle and supinate hand unitl you feel a stretch without pain. Hold in supinate position for 5 seconds. My therpist started me off slow with completing the exercise 7 times, then 10, now 20 after 5 visits and at the 5th visit increased the weight of the hammer.

Rule of thumb: If you feel pain, you've gone too far and may extend your recovery time. This is NOT the time for the 'No Pain, No Gain' mentality!

Jul 27, 2010
Fracture in Oct 2009
by: Anonymous

I fractured my radial head in October of 2009 and I still can not straighten my arm or do other movements. It is still very painful to the touch. I go to physical therapy and they are trying electric current. One of my problems is that when I try to straighten my arm I have severe pain in my left shoulder blade (my right elbow was broken). Has anyone else ever had this?

Aug 01, 2010
Exercise suggestions?
by: Zach

Hi Everyone,

Eight days ago I fractured the radial head in my left elbow (my dominant arm of course). I fell off a bike and landed with the arm outstretched.

The ER doctor put it in a hard splint which I carried in a sling. Three days later the orthopedist took it out of the splint and told me to begin moving it hourly until I regain full range of motion. I've been doing that while also using the sling to carry the arm around with me to errands and such.

My range of motion is fairly limited still, so I am wondering what exercises I could be doing and when to start therapy.

What exercises should I do now (eight days in) or after two or three weeks?

Thanks for any advice.

Aug 08, 2010
Displaced left proximal radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

Hey all,

Great thread, thought I'd throw my experience in here as well. On 07/04/2010 I broke both my left radial head by the elbow and also a type III fracture in my left hip. The hip required surgery (three screws) however they opted not to do surgery to correct the displacement in my arm as it was less than 1mm displaced, and it would have also made recovering from the hip surgery near impossible without 24x7 support. I did this bike riding, front tire flatted, tire rolled off the rim, jacked my front wheel 90 degrees, i went over the front but stayed clipped in so it catapulted me straight into the ground. I'm 37 and pretty active so this was a shock that I actually broke anything although I knew instantly something was very wrong.

Immediately I had very little ROM in my left arm, it was painful to bend and any rotation hurt. I started PT after two weeks of the diagnosis and started off about 30 degrees off straight for my elbow. It's been over 5 weeks now and my range of motion is back to nearly where it was, I still have a little discomfort rotating the wrist and forearm to full motion and it feels stiff when I straighten my arm all the way out, but most the pain is gone and I can feel everyday that my motion gets better and better. Most of this improvement came in weeks 3-5, I'm hoping after my follow up in a week or so they release me to doing more weight bearing so I can start working out again.

The hip, it's a different story, still no weight bearing but maybe in a couple weeks. That's 4-6 month recovery, my arm I hear is 6-8 week in this case.

My advice, I stuck to my dr's advice 100 percent, kept the usage of the arm down, did the PT advised and that's it, iced, and was patient (although that was the hardest part.)

Best of luck to everyone

Aug 09, 2010
Sons new fracture
by: Anonymous

Today my son sufffered a proximal radial head fracture on the right. He was splinted in the ER and told to see the orthopedist in the next 48 hours because he would need"a little proceedure".The swelling was too severe to perform the proceedure today. We were planning an out of town(via plane)trip the day after tomorrow as his sister, my daughter, is getting married this weekend. My question is , HOw long after the initial injury does surgery ordinarily take place and/or how long is it safe to wait? Im sure the doc will answer these questions when I see him but as mother of the bride I am stressing to night . My son is 16.

Aug 09, 2010
surgery
by: Anonymous

my surgery was completed 4 days after my injury

Aug 10, 2010
surgery
by: cb

I had a complete radial head replacement 9 days after I shattered the bone. Another question to ask your surgeon is can he fly either before or after surgery.

Aug 11, 2010
My Journey
by: Rachel

I fell off the side of my basement stairs on January 31st. I went to the ER and they sent me home in a hard splint and an appointment for an Ortho doctor. The doctor explained I would have to have surgery to replace the radial head. The bone was severely displaced. Of course, I freaked out. He also wanted to wait over a week to do the surgery which I understand is to wait until the swelling went down. He never even looked at my arm. There was no way I could wait that long, I have two small children that I needed to take care of. A day later I started having chest pains so I went to another hospital's ER and explained to them my situation. Thankfully the chest pains were just from anxiety and they went ahead and scheduled my surgery for the next morning. Surgery went great and I was discharged Feb 4th. I think this was the worse pain I have ever been in. I am uninsured so PT wasnt an option for me but I made sure I did the exercises I was told to do when I was D/C and I can almost straighten my arm all the way. I have read a lot of comments on here about people wanting to be completely healed after a few weeks. Sorry its not going to happen. I still hurt and it took about 3 months for me to be able to finally change my daughter's diaper without any help. If you have people willing to help by all means let them. You will hate it at first but after you are able to do more on your own these friends will look like God sent angels. I still have pain and just found out that I qualified for financial assistance for PT. I will fill you all in with my progress. Remember, this is a major injury and takes time to heal. BE CAREFUL :)

Aug 12, 2010
Broken Radial head misplaced~:p
by: Stephanie

Hello everybody!
I fell off my bike only eight days ago I had a hard sling for three days then the doctor recommended surgery to replace the radical head but he could not tell me exactly what he would do, I decided to get a second opinion , but that has never happened ! I wrapped my arms in Noni leaves (mainland people can you comfrey) it has made progress and I started moving it right off the bat so nothing would get stuck, it still hurts and I think I have a long road ahead you can massage the muscles to release the tension and I recommend acupuncture to make sure you release the tension and energy! Ask for help and be thankful you have four limbs still! Find the blessings in every situation! best of luck ~ it may take awhile but all good things come to those who wait~ you can email me of you have further questions koloafam3@gmail.com
if a bone is fractured and bones chip off where do those pieces go? anyone know

Aug 16, 2010
Fractured radius head
by: Anonymous

Hi,

I’m at +3 week now, pain has almost completely gone, extension is maybe -5 or 10 degrees off where it should be, but can be forced.

The problem I have is I am a keen mechanic, and have been working on my car and bikes almost immediately, despite it hurting like a pig. I think I have done some damage to my ligament lifting my tool box yesterday – its pretty heavy (probably 15-20kgs at a guess) and I let it drop my arm straight. I was seeing if my elbow would extend, and I think all I have done is jerk it hard and mess up my ligaments.

Last night and today my elblow pops and bangs, especially when my arm is at an angle – basically when the elbow has a twisting or sideways force on it too.

The popping is really painful, though the bit I find most concerning is that if at an angle I can feel like it is about to pop, so I lower my elbow so the joint isn’t at an angle to the floor and then it feels like the joint has slipped back into where it should be and doesn’t pop or hurt, I’ve never had that feeling before and it is this that makes me think I have done something to the ligamnts that hold the joint square.

If anyone knows what I should do to tighten it all back upagain that would be great!

Aug 17, 2010
YOU CAN DO IT! Part One
by: Anna

MY INJURY:

radial head replacement at elbow after coming off a 5 foot wall on Christmas day '09. 27 years old.

MY RECOVERY:

Full hard cast off after 2 weeks. Began small exercises, moving forearm gently away from body and back. PT not available until after the 8 week 'window of opportunity' when one can regain mobility. Demanded 5 mins with a PT who gave me some great, simple stretching advice, which sped my recovery loads.

Regained full extension and flexion after a couple of months. No residual pain, just an awareness of slight weakness. Therefore, now working on strength using weights and dyna-bands. Will report results.

MY ADVICE:

Stay calm, think positively: remember that everybody's injury and everybody's body is different, and if you trust your own bodily awareness, you can push yourself as persistently as is sensible in order to regain mobility as far as possible without causing strain or re-injury. You can do it! Trust your own careful, faithful persistence with your own body more than a negative prognosis.

MY EXPERIENCE VS. DOCS' PROGNOSIS:

2 surgeons told me I'd never have full flexion or do sports beyond swimming: now I'm doing handstands. My physio said that surgeons often proffer a negative prognosis in order to ensure that patients are careful enough not to re-injure themselves. She also said surgeons are not qualified to comment on rehabilitation in the same way that PT's are.

What's more, apparently our injury is quite rare, and little research has been done into its longterm effects, so in many ways you are as much an expert as they are. My physio said this injury normally happens to kids, since weaker-boned adults break at the wrist when they fall, sooner than at the elbow. So, we must be make of healthy, healable stuff! Also, google the new science of regrowing cartilage and bone - maybe bionic tech will be ready for us, by the time these metal joints wear out! If they even do - nobody seems to know!

. . .

Aug 17, 2010
YOU CAN DO IT! Part Two
by: Anna

. . .

MY EXERCISES:

The exercise the physio gave me that really speeded my recovery of flexion and extension is really simple, works on flexion and extension at the same time, and you can do it anywhere. I was lucky in that I experienced not very much pain, so i just did this exercise all the time:

Hold your injured arm out in front of yourself, turn the hand as 'palm-upward' as you can manage (that practices flexion). From that position, push the whole hand away from the body in small repetitive movements (practicing extension). If that's unclear, imagine you are a waiter holding a tray of canapes at shoulder-height on the palm of your hand. To offer the canapes to a guest, you have to move the tray forward, away from yourself. That's the simple movement.

Used loads of anti-inflammatories before, and icepacks after stretching so as not to irritate the injury.

Once flexibility's regained, it's time to work on strength. Google the pilates move Cat With Balance. Start with just cat, putting weight mostly on injured arm, then mostly on uninjured arm - and back and forth - then work up to having alternative arms and legs outstretched, to apply extra weight. Order a weak dynaband suitable for injury recovery, and practice the arm exercises that go with it - or you can use light, homemade weights (eg. tins of beans).

Last exercise: put your hands together palm-to-palm as if in prayer, now press one hand hard against the other, and slowly rotate - the right hand pressing against the resisting left hand throughout the rotation until the right hand faces palm down, and the left hand palm-up. Your forearms and wrists rotate, but your elbows stay in the same place. Then very slowly rotate back to the central 'prayer' position - the left hand pushing back, and the right hand resisting. Then slowly rotate hands in the other direction with the left dominating, and pushing down the right. The palms press against each other as hard as you can without causing pain, as though your hands were fighting each other to see who can stay on top.

THE FUTURE:

Sorry to be so longwinded, but I remember how helpless I felt when I was first injured and no-one could give me any clear information or advice, so I want to be as detailed as possible, in the hopes that it'll be of use to some of you in your recovery.

I've slacked off for a couple of months with a new job distracting me, but now I've returned to full strength training, and I'm thinking of it as a challenge I'm exploring - how much power and health can I bring to this limb, and the rest of my person at the same time? I figure I wasn't looking after myself properly when I jumped off a wall at Christmas-time, so maybe this is a chance to owe it back to myself, and take good care of my body now. I'll tell you how it goes.

Best love and luck to all,

Anna

Aug 18, 2010
Muscle strength after radial head fx
by: Tammy

I am almost 4 wks post injury minimally displaced radial head fx(sling/ no surgery)and have regained extension to about -10 degrees from being straight. Yes painful, but seeing progress. Regained pronation and supanation. Now I am to the point where I feel like I've hit a plateau and am not able to make any further progress with my extension. What really concerns me is that I can't flex my bicep and part of my tricep. Has anyone else experienced this and does it resolve or is this something I should be asking my doctor about? Thx for all of the posts. It's comforting to see what others have experienced to know if what you are experiencing is "normal".

Aug 19, 2010
New Girl tripped over the block..
by: Careless Stride

One rushed careless stride, a set of six stone steps between me and the dry washing on the line and I'm flying; to land with a crunch, forehead on the ground and pain that tells me my right dominant elbow hurts maybe more than a sprain. But I hope. This was yesterday and a visit to our nearest minor injuries unit and an Xray this morning confirms I have a radial head fracture. I now have a sling, an appointment with the consultant in two weeks and a diagnosis that sounds like the worst seventies heavy metal band ever...and a determination to be back dancing the Morris in super quick time...OK maybe not tonight as was planned but soon.




Aug 19, 2010
Re: Muscle strength after radial head fx
by: John K.

Tammy, yes a plateau is normal based on everything I've read and personally experienced. I had a full replacement and plateaued for about 4 weeks. Then all of the sudden things loosen up a bit and I gained a pretty good degree extension increase. I've come to realize that the swelling was preventing movement and using ice even after therapy exercises helped me...even if the therapist was against it because it promotes stiffness. Now, she has changed her tune a bit but tells me not to let my arm go numb and limit icing to 10 minutes. Good luck!

Aug 19, 2010
Radial Head Replacement (Proximal)
by: Paul

Wish i'd found this site a few years ago. Anyway, 2006 i made the tradgic mistake of stepping onto my sons skateboard! (silly i know), it happen in a split second as all i could remember was sitting up on the floor wondering why my right arm was in pain. I tried to move the arm but soon realized that it was a bad idea. After going to hospital for x-rays i was told that the radial head had been shattered and would need replacing. Had a prosthesis put in and underwent physio, a long and painful journey. I have always experienced pain in the arm since the operation and at times a shearing pain through the forearm mainly after repetative exercise of that arm. I have full extemtion of the arm and supination/ pronation are near perfect but noticably weaker in the right arm. I am always aware of a dull pain in the elbow and wrist and alot of clicking. I recently had consultation with an arm specialist and after several x-rays the diagnosis was that the prosthesis was now unstable and moving around within the forearm bone. The suggestion was to take take the prothesis out completely and not to replace it. The consultant stated that the normal procedure for radial head injuries such as mine were to just remove the damaged radial head as plenty of people live normally without the radial head and experience no pain.

My question is.. the pro's and con's of having the prosthesis taken out with no replacement. What implications are there in repsects to movement. Yes, these are question i failed to put to the consultant but will on my next visit. I'm just wondering if there is anyone out there that has had their radial head removed without need for replacement.

Regards, Paul

Aug 20, 2010
Muscle strength after radial head fx
by: Anonymous

To TAMMY:

As mentioned above my Radial head replacement was done 4 years ago and yes, i noticed a difference in flexing of the muscles. I notice a definate size difference and diffence in solidity as i have found that the tricep does not flex fully. I gave up going to the gym and cannot lift the heavy weights i was acustom to so really once the injury has occured it can be somewhat life changing in respects to partaking in common activities. Also fear of further damage makes you alot more cautious. I found it near impossible to swim and can only now just about do the breast stroke without unbearable discomfort. So it does get better in time but i'm sure its different for everyone.

When i first had the replacement done, like most people, i found that there was little movement and physio was hard work, However i found it even harder to sleep at night in the usual positions and sometime i would wake up after feeling my arm drop to the side, suddenly fully extending to my horror and pain so i knew it was possible to straighten as i put these scary moments down to the total relaxation whilst asleep. not sure if anyone else ever experienced this.

Basically its been the bain of my life for a while now and i did feel quiet depressed at first as it made me feel less of a 'man' and not as strong as i used to be. I also felt as though nobody really understood the implications it had on my everyday life, it was like being invisably disabled.

Aug 29, 2010
dont run for the bus
by: Anonymous

ran for the bus n caught childs shoulder went flying and told landed on right arm radial head cracked and slightly displaced Passed out with pain Sling and no cast Told to exercise straight away Did it last tuesday Have two dogs one of which lab rottie cross 30 kilos of dog other 20 kilo mongrel Still using hand but arm hurts lot if turned and extended Am on paracetomol codiene and ibruprofen Concerned about getting addicted to codiene but have house to run Hubbie fantastic but works full time Anyone any idea how long before i can walk both dogs at same time Cant manage both on same side as joints been sore for years Been told nothing can be done with them just have to live with it

Aug 29, 2010
dont run for the bus
by: Anonymous

ran for the bus n caught childs shoulder went flying and told landed on right arm radial head cracked and slightly displaced Passed out with pain Sling and no cast Told to exercise straight away Did it last tuesday Have two dogs one of which lab rottie cross 30 kilos of dog other 20 kilo mongrel Still using hand but arm hurts lot if turned and extended Am on paracetomol codiene and ibruprofen Concerned about getting addicted to codiene but have house to run Hubbie fantastic but works full time Anyone any idea how long before i can walk both dogs at same time Cant manage both on same side as joints been sore for years Been told nothing can be done with them just have to live with it

Aug 30, 2010
Five Week Update
by: Zach

Hi Everyone-

I posted about a month ago asking for exercise suggestions to try two weeks post-accident. No one gave me any but that's okay.

I'm 22 and I had a 1.5mm fracture in the radial head of my left elbow. I only wore a cast for three days and did not have surgery. Doctors said most of the healing would occur in the first six weeks, although the bone will not be fully healed for one year.

I had my accident a little over five weeks ago and I am happy to report that I have full extension in my arm and I no longer experience pain during the day. Sleeping is a bit difficult still and I wake up with dull pain from the wrist up to the elbow, but that goes away in less than 15 minutes.

I am not supposed to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup, but I have broken the rule a few times and lifted kitchen chairs and boxes of records without pain. I've seen a physical therapist three times and he says he will give me weight-bearing exercises to try after my next visit.

If you are young and your fracture does not require surgery, I hope you will be encouraged by my recovery. Reading this forum was pretty depressing after breaking my elbow, but I have seen a lot of improvement in the last two weeks and I wanted to share with people who may read this forum in the future. My advice is to move the elbow as much as you can without intense pain. I extended it slowly up and down 10 to 20 times per day for the four weeks after my injury and eventually reached full extension. The most progress was between weeks two and three.

Aug 31, 2010
dont run for the bus
by: Anonymous

just some encouragement for newly injured I cracked radial head at elbow last tuesday Slight displacement but not enough for surgery Dominant hand so learning to use left hand No cast just sling Rotating arm few times a day and up and down movement and straightening as advised by doctor trying today without painkillers only ibrupofen Can now dress myself carefully and carry light things in right hand Can make butties etc When first did this read comments and very concerned Everyone different so you could be one of the lucky ones

Sep 02, 2010
wheelbite victim
by: Too old for longboards

I fractured me RH on August 19th - 42nd birthday trying out my new longboard! Clean fracture, Type 1 - no displacment. Just wanted to say that two weeks later I have almost full extension, am out of the sling, still have pain on extending the arm and closing the arm but am happy with the way it is healing. I did make sure that I wore my sling religously though for two weeks and did not overdo it as advised by my doctor. This I am sure has helped. Hoping to train again in martial arts in 3 weeks time - if you don't get a displacment you should be OK.

Sep 05, 2010
update on dont run for the bus
by: anonymous

able to bath myself and wash hair Nearly full extension dull ache knuckles to shoulder but washed dishes and hoovered today Hardly use sling cos rubs on neck Way more movement than thought i would have amd less pain

Sep 05, 2010
Careless stride
by: New girl over the block

Encouraged after reading more recent comments and thought I'd update on my experience. I am now 18 days post fall and although I wear my sling around my neck its more for show and a reminder to take things easy when I reach up to the top branches black berry picking. I'm virtually pain free most of the time, seem to shift around during sleep with no ill effects and even clashed sticks Morris dancing yesterday (briefly). My arm's still not quite straight but getting there, I'm doing the stretches recommended and will begin doing strength building in a few weeks. The minor injury consultant recommended still using pain as an indicator when to stop activity, at least for the next couple of weeks.

Sep 15, 2010
Radial Head fracture
by: Cherylanne

Hi All,
I had a bad fall in my local food store. I finnished work early and was in a hurry to get home. I just ran into the shop for a carton of coke for the boys. I had the coke in my right hand. I also took a packet of chip that were on the end of a isle then walked straight into a huge spill of cream, I hit the floor hard. The store won't show me the CCtv footage. I think I didn't let go of the carton of coke. The weight of me and the coke smashed my right elbow. It has been a night mare since. I went to hospital had x-rays and was told I had a radial head fracture. I was sent home in a sling. The pain was intense. 7 days later I had surgery and 2 titanium screws placed into the bone. It's been 6 months since the fall. I have inproved a lot, but still have trouble touching my face and shoulder. My specialist has told me to wait for a few months and if it's not improving they will do a Radial head replacement. I can't afford more time of work, and don't want another operation. I exersise it daily. Basically it want's me to leave it alone. It's my right elbow. It hangs heavy sore and numb, from a shoulder that has seen better days. I'm 49.
Any idea's

Sep 21, 2010
6 years on
by: Anonymous

Stumbled on this forum when looking up RH fracture complications.
Broke mine playing soccer 6 years ago (32 yrs old). A clean type 1 fracture. Saw a specialist a few months after due to continued restricted movement, but was told that I'd just have to live with it. I have suffered pain, I still cannot fully extend my arm. Lifting weights is hit and miss too. Some days it clicks and pops I can't do anything with it.
I've had a couple of other real gnarly breakages which have required surgery but are now completely fine, yet this little pesky fracture has continued to niggle for so long..

Sep 28, 2010
2 Years Later
by: Anonymous

I fell with an outstretched arm,dislocated my elbow and cracked my radial head into 3 pieces. I had full radial head replacement surgery. After about a year and a half, I was losing rom due to scar tissue build up and bone spurs that developed. I also was getting a little numbness in my pinky finger.Surgery #2- remove scar tissue, file down bone spurs,and move the radial nerve. 5 months of occupational and physical therapy and I'm still in pain and have limited range of motion.This sucks!

Sep 29, 2010
To the above
by: Paul

Hi, I had a radial head replacement 4 years ago, it's now come loose and is due to be taken out and left out. i have spoken to several doctors about this and it all seems positive. Every doc that i have spoken to takes the stance that the best thing to do is not to have the prosthesis replaced as you don't really need the RH there, in fact i will gain more range and less pain. I will look forward to playing golf again!! Also, i was told that any RH fracure should just be removed and not fixed as it normally just gives rise to further complication.

Sep 29, 2010
Radial head fracture
by: Chris

I fell while running for a bus, I landed hard with my palm down and you can guess what happened from there. I ended up with a radial head fracture.

That was about 10 months ago now and I'm happy to report I'm fully better, complete range of motion in my elbow and just as I was before. So it's not all doom and gloom!

I was in a cast for 1 week, then when that was taken off they encouraged me to carry on as normal. At this point I could barely bend my arm at all. Motion continued to come back gradually until I was about 20% off full extension. I'd say it probably took about 2 months to get to that stage and another 2 months after that to regain complete movement.

I know how horrible this injury is, but keep your chin up. A lot of the comments on this site are pretty negative but bear in mind not many people search for an injury they had and recovered fully from... or bother to comment back once they are better.


Sep 29, 2010
Proximal Intra Articular radial head fracture
by: Bonita Springs Florida

Wow, fellow radial head fracture survivors. I am amazed by your stories and feeling blessed.
Fell on the sidewalk in my backyard while gardening. Darn I knew it was bad. Got ice on it, took arnica homeopathic
Immediately every two hours, wrapped in a compression bandage. Had a business a ppt. Later in the afternoon went to emergency room and had it x-rayed. I will never choose that emergency room again. I think they had nursing students treating in the ER. Put me in a splint , wouldn't give me ice or a painkiller. By this time the thing was swelling. Spent one of the most painful sleepless nights in my life. Got into one of the best hand surgeons in the country the next morning. He cut the splint off saying that was wrong thing to do. He wanted me to start moving my arm within the next 2 days and doing simple exercises. wanted me out of the sling as well at home.
I started taking metabolic ( proteolytic) enzymes to address the injury and swelling. It been one week today. Though I completely fractured by distal radial head, I have almost full pronation and supination, can move by wrist and am working on the extension and flexion. one week post injury the doctor said there is a one to two week window to begin to address the injury to the joint capsule or it will never properly extend. It will hyoeratrophy instead and become like inflexible plastic
wrap around the joint He has prescribed physical therapy for the next four weeks. I was a massage therapist for almost 25 years and have been doing gentle cross fiber friction and lymphatic massage. I am very pleased with the progress especially after reading your stories of bravery and persistence.
The day before I broke my arm I stepped on a rattlesnake with bare feet and it didn't bite me. I consider myself one lucky duck

Sep 30, 2010
Sucks.
by: Disheartened

Fractured the radial head and neck of my dominant arm after I fell off a longboard. Like everyone else said - terrible, immediate pain - felt like I was going to vomit and pass out (had to sit down with my head between my knees while my vision blacked in and out).

Knew something was terribly wrong right away (obviously - NEVER felt pain like that, before), went to emergency, had it x-rayed - all I was told was that I "didn't need surgery" and to keep it in a sling for at least 2 weeks. Having it initially handled to put it in the sling was the worst pain ever - fell to my knees and again, almost passed out. I NEVER want to re-live that moment!

Like everyone else said, this affected everything - couldn't sleep comfortably, couldn't do basic things like getting dressed, feeding myself, opening doors. Super frustrating. I only took one morning off of work (I don't get much in terms of time off) and just started learning to type with my left hand. It was pretty crappy.

Started physio and had follow-up x-rays after a few weeks - eventually stopped physio when they told me that the latest x-ray showed it wasn't healing enough to continue...

It's been 5 months, and I have regained near-full range of motion by using the arm as normal. But I'm frustrated because it STILL BOTHERS ME - it still hurts to carry groceries sometimes, gets really stiff and sore when it rains or when the weather is cold, and hurts if I use it too much... sigh. Feeling like it'll never be 100% better...

Sep 30, 2010
Recovery Time Radial
by: Anonymous

Hey, I just want to say that on July,30 2010 i tripped at my work on to a concrete floor. I landed on the underside of both my forearms from my wrist to my elbows. I have a clean fracture on my left arm's radial head, and my right arm has a slightly displaced fracture, but neither needing surgery. I was in half cast on right arm and nothing on left for the first week. Then I got put into a splint for right arm to come out of when I did nothing for a week with nothing on my left arm. I do not wear anything anymore for protection, and I have had 7 weeks of 2 a days now and have full range of motion and have started strengthing today. So there is HOPE, it can go smoothly but you gotta start as soon as possible to get ur range of motion back. That is the key!

Oct 01, 2010
hope
by: lea

Hi, I agree there is hope. I had radial head fractures in both elbows 26th June this year. The doctors said I'd never have full range of motion, months of recovery etc. I took a good fish oil amongst other things, practised my physio exercises in a swimming pool. 4 weeks later, the bones had completely healed and I was back kettle bell training and doing full push ups by week 7. Arms were straight completely quickly. I think it was down to the constant physio exercises.Now 3 months on, the odd click but feels back to normal

Oct 04, 2010
HELP PLEASE
by: Hurting in MI

No insurance....Fractured the radial head bone in my elbow 6 weeks ago.My main problem is that I cant straighten it out.Just got a list of exercises im going to start doing and was wondering about over exercising it and icing it after exercising or heat pad? Any advice would be much appreciated.... Thanks

Oct 05, 2010
Ice pack
by: Anonymous

Hi, I found ice packs a real help and used resistance exercises, held onto the forearm with my good hand and using the injured arm force pressure against the good hand and hold that restistance for about 20 seconds for 10 sets. Do this about three times a day or more.

Oct 08, 2010
frustrating injury
by: Anonymous

i fell off my bike while riding a trail...went downhill and fell. fractured radial head in dominant arm.my first broken bone ever... cant work as a teacher. was put in splint. cant straighten arm out. for one week it will remain in splint. then doc will see if it started healing. the 2 docs i saw are recommending replacement. i'm a 47 yr old active women...who used to enjoy working out 3+ x a week. also lifting weights....but now im frustrated with the situation im in...
im taking vit D daily, drinking more milk, still working out when i can...after reading many comment i feel sad...that i have to put my active life on hold for thi pety injury...wondering if i should just have surgery asap...this splint is annoying...

Oct 09, 2010
to frustrating injury
by: cb

Hello Frustrating injury,

You did not mention how far your gap is in the radial head pieces. When I originally had my injury the er doctor stated that surgery would be necessary if the pieces showed to be displaced more than 3mm. I asked how far out they appear and he stated it was border line. I saw the orthopedic doctor a week later and he stated you will need surgery in 2 days. I asked how displaced the pieces were and he stated over 3mm.

I ended up with a full radial head replacement. It has been tough, lots of therapy, etc. It maybe easier on someone that has been active and used to exercising. My husband would tell me use this muscle set or another and I would just stare at him. I do not know the muscle sets so my thoughts would be wrist down or turn hand. I would do the surgery again if needed since all the research that I have found showed that if I did not then I may not be able to do all that I can today.

Good luck, the big thing is start the physical therapy after surgery as soon as possible ask your doctor before the surgery.

Oct 10, 2010
To frustrated injury
by: Anonymous

Having the radial head won't help with the physical strength to work out (in my experience anyway). I had a replacement about 4 yrs ago and now i'm gonna have it taken out completely and have nothing put in place as its not the major elbow joint and i'm sick of the restiction it causes me, yes i can move my arm to near perfect extention but i cannot use force or stenght on it. i've been told by feveral doc's that i and many people have lived perfectly well without the prosthesis in place. good luck!

Oct 13, 2010
shattered radial head
by: sdg

hi im just 2 weeks out of sugery i crashed while racing motocross shattered my radial head into a few pieces but they took the pices out and screwed them back together i also fracturedmy ulna and sheared the cartilage off. had a hard cast for 2 weeks now i'm in ahalf cast and can start to try and move it in 1 week. my fingers work normally. know this is going to be a long painful recovery. is thereany hope of racing again?

Oct 13, 2010
shattered radial head
by: sdg

hi im just 2 weeks out of sugery i crashed while racing motocross shattered my radial head into a few pieces but they took the pices out and screwed them back together i also fracturedmy ulna and sheared the cartilage off. had a hard cast for 2 weeks now i'm in ahalf cast and can start to try and move it in 1 week. my fingers work normally. know this is going to be a long painful recovery. is thereany hope of racing again?

Oct 14, 2010
i posted almost in march 09
by: Anonymous

look guys i knw its hard it was hard for me to. I fractured my radial head in my right arm in october 09 its been a year as it is october 2010
arm has improved greatly but Not full extension almost there so close. I can touch my shoulder now and can Flex bicep! Couldnt do that before it will slowly come back. I can do palm up and palm down now no problem NO PAIN i couldnt do it before but kept trying to move arm. I can lift Weights now not as heavy as before but im slowly progressing. Tried acupuncture it didnt wrk for me. All u need to do is strech ur arm every day 3 times a day or more. Lift light weights to begin with. Touch ur shoulder then extend with palms up as many times as u can then do it with palms down. Squeeze a grip ball and when u squeeze it then flex all ur fingers straight then sqeeze it again it help. IF u can go to a steam room or sauna it helps alot the heat loosens up the muscles and do streching in a steam or sauna room.
I went to see my physio and he told me to lie on my back straighten ur arm and get someone to slowly bend ur arm towards u then extend the arm down applying pressure so that it streches the arm out in extension DO THIS 3 times a day. ASLO if you guys have a cubicle shower at home where u can close the shower doors turn up the temperture of the water and spray on ur arm lean against the wall with palms up and ur fingers streching downwards and strech out ur arm and use other hand to push elbow from underneath then do it palms down it helps alot in streching ur arm and getting to full extension! Guys dont give up keep moveing ur arm go to the gym or train at home train ur legs ur whole body this will increase blood circulation go swimming be active. I knw its fukin hard i was depressed i couldnt move my arm at first i couldnt even touch my face now i can touch my face touch my shoulder easy no pain and almost full extension. I feel all of ur pain it gets better with time and movement. Good luck and be postive everything happens for a reason x :)

Oct 14, 2010
i posted almost in march 09
by: Anonymous

look guys i knw its hard it was hard for me to. I fractured my radial head in my right arm in october 09 its been a year as it is october 2010
arm has improved greatly but Not full extension almost there so close. I can touch my shoulder now and can Flex bicep! Couldnt do that before it will slowly come back. I can do palm up and palm down now no problem NO PAIN i couldnt do it before but kept trying to move arm. I can lift Weights now not as heavy as before but im slowly progressing. Tried acupuncture it didnt wrk for me. All u need to do is strech ur arm every day 3 times a day or more. Lift light weights to begin with. Touch ur shoulder then extend with palms up as many times as u can then do it with palms down. Squeeze a grip ball and when u squeeze it then flex all ur fingers straight then sqeeze it again it help. IF u can go to a steam room or sauna it helps alot the heat loosens up the muscles and do streching in a steam or sauna room.
I went to see my physio and he told me to lie on my back straighten ur arm and get someone to slowly bend ur arm towards u then extend the arm down applying pressure so that it streches the arm out in extension DO THIS 3 times a day. ASLO if you guys have a cubicle shower at home where u can close the shower doors turn up the temperture of the water and spray on ur arm lean against the wall with palms up and ur fingers streching downwards and strech out ur arm and use other hand to push elbow from underneath then do it palms down it helps alot in streching ur arm and getting to full extension! Guys dont give up keep moveing ur arm go to the gym or train at home train ur legs ur whole body this will increase blood circulation go swimming be active. I knw its fukin hard i was depressed i couldnt move my arm at first i couldnt even touch my face now i can touch my face touch my shoulder easy no pain and almost full extension. I feel all of ur pain it gets better with time and movement. Good luck and be postive everything happens for a reason x :)

Oct 14, 2010
1 YEAR ON AFTER RADIAL HEAD FRACTURE MY SECOND POST ON THIS PAGE! FIRST POST WAS IN MARCH 09 I THINK IT ENDED WITH IF U DONT USE IT U LOSE IT!
by: Anonymous

look guys i knw its hard it was hard for me to. I fractured my radial head in my right arm in october 09 its been a year as it is october 2010
arm has improved greatly but Not full extension almost there so close. I can touch my shoulder now and can Flex bicep! Couldnt do that before it will slowly come back. I can do palm up and palm down now no problem NO PAIN i couldnt do it before but kept trying to move arm. I can lift Weights now not as heavy as before but im slowly progressing. Tried acupuncture it didnt wrk for me. All u need to do is strech ur arm every day 3 times a day or more. Lift light weights to begin with. Touch ur shoulder then extend with palms up as many times as u can then do it with palms down. Squeeze a grip ball and when u squeeze it then flex all ur fingers straight then sqeeze it again it help. IF u can go to a steam room or sauna it helps alot the heat loosens up the muscles and do streching in a steam or sauna room.
I went to see my physio and he told me to lie on my back straighten ur arm and get someone to slowly bend ur arm towards u then extend the arm down applying pressure so that it streches the arm out in extension DO THIS 3 times a day. ASLO if you guys have a cubicle shower at home where u can close the shower doors turn up the temperture of the water and spray on ur arm lean against the wall with palms up and ur fingers streching downwards and strech out ur arm and use other hand to push elbow from underneath then do it palms down it helps alot in streching ur arm and getting to full extension! Guys dont give up keep moveing ur arm go to the gym or train at home train ur legs ur whole body this will increase blood circulation go swimming be active. I knw its fukin hard i was depressed i couldnt move my arm at first i couldnt even touch my face now i can touch my face touch my shoulder easy no pain and almost full extension. I feel all of ur pain it gets better with time and movement. Good luck and be postive everything happens for a reason x :)

Oct 14, 2010
1 YEAR ON AFTER RADIAL HEAD FRACTURE MY SECOND POST ON THIS PAGE! FIRST POST WAS IN MARCH 09 I THINK IT ENDED WITH IF U DONT USE IT U LOSE IT!
by: Anonymous

look guys i knw its hard it was hard for me to. I fractured my radial head in my right arm in october 09 its been a year as it is october 2010
arm has improved greatly but Not full extension almost there so close. I can touch my shoulder now and can Flex bicep! Couldnt do that before it will slowly come back. I can do palm up and palm down now no problem NO PAIN i couldnt do it before but kept trying to move arm. I can lift Weights now not as heavy as before but im slowly progressing. Tried acupuncture it didnt wrk for me. All u need to do is strech ur arm every day 3 times a day or more. Lift light weights to begin with. Touch ur shoulder then extend with palms up as many times as u can then do it with palms down. Squeeze a grip ball and when u squeeze it then flex all ur fingers straight then sqeeze it again it help. IF u can go to a steam room or sauna it helps alot the heat loosens up the muscles and do streching in a steam or sauna room.
I went to see my physio and he told me to lie on my back straighten ur arm and get someone to slowly bend ur arm towards u then extend the arm down applying pressure so that it streches the arm out in extension DO THIS 3 times a day. ASLO if you guys have a cubicle shower at home where u can close the shower doors turn up the temperture of the water and spray on ur arm lean against the wall with palms up and ur fingers streching downwards and strech out ur arm and use other hand to push elbow from underneath then do it palms down it helps alot in streching ur arm and getting to full extension! Guys dont give up keep moveing ur arm go to the gym or train at home train ur legs ur whole body this will increase blood circulation go swimming be active. I knw its frekin hard i was depressed i couldnt move my arm at first i couldnt even touch my face now i can touch my face touch my shoulder easy no pain and almost full extension. I feel all of ur pain it gets better with time and movement. Good luck and be postive everything happens for a reason x :)

Oct 20, 2010
Broke Radial Head 6 years ago - Still having problems
by: Anonymous

Six years ago, I fell sideways catching myself with my left arm fully extended and it snapped backwards. I went to the ER and was put in a cast. I followed up with the Ortho two days later and was put in a sling causing my arm to be bent for recovery. BAD IDEA GUYS!!!

So here I am six years later with nerve damage because of the way my arm healed. I have daily pain in my arm that is made worse by any and all activity. I drop things constantly and try hard not to even use that hand if I care anything about what I am trying to pick up. I am very healthy person who takes care of themselves, but I feel sure that had my arm been extended for recovery I would not be dealing with the issues now.

I have been through 3 years of extensive therapy now with no relief. The next step for me is surgery and I am READY for the relief.

I am not trying to scare any of you, but be careful to get a second opinion. The nerves that run through your elbow are serious business.

Oct 20, 2010
Broke Radial Head 6 years ago - Still having problems
by: Anonymous

Six years ago, I fell sideways catching myself with my left arm fully extended and it snapped backwards. I went to the ER and was put in a cast. I followed up with the Ortho two days later and was put in a sling causing my arm to be bent for recovery. BAD IDEA GUYS!!!

So here I am six years later with nerve damage because of the way my arm healed. I have daily pain in my arm that is made worse by any and all activity. I drop things constantly and try hard not to even use that hand if I care anything about what I am trying to pick up. I am very healthy person who takes care of themselves, but I feel sure that had my arm been extended for recovery I would not be dealing with the issues now.

I have been through 3 years of extensive therapy now with no relief. The next step for me is surgery and I am READY for the relief.

I am not trying to scare any of you, but be careful to get a second opinion. The nerves that run through your elbow are serious business.

Oct 20, 2010
frustrating injury
by: Anonymous

Hi again. Well haven't been able to type until now. Still it painful at time. As I injured the radial head on oct. 3rd 2010. It was a clean break. I was in a splint for about 2. Weeks. Doc took it off so that I can practice moving it. I can tell that movement is getting better. Still pain to turn door knob, twist tops off soda/water bottles, can't holdhubbys hand. Can't straighten arm out. Feels tight. Occassionally I get pain that shoots up to shoulder. still pain when I sleep but I take 800 mg Ibropofen. Driving is ok. Can't really put right arm to 12:00 position on steering wheel....also motion of cutting something is impossible. I try thru out day to move it but it hard. Often I get a sensation that its gonna crack. I'm really hoping to get back to work in another 2 weeks...but I teach 4-5 yr olds. Boss says I need to be able to lift a 40 lb child. Will that ever be possible. Tired of not being able to stretch arm out. So frustrating!!

Nov 04, 2010
nerve damage?
by: Hurting in Texas

Just wanted to say that I wish everyone on here a speedy recovery! Thank you all for your stories. After reading them I feel much better.

I am a 49 year old female and I fell in the drive way...not really sure why, except that the top of my left toe was ripped off which makes me think my flip-flop caught something and that sent me face down on a drive way that was inclined...this happened on Sept 28th, 2010. I have never broken a bone before so I was suprised to find out my left radial head was fractured. I fell hard enough to break one of my front teeth in half and have to have 3 stiches in my lip and 3 in my big toe. The emergency care sent me into orbit....they put a soft cast on my arm. I have delivered 4 children and never have I had such pain! 2 days later I went to my regular doc and she took one look at me and said you need an ortho doc. next thing i knew the ortho doc was coming in the room....lucky me and taking the cast off....he re x-rayed it and found the radial head fracture. He advised me to leave it in a sling but gave me several light exercises to do. 2 weeks later he re x-rayed my arm and increased the exercises. All was fine, at that point...I took advil and the occasional pain pill when I would over do it...but last week, I guess that would be week 4 my hand became swollen and very painful, also increased pain in my wrist. I called the doc and he said to ice it and lay off the exercises for a day or so...I did that, and found some relief...but only temporary. This week I called his office because the swelling is bad...can't close my hand, which I could do before. I just had my appointment with the ortho doc and he says that it is sympathic nerve syndrom? anyway, I am on a steriod pack, then gabbipition or neuronton? He has now scheduled me for PT next week and says I should take vita c? and call him if my swelling goes away but my hand developes sensitivity to touch...so much so that a tissue touching it would make me cringe...any thoughts? suggestions or comments from anyone? Has anyone experienced this? Up till now I thought I was so lucky.....I have a high tollerence for pain and did all of my exercises...so I thought I was progressing...wow what a set back!

Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nov 06, 2010
Radial Head Fracture
by: Angi

My left hand radial head has been fracture since February 2010, I can do alot of things with my hand, but I am still having pain, and unable to get the full extension. I will be doing a radial head replacement 3wks time. I am scared but God is going to carry me through.


Angi
JAMAICA

Nov 06, 2010
Radial Head Fracture
by: Angi

My left hand radial head has been fracture since February 2010, I can do alot of things with my hand, but I am still having pain, and unable to get the full extension. I will be doing a radial head replacement 3wks time. I am scared but God is going to carry me through.


Angi
JAMAICA

Nov 06, 2010
Post Surgery 6 weeks now
by: Canada

Broke my Radial Head in a baseball game whereby my team mate tackled me while going for a fly ball in center field where I was playing. 180 lb male crusing a 110 llb female.
Put in a sling for a week till I saw the surgeon, then surgery next day to replace the head.
I am a very active individual who goes to the gym every day and mountain bikes and weight lifts so this injury was very discouraging for me.
I put away my mountain bike for the season but have been able to do cylcing classes afer 4 days of surgery.
Physio is good, I do this every few hours and am gaining range of motion. Small milestone, I can tie my shoes, I can eat chicken wing with two hands, was able to clap my hands yesterday. I feel like a five year old, however with these small milestones, I might be The key is to keep doing the exercises every few hours.

Nov 08, 2010
radial head fracture
by: kingster

well i fractured my radial head while skating,dummy me huh?lol.Doctor said i dont need surgery,but to follow up with orthipedic doctor.Well i have not seen one yet,cause of insurance reasons,but i have full ententions when i get that resolved.Can move my arm almost anywhere i please,can flex bicep and muscle,turn palm upwards and facedown,can not touch shoulder yet though,or extend arm all the way straight,but almost.can clap hands and turn door knobs,what really is bugging me though,is that my arm pops and cracks when i turn it,can even hit palm with fist,any suggestions on the pop and crack,and when should i start lifting weights with arm?It has been three weeks almost since injury occured.Good luck to all of yall that has this enoying problem. Thanks everyone.

Nov 08, 2010
radial head fracture
by: kingster

well i fractured my radial head while skating,dummy me huh?lol.Doctor said i dont need surgery,but to follow up with orthipedic doctor.Well i have not seen one yet,cause of insurance reasons,but i have full ententions when i get that resolved.Can move my arm almost anywhere i please,can flex bicep and muscle,turn palm upwards and facedown,can not touch shoulder yet though,or extend arm all the way straight,but almost.can clap hands and turn door knobs,what really is bugging me though,is that my arm pops and cracks when i turn it,can even hit palm with fist,any suggestions on the pop and crack,and when should i start lifting weights with arm?It has been three weeks almost since injury occured.Good luck to all of yall that has this enoying problem. Thanks everyone.

Nov 08, 2010
radial head fracture
by: kingster

well i fractured my radial head while skating,dummy me huh?lol.Doctor said i dont need surgery,but to follow up with orthipedic doctor.Well i have not seen one yet,cause of insurance reasons,but i have full ententions when i get that resolved.Can move my arm almost anywhere i please,can flex bicep and muscle,turn palm upwards and facedown,can not touch shoulder yet though,or extend arm all the way straight,but almost.can clap hands and turn door knobs,what really is bugging me though,is that my arm pops and cracks when i turn it,can even hit palm with fist,any suggestions on the pop and crack,and when should i start lifting weights with arm?It has been three weeks almost since injury occured.Good luck to all of yall that has this enoying problem. Thanks everyone.

Nov 12, 2010
Injured on Aug 4th 2010- now it is Nov, 11th 2010
by: Stephanie

Hope is near poor elbow folks, I didn't have surgery I just simply moved it as it hurt I have about 94% of range of motion, It aches when the weather changes I take Zyflamend by Chapter ,on sale at Amazon right now, it helps alot! Use less pain killers ! So yep hand in there~ Aloha! P.s I would recommend getting x-rays just to make sure you are getting better in alignment!

Nov 12, 2010
frustrated
by: Anonymous

Injured on 10/3/10...since ii posted before I won't give my story..I will say that I still can't make a straight arm but began physical therapy and daily I do exercises after I heat arm with a moist heating pad. The arm exercises are not too painful but I sure hope it works. If it doesn't work...I will haveto wear some kind of crazy looking splint.
This injury takes time to heal. Patience is needed!
I still can't touch shoulder with finger or turn palm up all of the way. Eating is difficult, and opening a twist top bottle...but movement is improving. Good luck to all who are struggling with this injury.

Nov 12, 2010
physical therapy/push yourself
by: Anonymous

I fractured my radial head in late September healed wrong. Mechanical block. Scheduled surgery I am 5 wks. post op. 7wks post initial injury. I am allergic to pain meds but managed through the 24-48hr post op phase with ice.... Ice it baby! Ice is my new best friend... For about a month I couldn't touch my face, head or tie my shoes. couldn't use my left arm in an efficient manner whatsoever.
My neighbor had a similar experience and told me to start doing as much as I could with my injured arm. Driving, dressing, cleaning, washing windows with your injured elbow mopping or mowing a lawn with the injured elbow just doing day to day tasks. With that mentality no pain meds and PT 3x per week I am progressing well. My strength is still embarassingly wimpy! my mobility and fine motor is awesome. After a while your body adjusts to constant dull pain and it becomes a mind over matter thing. Don't give up don't depend on meds and do your exercises even if you crack, pop and hurt a bit. We are all responsible for our own recovery and happiness.
Don't give up and don't fear discomfort.

Nov 12, 2010
physical therapy/push yourself
by: Anonymous

I fractured my radial head in late September healed wrong. Mechanical block. Scheduled surgery I am 5 wks. post op. 7wks post initial injury. I am allergic to pain meds but managed through the 24-48hr post op phase with ice.... Ice it baby! Ice is my new best friend... For about a month I couldn't touch my face, head or tie my shoes. couldn't use my left arm in an efficient manner whatsoever.
My neighbor had a similar experience and told me to start doing as much as I could with my injured arm. Driving, dressing, cleaning, washing windows with your injured elbow mopping or mowing a lawn with the injured elbow just doing day to day tasks. With that mentality no pain meds and PT 3x per week I am progressing well. My strength is still embarassingly wimpy! my mobility and fine motor is awesome. After a while your body adjusts to constant dull pain and it becomes a mind over matter thing. Don't give up don't depend on meds and do your exercises even if you crack, pop and hurt a bit. We are all responsible for our own recovery and happiness.
Don't give up and don't fear discomfort.

Nov 14, 2010
Radial Head Replacement...
by: Sunny

I slipped on the ice January 2009 & broke my radial head...I had replacement surgery just a week later. I have severe pain occasionally at the top of my forearm & my wrist. I have been putting it off becase it comes and goes but I am thinking I will go back & get it looked at... if anyone else has this prob please email me with any advise! acloud7399@gmail.com

Nov 20, 2010
Radial Head fracture healing progress
by: SJ

I fractured my radial head of my right arm 6 weeks ago, I was told by the attending doctor at the time to put the arm in a sling and rest it as much as possible. I went to see an ortho later who left me with the decision of whether to operate or not. I luckily chose not to operate and wore the sling for almost 2 weeks.

4 weeks into the injury, I could fully extend and flex my arm (well let's say 99%), however I couldn't rotate the forearm with my palm up without excruciating pain. I started physio and after 6 sessions I could turn my hand palm up and palm down with some pain.

Right now I can rotate the hand upward and downward with no problem, though it gets a bit stiff in mornings but it was fine throughout the day.

My physio tells me that it's the soft tissue surrounding the bone that causes all this pain and stiffness and not the bone itself. Therefore I'm going to give it another month and hopefully it will be back to normal (By normal I mean back to weight lifting as I can do everything with no issues now)

Wish you all a speedy recovery :)


Nov 24, 2010
fractured radial head
by: chris

Fell while out walking 07 11 10 stumbled on an uneven track road. The usual outsreached arm to save myself ooooh my word the intense pain and nausea( i think childbirth wasnt this painfull).
A+E staff put it in a broad arm sling and told to rest and take analgesia. Im now suffering tingling and pain in my upperarm and wrist is anyone else suffering this ? and i have a sick note for 6 weeks will this be long enough i work as a nurse. Any info would be most wellcome.

Nov 24, 2010
fractured radial head
by: chris

Fell while out walking 07 11 10 stumbled on an uneven track road. The usual outsreached arm to save myself ooooh my word the intense pain and nausea( i think childbirth wasnt this painfull).
A+E staff put it in a broad arm sling and told to rest and take analgesia. Im now suffering tingling and pain in my upperarm and wrist is anyone else suffering this ? and i have a sick note for 6 weeks will this be long enough i work as a nurse. Any info would be most wellcome.

Nov 29, 2010
Never give up
by: Higgs

Sj - how did you fracture yours?

Anna - your attitude and story was my favorite


I'm 24 and fractured my RH with minor displacement. (elbow) I was thrown off my motorcycle mid turn (about 25mph) and my right elbow took most of the impact. I'm am active male in good shape. Not sure if because of adrenaline or not but my arm did not bothersome right away. I even picked up my bike and rode it home. Later I realized my arm in severe pain with my elbow completely locked. I suffered acl reconstruction 2 years ago and was depressed throughout trying to recover. I refuse to act that way again and I'm going to do everything possible to have a functioning arm again. After 2 days realizing something was definitely wrong I went to ER. I found out I have a RH fracture with small displacement. He thinks displacement might not okay for no surgery but still wants me to see orthopedic. I iced it for first 72 hours and started using heat today. The heat makes it feel so good. I am at a very early stage and everyone elses story makes me userstand how serious this is and that it is a long process to heal. I most certainly want to be able to lift weights again. I experience the same pain as everyone else. Unable to rotate
Wrist extend or supinate. My elbow gets
Stiff but I refuse to be defeated
And I want to encourage anyone is to as well. Never give up and stay positive. Whether you need surgery or not make sure you do PT at home or where available. Love
And god bless. Stay positive and never be defeated recovery is 50% mental

Nov 29, 2010
Radial Head Replacement
by: Anonymous

I fell in the push-up position in May 2010 and shattered my radial head beyond reasonable repair. In July 2010 I had my radial head completely replaced. I started OT after about four weeks. It was slow going at first, but by sticking to the schedule and following the Therapists instructions I got most of my ROM back. I can touch my my palm to my elbow just as well as I could before and I can turn my palm face up just as I could before. The only movement I didn't completely get back was the hyperextension (this is the movement you do when you are flexing you tricep), but I got it almost completely back. Currently, I have started some lite weight training. Sometimes when a work out I have some pops and creaks. This is normal and you just have to let it not bother you. Just stretch your arm out, go about your business, and try not to over do it. If you start feeling pain in the joint that is propably a sign that you are overdoing it. The key is to start lite and build up. My OT and my Surgeon both said that I would never be pusing the most weight around in the gym, but the key would be less weight, more reps.

If you are debating radial head replacement, I would encourage you to go ahead and do it - especially if your fracture is severe. The closer you get to six weeks post-fracture, your bones will heal almost completely in place. If they begin to heal in improper positions then you will have less ROM in the long run. The sooner you have the head replaced the better the replacement will work, the faster you will recover, and the faster you can get back to a normal life.

Nov 30, 2010
RH Fracture progress update
by: SJ

Higgs, I fractured my elbow the exact same you fractured yours, I even had a minor displacement! and I'm an active 25 male in a very good shape so my hand didn't bother me much either, but I went to the hospital just to make sure nothing is wrong, since I was away on vacation and discovered that I fractured my RH!

Anyhow keep up that attitude of never giving up, right now I'm at the 7 week mark post injury, and I must say that I'm surprised by the improvement I have in one week, right now I can fully extend and flex my arm with minor pain and can turn my hand at any position as well. I began to lift light weights (around 5 lbs) and I can do some assisted push ups, my physio actually encouraged me to do those and gave me some weight training in the sessions.

So Here I am, 7 weeks post injury, 8 sessions of PT, bone completely healed and soft tissue healed by 80%, back to my normal day to day activities with some modifications to my training routines, I have finished the PT sessions and now I'm encouraged to increase the weights in training gradually to the point where I don't feel much pain in the joint.

Believe that you can do it and you will, as Higgs said, it's 50% mental and the rest is hard work and persistence.

Good luck y'all!

Dec 06, 2010
Is it common for ur hand to turn Cold with a radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

i fractured my Radial head just last friday and i have a cast on but just today my hand started turning cold and ive hsd a tingling feeling in it like it asleep but not if that makes any sense. Is it bad that my hand turned ice cold or do i have nothing to worry about?

Dec 06, 2010
regarding arm coldness/tingling
by: Anonymous

Do you have a hard cast on? Typically you wear a sling or soft cast. Ice cold and tingling, I'm not a doctor but that doesn't sound typical... Check with your doc... Sometimes the nerves in the radial head area get effected and you could be experiencing nerve issues rather than bone...
good luck!

Dec 06, 2010
regarding arm coldness/tingling
by: Anonymous

Do you have a hard cast on? Typically you wear a sling or soft cast. Ice cold and tingling, I'm not a doctor but that doesn't sound typical... Check with your doc... Sometimes the nerves in the radial head area get effected and you could be experiencing nerve issues rather than bone...
good luck!

Dec 08, 2010
broken humerus
by: Anonymous bloke

Broke my upper humerus oct 4th. Now in 11th week of healing. Because of age 70 and poor bones having a hard time. Right arm rom of motion only about 107 arm lifted sideways, around 130 lifed infront of me. Passive exercises very painful. I am a little fed up hoping to be at a better stage.
Broke the same bone,same arm 10yrs ago, at that time got full range of motion back, the pain was beyond belief, tears ran down my face.
I am scared to push then pain starts, scared the dam thing will open and I will end up in the ER
Stay strong everyone................

Dec 11, 2010
Radial Head replacement
by: SDS

I am a 53 yr. old female. My radial head was replaced in my right (dominant)arm on 10/6/10 after falling in a pot-hole in an unlit parking lot. PT started immediately following the splint removal. It is now 8+ weeks post surgery and I am still unable to extend my arm, rotate my forearm, turn my wrist etc... I attend therapy 3x a week which includes using ultra sound. In addition, my home therapy takes hours daily. I use a JAS splint 3x a day attempting to increase my extension. I use another appliance constructed to stretch in the opposite direction, attempting to reach my shoulder. I am seeing some, but minimal results. I feel like I am always doing SOMETHING in an effort to gain some improvement. I have a 'guarded muscle' that refuses to cooperate. It is perpetually flexed causing my arm to constantly feel achy and fatigued. I also experience frequent pain in my hand, wrist & fingers. Any suggestions, ideas or comments would be appreciaterd. I see the surgeon for follow-up in 3 days. I'd like to ask him about botox into the muscle to relax it, not sure how far fetched this would be.

Dec 14, 2010
To SDS
by: Paul

Hi, I've had a radial head replacement and experienced the exact same symptoms that you speak of. My injury was caused 4 yrs ago and had replacement put in 4 weeks after. I found that resistance exercise to be the best and have full extention and near full rotation. I also had and still have pain in the wrist and finger (little finger and ring finger) this is due to pressure being put on the wrist as the prosthesis has come loose. I can still function normally but and repetative use of the arm causes me great pain for weeks after. If you wish to email me please do. paulallen872@hotmail.com

Dec 25, 2010
Non-displaced radial head fracture of left elbow
by: Cathy

I fractured the radial head of my left elbow on December 7, 2010 when the chair I was standing in fell backwards. Orthopedic surgeon confirmed I had chipped a piece of bone and put me in a soft cast. He advised me to do home exercises, which I have been doing (extending and touching my nose). It has now been 2 1/2 weeks and I have seen some improvement. The main problem I am experiencing is the "snapping motion" which causes me extreme discomfort; however, not been able to identify what I do that causes this. Is the "snapping or cracking" feeling common or caused by a certain movement? Return to ortho surgeon on 1/17/11 and am hopeful for a complete recovery.

Dec 27, 2010
broken radial
by: Anonymous

I fell fixin the christmas tree, so my christmas was spend bed in a cast , pain, will see the docter in a few days , they had to put a pin to keep the bone in place, my fingers are still swollen . am wondering if he will be putting my arm back in the cast.

Dec 27, 2010
broken radial
by: Anonymous

I fell fixin the christmas tree, so my christmas was spend bed in a cast , pain, will see the docter in a few days , they had to put a pin to keep the bone in place, my fingers are still swollen . am wondering if he will be putting my arm back in the cast.

Dec 29, 2010
nerve damage
by: Anonymous

I had the radial head removed in June 2010. Healing was slow but did have lots of improvement. 6 weeks ago my hand started going numb with alot of pain in the elbow. Has anyone else experienced numbness? I go for nerve conduction tests next week. My orthopedic surgeon claims the numbness has nothing to do with the injury or surgery.

Dec 30, 2010
fractured radial head almost 8 weeks ago
by: Georgie

Hello there, i stumbled quite by accident here:) I will book mark it now!. I have a grade 1 (UK based) radial head fracture, I had a full POP for 7 days as there was significant odema and they felt there might be a second fracture, fortunately there wasn't. I am a Staff Nurse in teh NHS and need both my arms to do my job on a busy surgical ward and despite this I was discharged with 2 exercises top do reguarly ( which i do despite it hurting then i stop),. It kept clicking like mad !! still does which actually makes me quite nausteated!. I tried to get a new fracture clinic appt and was told i had to go back through a and e again!. 4 hours later and re-xrayed and the bone is not healing!. I was so cross and very worried, im due back to work next week!. I got very cross and have been refered as an "emergency" to our physiotherapy dept but it looks like i mght have to wear a support or brace or a while, though im told with that i can go back to work and use it as normal!. I do wonder sometimes what ppl are thinking and their perception of pain when they say such things! anyway I will keep you posted and if anyone has any other fab ideas for speedy recoverys keep posting them here . This is the only place i have fouind support there truly is a lack of info on this very pesky nasty fracture. Happy |New Year btw to you all x

Dec 31, 2010
hey george
by: Anonymous

I broke my radial head in September it healed wrong. In early October had surgery. I have been in physical therapy regularly and returned to work. Yeah the pain is nauseating... Strange sort of discomfort. I would strongly encourage surgery to correct any mechanical blocks. So worth the pain and discomfort... I am now pain free and have my mobility and most of my strength back. It has been hard work and not without alot of discomfort and bumps along the way. Nonetheless, totally worth it... Physical Therapy has opened my eyes to the importance of staying active, positive and participating in my own recovery. So many people out there with major injuries and physical impairments I feel very fortunate... Please, get surgery if you feel like your arm isn't in sync with the rest of your body. It isn't thaaat bad although there is pain, discomfort and downtime in the end you will be glad you did it!!! Get the opinion and advice from a younger surgeon orthopaedist because new methods of surgery and physical therapy are always happening! Or atleast seek out a surgeon who is well versed with your specific type of injury... Good Luck in the New Year!

Jan 04, 2011
Re- Nerve Damage (as above)
by: Paul

Just a quick note on nerve damage. I had and still do experience nerve damage and beleive that if you look into it you will find a problem called 'ulnar Nerve' disorder, normally caused by pressure placed on the (funny bone) nerve. This can cause numbness in the little and ring fingers and the 'ulnar' side of the hand.

Jan 04, 2011
Re- Nerve Damage (as above)
by: Paul

Just a quick note on nerve damage. I had and still do experience nerve damage and beleive that if you look into it you will find a problem called 'ulnar Nerve' disorder, normally caused by pressure placed on the (funny bone) nerve. This can cause numbness in the little and ring fingers and the 'ulnar' side of the hand.

Jan 05, 2011
Broken Radial Head Nov 23-10
by: Patricia

Hi All,

I fell like a domino on my entire left side the first icy day of the year (Nov 23-10). Pain was intense. But I continued on to work. My left leg bruised up immediately and hurt horribly. My elbow hurt as well and swelled up so much that I could barely move it.

Three days after my fall, when my leg stopped hurting I realized my elbow really hurt. By this time it had swollen so much I lost my elbow and could barely move it out of the "sling" position.

Went to the family dr, then emergency room and discovered I had a broken Radial Head bone in my left elbow. The Dr advised me to wear a sling and not to drive and got an appt to see an ortho surgeon for the following week.

Basically I was told by the ortho surgeon that I had a broken elbow, was not allowed to drive (although I had driven for the first three days after the incident)and to keep it in a sling for 2 weeks after the initial injury. Apparently they felt the bone would heal but were more afraid that the elbow would freeze and I would not be able to move it once it did heal even with therapy.

My elbow hurt but I kept trying to move it as much as physically possible (totally stopped at the point whenever my arm hurt too much) but kept it in the sling position for most of the time. Only took a day off work (after having the x-rays which were killer). I work at a computer and had to continue to use the arm for typing. Never knew so many keys were on the left side of the keyboard!.

2 weeks later at my next orth apt, was told although the bone was not knitting, my range of movement was amazing. Apparently most people at this stage are still in the sling position. My next ortho appt is in a week. My surgeon said NOT to do any physical therapy because the arm was not ready for it but told me to continue what ever it is I am doing.

I DO NOT lift anything with that arm nor have I driven since being told not to. I have tried to move it as much as physically possible but stop immediately once I get sharp pains. At first it was torture to try and move my forearm and wrist, now it is just a little uncomfortable. Opening doors, turning on water facets and opening cans are painful so I avoid those things as much as possible.

I am more then happy with my mobility but am having pains in my elbow now more then when I broke it. My shoulder and wrist are tired and at times can not find a comfortable position for the elbow. Although the surgeon said it didnt look like any nerve damage, I am having lots of tingles in the elbow and sometimes down the forearm.

Despite my good mobility (I am able to almost straighten it now), I am worried that the bone is not knitting well and if I will get arthiritis or nerve damage. The new pains are hopefully the bone knitting but it does cause me great concern.

It is really nice to have stumbled onto this site and read how other people are fairly with a similiar injury.

Thanks everyone for sharing!


Jan 06, 2011
left arm, skapula, radial head fracture
by: vern

Two different accidents. First a branch fell out of a tree hitting me in the head and braking my scapula left arm and puncured my left lung in 1992. 18 years later,fell roller skating left arm radial head fracture,2 months ago.Now I am in pain alot of pain, my arm feels warmer than the rest of my body. my left elbow is not bending right and im loosing movement in my wrist and elbow.my elbow pops all the time. My wrist is wanting to curl under. i am loosing strenght in my arm. nelsonvern@yahoo.com

Jan 06, 2011
left arm, skapula, radial head fracture
by: vern

Two different accidents. First a branch fell out of a tree hitting me in the head and braking my scapula left arm and puncured my left lung in 1992. 18 years later,fell roller skating left arm radial head fracture,2 months ago.Now I am in pain alot of pain, my arm feels warmer than the rest of my body. my left elbow is not bending right and im loosing movement in my wrist and elbow.my elbow pops all the time. My wrist is wanting to curl under. i am loosing strenght in my arm. nelsonvern@yahoo.com

Jan 11, 2011
Radial Head not healing
by: Anonymous

I fell 10 weeks ago and was diagnosed with a fractured ulna near the elbow. Wore a sling for 3 weeks until my next Dr. visit. My arm was xray for the 2nd time and was told that the facture was healing nicely. I was began physical therapy 3x a week. I was happy with the results from PT, but I still had a burning sensation in my elbow and pain turning hand palm up. A lot of improvement from day 1 of the injury, but I felt I was not quite there yet. I am now at 10 weeks since the injury and went to see my Dr for the 3rd visit. I had another xray of my elbow. This time the fracture of the Ulna was not mentioned, but was told that my radia head is not healing. The Dr. mentioned radial head replacement. I was so surprised to hear this diagnosis, that I did not ask any questions. The Dr. said to give it another 4 weeks of PT and follow-up appointment in 4 weeks. I have been reading information about radial head fractures and the pain I am still experiencing makes sense that there is something wrong with the radial head. Is it possible that the radial head injury not show up in the first 2 sets of xrays? I have many questions for my Dr. now and I am going to call tomorrow. Thanks for any advice or comments. Mr DR is an orthopaedist.

Jan 11, 2011
Radial Head not healing
by: Anonymous

I fell 10 weeks ago and was diagnosed with a fractured ulna near the elbow. Wore a sling for 3 weeks until my next Dr. visit. My arm was xray for the 2nd time and was told that the facture was healing nicely. I was began physical therapy 3x a week. I was happy with the results from PT, but I still had a burning sensation in my elbow and pain turning hand palm up. A lot of improvement from day 1 of the injury, but I felt I was not quite there yet. I am now at 10 weeks since the injury and went to see my Dr for the 3rd visit. I had another xray of my elbow. This time the fracture of the Ulna was not mentioned, but was told that my radia head is not healing. The Dr. mentioned radial head replacement. I was so surprised to hear this diagnosis, that I did not ask any questions. The Dr. said to give it another 4 weeks of PT and follow-up appointment in 4 weeks. I have been reading information about radial head fractures and the pain I am still experiencing makes sense that there is something wrong with the radial head. Is it possible that the radial head injury not show up in the first 2 sets of xrays? I have many questions for my Dr. now and I am going to call tomorrow. Thanks for any advice or comments. Mr DR is an orthopaedist.

Jan 19, 2011
Broken elbow radial head dominant side
by: Anonymous

True bummer. 12/23/10 I tripped, pitching forward onto my knees, both hands outstretched and my right elbow. All bruises, except my right elbow, which is a "mild" break, I was told in ER, and by my doctor, who took me out of the 4 day old splint, ordered me to wear the sling sometimes, plus pt 3x/wk for 6 weeks. The only arm pain I had was upon twisting or lifting or grabbing, but my hand was immediately, extremely painful, especially my thumb, and when trying to make a fist...it is awful still, and forget it when it comes to strength. I am working very hard at therapy... maybe, too, hard for now I have serious nausiating pain in my forearm, and wrist as well, plus when I try to close my fist, the center of my palm feels like a knife is going though it. I am using my hand to type this, and for every possible thing without weight. In therapy I use 1 lb. My range of motion is very good, which all are surprised by it. It is just the weakness, the pain, sometimes excruciating, and weird ouchy. Well, I feel it is healing, but not w/o some awfulness. My skin is sore as if maybe I now have nerve damage. Well, that's my radial head story. I think I will look up how to stretch my forearm muscles to help my hand maybe? Also, my physical therapist mentioned the fascia being displaced, and she massaged my forearm by holding compression with very little movement, and that felt healing. We also use some electrodes, ice, putty, and bands. Well, good luck everyone. Thanks to this site.

Jan 26, 2011
cycle accident
by: dajpa

front wheel locked when dog ran in front of my bike , got catapulted into the air and landed on wrists , fractured and mildly displaced radial head in left elbow. hospital wanted to operate and put screw in but my own private othopod said no. put ice on elbow 20 minutes 8 times a day and then after 1 week start pt. if after 6 weeks restricted movement then surgery but not before.my caste is cut in the middle so i can take it off to do the icing. early mobility and exercise is the solution so i have been told. wish me luck as i want to get baCK INTO CYCLING IN 12 weeks.sorry for the 1 finger typing

Jan 26, 2011
RH replacement - follow up surgery
by: SDS

Hi, I'm looking for input regarding surgical release of elbow contracture. ROM is 38/105 (Extention/Flexion). Radial Head was replaced 10/6/10. Most areas have improved but flexion has remained unchanged for the past 10 weeks. From the onset I have had extensive muscle guarding. I use dynamic extension and flexion splints 3x a day, in addition to other home excercises. PT was recently decreased to 2x wk. I see the surgeon 2/7/11 at which time he will probably recommend the surgery. Any input on what to expect ? What about the muscle guarding following surgery ? He did mention the surgery would be incredibly painful and I would have to 'push' through the pain with meds. immediately following surgery. I've been out of work since I fell in Sept. It's been a long process and I need 'normal' back.
Thank you ~ Sandy

Jan 26, 2011
nerve damage after radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

Had nerve conduction studies performed 6 months after radial head fracture and removal because of numbness in the hand and alot of pain in the arm. Was diagnosed with both ulna and radial nerve damage most likely from scar tissue. The pinkey and 4th finger are always numb and the pain is in the crook of the elbow. Now the doctor is talking about another surgery to move the nerves so they are not constricted. Last thing I want is more surgery. Anyone else had this done?

Jan 27, 2011
its been long enough
by: Anonymous

Its been 4 mths since I fell off bike breaking radial head in dominant arm. Has improved since then. But cant straighten arm. Go to PT every week. Doc put arm in parafin wax and stretches it out, with massage etc...But arm tightens up soon afterwards. Reaching out for things is hard, but pain comes and goes. Im wondering if something else is the problem. I exercise it often at the gym, but it just wont straighten out. Touching shoulder is hard to do with lots of pain. I can do most everything. But often wonder how much longer I will have this problem. Use a JAS splint to also help stretch arm. Would like to get back on my bike...

Feb 03, 2011
Radial Head Fracture in Alberta
by: Gary

I am dealing with WCB due to a radial head fracture that occured May 15th 2006, Ya I know long time ago, I just had Surgery by an Ortho in Red Deer AB Dec 9th 2010, I have the same symptoms as pretty much everyone else is describing here, could not straighten my arm for 4 yrs now turning twisting pain, numbness my life sucked, wcb denied me the surgery on Dec 9th stating that because a bone spur was spotted on an x-ray dated May 26,2006 Spurring noted at the insertion of the Achilles on the Ulecranon this is the actual quote of the report, Sandra Resch CM of WCB Alberta decided that I had a bone spur previous to breaking my elbow and was disallowing my surgery left me 2 months with no income, the Dr who did the surgery did the following removed the tip of the olecranon, I had some osteophytes removed the ulnar nerve was found to be tight and showing some edema that was mobilized and freed. I now have full extension which did not have 4 yrs prior, pronation and subnation are all remarkable, I have not had this much relief in 4 yrs since I injured my arm..wcb has caused great distress in my world I am interested if anyone else is having the same problem with WCB and denying this type of injury ??..Please contact me at colleenandgary@shaw.ca if you have or are having similar problems. I have feeling in my hand again no tingling or numbness...I will note that I have never had a problem with my elbow prior to this injury but the Case Manager tells me that I did just no symptoms

Feb 04, 2011
Update
by: Anonymous

I first commented here about a year ago. At that time I was experiencing a lot of pain and restricted movement due to surgery after having fallen and broken my olecranium, radial head and ulna. Surgery led to a plate with 11 screws and a radial head replacement. A year later, I am doing much better, Went to physio and worked extremely hard and I mean extremely hard, but it paid off in the end. Although I still have restricted movement, I am much better than I was. I may have to have surgery to remove the plate and screws as it is extremely close to the surface. My arm still bothers me on a daily basis but it is much better than it was. I wanted to let anyone know that has recently experiences a similar injury just to hang in there. It does get better with time.

Feb 07, 2011
RADAIL HEAD
by: Anonymous

Hi I have fractured my radial head and went to one doc and he did not advised me of it until i went to a other doc and he advised me of it. the first doc after 3 months he tells me he cant do that surgery. the second doc says i need a radial head replacement. I don't think so cuz I'm able to move my palm up and down more. I have seen worst fracters than mind. They have been fixed with plate and some with screws is there anyone that can tell me of a good doc in houston, tx.

Feb 08, 2011
Radial Implant
by: Kathleen

Glad to find others with this issue. I fell down stairs on ice in 2005. Went to the ER to be told I had a minor facture. Sent home with meds and told to see an orto doctor for a cast after the swelling went down. Saw my ortho doctor 5 days laster, after being strung out on pain pills, and was told that I needed immediate surgery (they looked at the same x-ray from the ER.

I had a radial head implant installed and went through 12 weeks of PT, 3 times a week.

I regained 90% of motion and full strength.

Today I type with 1 hand, as my nerves in my other arm are killing me. Nothing brought this on, just started hurting and now full blown nerve pain. I had gone to my ortho in Oct with a locked up elbow and minor nerve pain. They did x-rays and found nothing wrong. He told me I may need surgeruy at some point from the scar tissue and famage from the shattered bones affecting my nerves for 5 days after the accident.

Anyone out there having severe nerve pain up and down the arm starting at the elbow and going both ways?

Feb 10, 2011
Update
by: Patricia

I posted back in early January about my broken elbow. Just wanted to report that I have healed amazingly well. I have about 98% of my mobility back and can do almost all my normal activities except that I still can not lift very much. My orth surgeon suggested I start physical therapy to regain the strength in that arm/eblow which I agree is needed. My shoulder and wrist still get very tired easily but overall I am happy that my healing was so quick. I am still not driving nor shovelling snow but I dont mind that. Thanks to everyone that shared their stories on the board and I wish everyone heals as well as I have.

Feb 12, 2011
broken radial neck
by: lisaaaa

hi everyone.

on january 22 i tripped over my 2 year old and fell full force on my outstretched arm.

i ended up with a broken radial neck in the elbow. i had surgery the very next morning and 5 screws were placed into the arm.

i wore a cast for 2 weeks and am now wearing a splint that i remove 3 times a day to try to move the arm up and done. i am not able to stretch the arm straight or bend the arm all the way up. it is not painful but just extremely stiff.

i wanted to know if anyone here knows whether the radial neck fracture is as painful to recover from as the radial head fracture.

has anyone else experienced this? what should i expect? i have read through this forum and it is scary what people have gone through.

thanks!


Feb 14, 2011
Radial Head - removing implant
by: HYL

Hi all,

I had my radial head replaced with a titanium implant back in July 2009. It was an isolated type III fracture from a fall playing soccer.

I regained nearly all of my motion after a lot of hard work. After 12 weeks I started to play golf again pretty much every week (Doc mentioned it was ok to play) since. I felt tender in my forearm but never felt any real pain.

Its now Jan 2011 and i just found out from my surgeon that the implant has become loose and needs to be removed completely.

I am not looking forward to the surgery. Has anyone else have had their implant removed? what your experience?

Feb 14, 2011
Radial Head - removing implant
by: HYL

Hi all,

I had my radial head replaced with a titanium implant back in July 2009. It was an isolated type III fracture from a fall playing soccer.

I regained nearly all of my motion after a lot of hard work. After 12 weeks I started to play golf again pretty much every week (Doc mentioned it was ok to play) since. I felt tender in my forearm but never felt any real pain.

Its now Jan 2011 and i just found out from my surgeon that the implant has become loose and needs to be removed completely.

I am not looking forward to the surgery. Has anyone else have had their implant removed? what your experience?

Feb 14, 2011
Radial Head - removing implant
by: HYL

Hi all,

I had my radial head replaced with a titanium implant back in July 2009. It was an isolated type III fracture from a fall playing soccer.

I regained nearly all of my motion after a lot of hard work. After 12 weeks I started to play golf again pretty much every week (Doc mentioned it was ok to play) since. I felt tender in my forearm but never felt any real pain.

Its now Jan 2011 and i just found out from my surgeon that the implant has become loose and needs to be removed completely.

I am not looking forward to the surgery. Has anyone else have had their implant removed? what your experience?

Feb 19, 2011
Nerve Pain
by: Kathleen O

Someone had posted that they had nerve studies doen to numbness and pain down from the elbow area to the pinky and ring finger.

I too have had this done, and was told the same thing; scar tissue. I went 1 week with nerves exposed, as the ER told me the injury was minor and to go home, only to follow up with my Orthopedic DR and taken to surgery immediately.

Anyway... The nerve pain is bad. The numbness, I've gotten used to it. I had my arm freeze up 2 weeks ago for 3 days straight. Couldn't move my arm and the pain was unbearable (oxy is my friend). It felt as though someone took a sledge hammer and smashed me at my elbow and the nerve pain radiates everywhere in my arm. Thankfully it was only 3 days and all is fine now.

Someone else commented about removing the implant and replacing due to looseness. A friend had this done and it was replaced. She had to go through all of the PT and adjustments all over again, but it sounds like yours needs done.

The life expectancy of these implants is unknown. Could be 5-10 years for it to be replaced with another. I kept my arm extender ($1200) just in case I need to go through this again and can't afford another extender.

I'm not an expert in this, but i've lived with it for 6 years...been there and done that. You could email me at KatOwens@aol.com if you want to chat. :)

Feb 19, 2011
Response to Lisaaay
by: Kathleen O

lisaaaa

There is an arm extender that your DR can prescribe for you and order. It's made by Empi. I had my radial head replaced and this was a Godsend. It has tension and forces your arm to open gradually. Here's the link to it.

http://www.empi.com/empi_products/detail.aspx?id=220

Talk to your orth dr and see if he recommends this.

KatOwens@aol.com

Feb 19, 2011
Radial head excision
by: Andrew

Displaced fracture of left radial head in cycling accident when hit by car who didnt bother to stop! Had left radial head excised, no physio offered just told to try and use it, no cast or splint. Slowly getting there but can't extend properly 1 month on although flexion not too bad. I am a dentist so manual dexterity very important. Grip strength is poor and despite it being non dominant hand am having to limit certain procedures which require repetitive prolonged movement. Slowly getting back to the gym - do boxfit classes but think it will be a while before I can start these again. Had a few episodes lately of tingling down into little finger and reassuring to hear of similar experiences. Concerned about long term elbow problems ie arthritis which may limit my job and active lifestyle later.

Andrew, Scotland UK.

Feb 20, 2011
thanks kat
by: lisaaaa

thanks for the info kat. that brace looks like a torture device.

i will see my doc on friday and will see what he says.

Feb 23, 2011
recovery
by: volleyballer

Hi I just received a radial head fracture during a volleyball game
I have been told around 1 week in a 90 degree cast thing and then have it changed to give me a wider range of motion
I currently represent my country in volleyball and need to be able to play 5 weeks from now
I have not had any pain yet aside from moderate soreness time of injury
Could 2 weeks physio with given excersises give me sufficient strength and range of motion to play?
I am willing to work as hard as humanly possible to achieve this
thankyou, any educated input would be great

Feb 28, 2011
volleyball
by: Anonymous

i broke my radial head on july 25th, one week with a full arm cast, followed by extensive physio therapy seesions (10 total)....takes about 3 months to feel more mobility back and feel better about the situation. Im at about 8 months since i broke my radial head, ive been playing hockey since november, i can hear cracking noises in my elbow when i turn my elbow...will this go away??

july 25-oct 25, that was my doctors advice of when to start doing physical activity

Mar 01, 2011
Radial Head.
by: Anonymous

I fell approx 20 ft and shattered my radial head as well as dislocated the elbow. (Not to mention crunched my wrist, shoulder and neck. Long way down, lemme tell ya.)

I now have a titanium joint and two pins - I had staples and was in a cast for about three weeks. The movement six months later is still stiff, rotation smarts and I can join in that chorus of popping and cicking.

I wanted to say - Kathy - I had a mechanism that straightened my arm out as well. Don't torture yourself by wearing it when you sleep. If you watch a movie or a tv show, perhaps do it then, but to be honest I felt it completely useless.

Tissue massage from my physiotherapist helps the most. I'm still limited in the gym for weights (five pounds is what I've worked up to... In six months) and my arm still gets puffy and locks up.

Just take your time, don't rush the healing. It was one mistake I made... These kinds of injuries generally take a year (or two) to start feeling better and cold weather does NOT help.

I do hope ALL of you start feeling better. I know my life hasn't been the same since the accident, but there are always little things we can do to make our lives a little easier and get rid of at least a little of the pain.

Mar 03, 2011
yoga helps
by: Anonymous

Hey injured radial heads!
I finally stopped PT and am out on my own discovering new ways to gain better strength and mobility while decreasing my popping, locking elbow. Yoga, at first I was hesitant but after doing it regularly for over a month I have such an improvement. When I reached my frustration limit in physical therapy I decided it was time to try a new approach to my regimen. Only good has come from doing this regularly. Namaste!

Mar 03, 2011
To HYL
by: Paul

I have the very same problem. got a titanium radial head replacement that has also come loose, However, i'm looking at have it taken out with not replacement. Look into it as i've been assured that life is alot less painfull without the prosthesis. Have a chat with your consultant and get them to look into it. As i understand the only real noticable difference will be a slight increase in rotary motion.

Mar 03, 2011
Titanium Implant
by: Kathleen O

Hi Paul....I see that you have a titanium implant for your radial head. How can you have it removed and not replaced? I too have the implant, but I can't have mine removed without something replacing it, as I'm missing my radial head and about 2" of radial bone.

Mar 03, 2011
Titanium Implant
by: Kathleen O

Hi Paul....I see that you have a titanium implant for your radial head. How can you have it removed and not replaced? I too have the implant, but I can't have mine removed without something replacing it, as I'm missing my radial head and about 2" of radial bone.

Mar 04, 2011
5 mths since fall
by: Anonymous

Hi all. Its been 5 mths since I fell off my bike and broke radial head. Now I have bone spurs and apparently arthritis on the back of the elbow. I still cant straighten my arm all the way. I am so close. I work out at gym about 3x a week and still cant get this arm straight. It cracks every so often...and aches at times. Cant touch shoulder with that arm, and reaching for things is tough.
I hear from everybody that this kind of injury takes forever to heal. How frustrating. I go to physical therapist now & then for hot parafin wax treatment and massage with some kind of ultrasound thing...for deep tissue.
doc put me on med called Indomethacin for a mth. Then he says he'll give me some kind of shot.
Does this sound right? I know every doc is different. But i sure hope my arm can go back to normal. I thought surgery would be an option for bone spurs. Do they disappear eventually? Anybody have this scenario?

Mar 04, 2011
Type 1 nondispalaced radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

Two weeks ago I tripped and fell, outstretching my palms to break my fall. At first I hoped that it was just a bad bruise in my left elbow, but the pain told me otherwise and I went to the ER. They took x-rays and the attending physician said he wasnt sure but he thinks I might need an operation, and they referred me to an orthopedic surgeon recommended by the hospital. I live in the U.S. and don't have insurance, so I wanted a second opinion before spending thousands on unecessary surgery. I went to a free website that has ratings that actual patients have submitted called ratemds.com and after some calling around I found a D.O. who was very highly rated and sympathetic that I am paying out of pocket. They put me in a half cast for two weeks, because it turns out I have just a minor radial head fracture. They recommended early movement and referred me to a physical therapist. A few weeks after my injury I can already rotate my palm and every day I am able to straighten my arm more and more.
I am sharing this because too many doctors look at surgery as an easy way to make money off of health insurance companies, and if you don't have insurance you will be in debt for a long time. Do your homework on your injury and the reputation of local Orthopedic specialists. Get a second opinion and be a conscientious consumer- ratemds and angieslist are just a few websites that give you information about local doctors. The first thing I did was research my condition. Don't try and self-diagnose, but be well-informed. Keep a copy of all tests and x-rays. I saved myself thousands of dollars and prolonged misery by just doing a little investigating.
Also, take care of yourself regarding nutrition and smokers try to cut down or quit during your healing process. Supplements are ok but its essential after an injury to eat whole foods that are packed with vitamins.
Best wishes on the road to recovery for all who are reading this :)

Mar 04, 2011
Type 1 nondisplaced radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

Two weeks ago I tripped and fell, outstretching my palms to break my fall. At first I hoped that it was just a bad bruise in my left elbow, but the pain told me otherwise and I went to the ER. They took x-rays and the attending physician said he wasnt sure but he thinks I might need an operation, and they referred me to an orthopedic surgeon recommended by the hospital. I live in the U.S. and don't have insurance, so I wanted a second opinion before spending thousands on unecessary surgery. I went to a free website that has ratings that actual patients have submitted called ratemds and after some calling around I found a D.O. who was very highly rated and sympathetic that I am paying out of pocket. They put me in a half cast for two weeks, because it turns out I have just a minor radial head fracture. They recommended early movement and referred me to a physical therapist. A few weeks after my injury I can already rotate my palm and every day I am able to straighten my arm more and more.
I am sharing this because too many doctors look at surgery as an easy way to make money off of health insurance companies, and if you don't have insurance you will be in debt for a long time. Do your homework on your injury and the reputation of local Orthopedic specialists. Get a second opinion and be a conscientious consumer- ratemds and angieslist are just a few websites that give you information about local doctors. The first thing I did was research my condition. Don't try and self-diagnose, but be well-informed. Keep a copy of all tests and x-rays. I saved myself thousands of dollars and prolonged misery by just doing a little investigating.
Also, take care of yourself regarding nutrition and smokers try to cut down or quit during your healing process. Supplements are ok but its essential after an injury to eat whole foods that are packed with vitamins.
Best wishes on the road to recovery for all who are reading this :)

Mar 06, 2011
Broken radial head
by: sabre sprint

It's nice to read others experiences of this injury. I broke my dominant hand radial head at the end of January( 5.5 weeks ago). Put in sling for 2 weeks then told to try and move it as much as possible. Trying hard to get my palm facing up and down, it's impoving but when try to get it facing upwards get pain down arm and into thumb.
Can't extend my arm much, try to push it forward but it seems locked. Has anyone else experienced this and got any ideas to help? Going to see Dr at hospital this week so hopefully will be able to get some physio to help.
Off work still, I teach and school were not happy about having me back till it's safe. But feel very guilty. Any other teachers out there with experience of this injury and willing to share how long they had off work?
Thanks

Mar 06, 2011
sabre sprint
by: Anonymous

Hi,
I broke my radial head back in late September two weeks later I had surgery. Went back to work as a teacher the week after Thanksgiving. I work in a preschool and my teaching position is pretty physical. It was tough at first but with Physical Therapy/massage too. I did pretty good. A few set backs during cold damp weather but overall I have managed well. My job doesn't offer benefits but I know for fact in CA workers comp/disability states 3mo. off work. I would stick to it because I had a few mishaps during the early phase of my return to work. Be certain before returning that you can do your day to day tasks. exercise the tendons/muscles just above and below your elbow to help with overall strength. Great google... exercises for tennis elbow work well too. I have found the greatest source of help to be adding yoga to my daily routine. If I skip a few days or don't stretch out the old injury area I don feel increased joint stiffness and even a dull pain. Hang tough.

Mar 06, 2011
sabre sprint
by: Anonymous

Hi,
I broke my radial head back in late September two weeks later I had surgery. Went back to work as a teacher the week after Thanksgiving. I work in a preschool and my teaching position is pretty physical. It was tough at first but with Physical Therapy/massage too. I did pretty good. A few set backs during cold damp weather but overall I have managed well. My job doesn't offer benefits but I know for fact in CA workers comp/disability states 3mo. off work. I would stick to it because I had a few mishaps during the early phase of my return to work. Be certain before returning that you can do your day to day tasks. exercise the tendons/muscles just above and below your elbow to help with overall strength. Great google... exercises for tennis elbow work well too. I have found the greatest source of help to be adding yoga to my daily routine. If I skip a few days or don't stretch out the old injury area I don feel increased joint stiffness and even a dull pain. Hang tough.

Mar 06, 2011
sabre sprint
by: Anonymous

Hi,
I broke my radial head back in late September two weeks later I had surgery. Went back to work as a teacher the week after Thanksgiving. I work in a preschool and my teaching position is pretty physical. It was tough at first but with Physical Therapy/massage too. I did pretty good. A few set backs during cold damp weather but overall I have managed well. My job doesn't offer benefits but I know for fact in CA workers comp/disability states 3mo. off work. I would stick to it because I had a few mishaps during the early phase of my return to work. Be certain before returning that you can do your day to day tasks. exercise the tendons/muscles just above and below your elbow to help with overall strength. Great google... exercises for tennis elbow work well too. I have found the greatest source of help to be adding yoga to my daily routine. If I skip a few days or don't stretch out the old injury area I don feel increased joint stiffness and even a dull pain. Hang tough.

Mar 06, 2011
sabre sprint
by: Anonymous

Hi,
I broke my radial head back in late September two weeks later I had surgery. Went back to work as a teacher the week after Thanksgiving. I work in a preschool and my teaching position is pretty physical. It was tough at first but with Physical Therapy/massage too. I did pretty good. A few set backs during cold damp weather but overall I have managed well. My job doesn't offer benefits but I know for fact in CA workers comp/disability states 3mo. off work. I would stick to it because I had a few mishaps during the early phase of my return to work. Be certain before returning that you can do your day to day tasks. exercise the tendons/muscles just above and below your elbow to help with overall strength. Great google... exercises for tennis elbow work well too. I have found the greatest source of help to be adding yoga to my daily routine. If I skip a few days or don't stretch out the old injury area I don feel increased joint stiffness and even a dull pain. Hang tough.

Mar 06, 2011
non displaced fracture radial head
by: Anonymous

I am on week 3. I have been icing my elbow about 10 hours a day. It has worked it is finnally not swollen. I have been doing gentle range of motion, through this whole time. with my palm facing upwards extending my arm as much as possible. Now that the swelling has gone down i have full extention. I have also radically changed my diet this whole time. No coffee,foods that reduce inflammation, green tea, lots of ginger,etc. No tomatoes, processed sugar,or eggplant. It is getting stronger and i also do pronation and supination as much as i can. I have recently have some loud crepitus in the elbow joint.
Anyone know how to minimize that? I have also done massage. What i have learned in this journey is that it is important to stay away from alleve or ib profen because this stops the bones from healing. (my orthopedic doctor told me that)
good luck everyone.........

Mar 06, 2011
non displaced fracture radial head
by: Anonymous

I am on week 3. I have been icing my elbow about 10 hours a day. It has worked it is finnally not swollen. I have been doing gentle range of motion, through this whole time. with my palm facing upwards extending my arm as much as possible. Now that the swelling has gone down i have full extention. I have also radically changed my diet this whole time. No coffee,foods that reduce inflammation, green tea, lots of ginger,etc. No tomatoes, processed sugar,or eggplant. It is getting stronger and i also do pronation and supination as much as i can. I have recently have some loud crepitus in the elbow joint.
Anyone know how to minimize that? I have also done massage. What i have learned in this journey is that it is important to stay away from alleve or ib profen because this stops the bones from healing. (my orthopedic doctor told me that)
good luck everyone.........

Mar 06, 2011
non displaced fracture radial head
by: Anonymous

I am on week 3. I have been icing my elbow about 10 hours a day. It has worked it is finnally not swollen. I have been doing gentle range of motion, through this whole time. with my palm facing upwards extending my arm as much as possible. Now that the swelling has gone down i have full extention. I have also radically changed my diet this whole time. No coffee,foods that reduce inflammation, green tea, lots of ginger,etc. No tomatoes, processed sugar,or eggplant. It is getting stronger and i also do pronation and supination as much as i can. I have recently have some loud crepitus in the elbow joint.
Anyone know how to minimize that? I have also done massage. What i have learned in this journey is that it is important to stay away from alleve or ib profen because this stops the bones from healing. (my orthopedic doctor told me that)
good luck everyone.........

Mar 06, 2011
Kathleen O
by: Paul

I quizzed that fact as well, surely something needs to go in place. Apparently not and many people live perfectly fine without the radial head socket. Mine is loose and constantly gives me trouble but nothing i can't coupe with. I'd like to have it removed, my only conern is the extra movement one would expect to inherit! but we'll see, i need to do more research on the matter so it'll be a long way off before i get anything done.. Kathleen, PM me on paulallen872@hotmail.com as its not often you come across someone else with the same injury and its good to exchange opinion....and pain!

Mar 19, 2011
Hopeful
by: Patti

I am grateful for this site...fell 4 wks ago..broke radial head at elbow. Splint at hosp w/followup instructions. Guess I was allergic to something..the splint seemed to cause intensive pain..the best position for me was with my hand on my thigh but nothing was very good for any length of time...still not. My face and arm, fingers puffed up and I was itching. Took the sling off and just moved for comfort. Caught a lot of flack from fam. about that but after reading everyones comments am pretty happy.
Absolutely could not bear any weight w/hand, even folding a towel caused so much pain. However, I seemed to improve each and every day until this last week when I forgot a few times and put my weight on my hand. I own a child care center and did not feel like I could take any time off but I did go home early several times to 'curl up under a blanket and pout' because of the constant pain.
So...4 weeks into this my arm is still swollen and hot...my house is so very messy...do not want to use my hand at all. Hot water in the shower is good but OTC painkillers don't seem to have any effect. I have been using my hand as much as possible since the 2nd day, gently forcing my palm up and rotating my wrist. Today I tried ice and got a great deal of relief. After reading this site I tried massage and Anna's 'serving tray' exercise and supporting my elbow with my uninjured hand and extending. These exercises are helping..thank you so very much! For me it seems to help to keep moving as normally as possible. But I feel so much better knowing all this pain etc. is what is to be expected and to realize this is going to take some time...so glad for this site because I am hopeful now. I thought I had done some extra damage by avoiding the splint and sling and using it so much! Keep pushing guys!

Mar 20, 2011
7 weeks in..weird new pains in hand
by: Anonymous

~7 weeks since my injury (feb 11)
classified as a radial head fracture, but dr showed me the x ray--horizontal break about 3/4 of the way across the neck (right dominant arm)

My injury was the typical FOOSH, while I was visiting my folks in another state (feb 11).

The ortho told me i was going to need surgery..a replacement! Then we told him i wasn't from the area, and needed to get back home and to work.

For reasons quite beyond me, the ortho put me in a cast and told me to see an ortho down here in 2 weeks...I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone here that the new (HIGHLY rated) Dr down here was shocked that i was in a cast at all, and mystified why the other dr thought it wouldnt heal properly.

all that is just a preamble to say...be careful who you see, do your research, and if anything doesn't jibe..get a a second opinion!

NOW TO MY QUESTION:
I'm now into 3rd week of pt--first goal was to be CERTAIN i didn't need surgery....to work with pt on ROM and see what kind of progress we could make in 2 week's time, so we'd know if there was some blockage or not.

I could not believe how much progress we made in such a short time...supination..after heat, massage and 15-20 minutes of gentle coaxing, i can get it almost there...but the new pains have me worried. I espected arm/elbow pain, but this is weird..I'm sure somonelse can explain

1. Thumb joint--ok, i did already have arthrytis in the base, but MAN it hurts. So when I"m doing my supination excercises, I use my left thumb to put a great deal of pressure in the interior web area...takes care of the pain there AND in the inside elbow joint. If I release, it all comes back.

2. Back side of hand..below pinky and ring finger.
This too, responds well to strong pressure....

So basicly, I use my left hand to put a "death grip" on my right hand, the thumb pushing into the web, and the palm creating pressure on the back of the hand..all of this while being very careful that it is not doing anything to help or hinder the rotation. Tricky.

Does anyone else have any experience with this????

Because of my stupid insurance, I am having to stretch out my official 10 PT visits,so won't see her until Thursday, but am concerned that I may have caused additional injury? Or is tendon/ligament damage from the original injury showeing itself as we've progress? Or is all of this very normal??

THANKS FOR ANU INSIGHT!

Mar 20, 2011
regarding 7wks in weird pain
by: Anonymous

I also experienced strange pains shooting down my arm and effecting my fingers and wrist. Come to learn it's nerve pain. I don't recall the medical terminology however, there is a very long nerve that is located near and around the radial head it extends all the way to our fingers and it also extends upward past our shoulder moving on up toward our neck. So, the strange pain is normal and annoying! In time it will get better. PT is great don't stress if you are truly sore afterward it's a strange road to recovery. Massage will help keep the joints and muscles loose. They tend to gunk up but massage truly breaks it up. I am 5mo. post op and 2mo no PT. I do yoga almost daily. Strange but true it is my total relief from pain and discomfort. Don't stress seven weeks is very early on. You can request that your doctor write a note to the insurance company to extend your PT. My insurance carrier was the one who told me this! Yeap... so, don't lose hope. PT really helped me get over the hump and discover that my recovery was 100% in my hands. That is why I now do yoga in conjunction with my at home PT excersises... Who wants to live in pain? I do have bad days,especially with cold damp weather, but regular exercises learned in PT combined with yoga is my new perscription for success!

Mar 21, 2011
Thank you all for posting your stories
by: Suzanne

I'm 15 weeks post surgery. Radial head at elbow in dominant arm broken in 3 pieces and put back together with plate and screws. I've been to pt 3 x week for 10 weeks and also do my pt at home. I started using a jas brace also about 2 weeks ago and sleep in a splint. My arm can extend fairly well, but flexion is still very limited and not at a range that is usable yet. I also have very limited pronation and supination.

The last 3 weeks my pinky and ring finger have gone numb and my hand feels much weaker. Dr says it is the ulnar nerve and the problem may go away on its own. I admit that it scares me.

The pt is painful, but I've worked very hard at it and was so hopeful that I could regain a functional rom. Starting to think that despite the effort, maybe another surgery will be required. The dr mentioned that removing the plate and screws might help and also a manipulation under anesthesia.

I would have never thought fracturing my elbow would get me down this way. This is such a tuff injury to recover from, it is helpful to read other's experiences and know that I'm not the only one dealing with this.

Mar 21, 2011
Nerve Pain
by: Kathleen O

Just read the comment regarding nerve pain. I'm a 'recovering' radial head implant survivor. I had mine replaced in 2005. Here we are 6 years later and I'm at 90% mobility and strength.

The only residual effects are nerve pain down from elbow area to pinky and ring finger and aches when the weather is cold and wet. I've also had my arm literally freeze up on me 2 times for no reason at all, but that lasted only a few days, then resumed to normal.

I had a nerve study and was told that the accident I had did damage to the nerves. My pinky and 1/2 of my ring finger are always numb, but not a hinderance, just a casualty of the accident. Something I'll live with.

Over time, mobility gets better and you'll be good as new with PT and day to day motion.

Mar 21, 2011
RH replacement
by: Sandy

Hi, after a bad fall (or "flop"), I had my fragmented radial head replaced Oct 6, 2010 in my dominant (right) arm. With extensive PT (3X a week) and home PT (also using the JAS splint)I was able to regain most extension. I experienced muscle guarding which may have contributed to flexion being "stuck" at 105 degrees. Feb 24th I had another surgery for ulnar nerve transposition and elbow manipulation. This surgery seemed to "release" my elbow and improve ROM. Relocating the nerve has caused considerable numbness in half my right hand - especially the pinky finger, ring finger and side/butt of my hand. My therapist assures me that this is normal and all part of the ulnar nerve. It could be months until I have the feeling back. Arising from this 2nd surgery is the feeling that I have to frequently raise my arm to "pull" my elbow out of a stuck feeling where it feels like it has to "click" back into place - you can hear the click.

My supination is still weak. Unable to turn my palm upright - stays at the 1:00 to 2:00 range. Getting closer to shampooing my hair, brushing my teeth, washing my face etc... Still can't rest on my elbow as in sitting on the couch watching tv - it does'nt reach my head at that angle. Still can't sleep with my arm under the pillow - I've had to adjust to sleeping on my back.

There are times where I feel that my bones actually hurt. Mostly I am just achy vs. in pain. There always seems to be some sympton to deal with daily - it is never the same. My wrist may feel "chunky", my shoulder may ache, my arm may throb..... I can spend so much time using heat, stretching etc., only to feel like I did absolutley nothing just 30 minutes later. I will agree with everyone here, it certainly is a difficult recovery.

I am closing in on 6 months post injury, 2 surgerys later and I'm almost ready to return back to work. I work in the Info. Technology field and sit at a keyboard for 12 hr days. Returning frightens me a little since I know I will never be at 100% and i'm told that arthritis is inevitable. Any thoughts ?

Like everyone else, I never imagined something as simple as an elbow would cause so much disruption to my life. The things we take for granted.

The Fall and Winter were rough, looking forward to Spring !


Mar 22, 2011
to SANDY re returning to IT/keyboarding
by: kc (formerly anonymous)

inj date 2/11
I've just started using an AUTO HOT KEYSscript that allows me to use just the left a side of the kb (and mirrored muscle memory) to be able to touch type with just my left hand. it takes some getting use to.....of course, it also facilitates the other wayaround for the right hand.

Also, there are a few it guys who've created other work arounds for similar situations...pm me if you want links..

Mar 22, 2011
ps--THX for feedback re werid paini'll let you no what PT s
by: kc

nt

Mar 22, 2011
ps--THX for feedback re werid paini'll let you no what PT s
by: kc

nt

Mar 23, 2011
question re: 2nd surgery experiences
by: Suzanne

I would appreciate any feedback offered regarding 2nd surgeries for manual manipulation, nerve transportation, hardware removal, or scar tissue.

What was your experience like? Are you glad you did it? Would you do it again? What was the intial reasoning for the second procedure?

I'm searching for all the info I can find on elbow rehabilitation, and not finding a lot of sources of actual experiences of patients.

This elbow is driving me crazy. Just trying to hang in there and "arm" myself with as much information as possible.

Mar 24, 2011
Ulnar nerve transportation
by: Sandy

Suzanne, 1 month ago today I had the 2nd surgery you mentioned - ulnar nerve transportation and elbow manipulation. See my earlier post from Mar 21. My elbow was stuck at 105 degrees flexion. My surgeon originally suspected scar tissue as the culprit which is why we waited 4 months post original surgery - he said if scar tissue was to form, I would have the maximum amount by then. Turns out my nerve was actually bunched up/crumpled (not sure if there is any technical term). This was preventing any further stretch in the elbow area. There was scar tissue present but not enough to cause my issue.

One month post 2nd surgery and lots of PT (and using JAS Splint) I'm now at 130. I can reach my face/head which is my greatest achievement following surgery. PT was (is) painful, I take 1/2 percoset (vs. a full - my choice - I hate feeling altered) 45 min prior to my PT appt. This was perscribed by the surgeon saying I had to "push through the pain". My therapist says it helps her manipulate my arm better, we tried both - with and without meds. I am less resistant to the pain she causes. Has it all been worth it.... definatley. I also experience the nerve issue - pinky and ring finger numbness. For me this is directly caused by the surgery since it is all ulnar nerve related. My therapist says it could be months before it returns to normal. I will be seeing my surgeon on Monday at which time I will probably be approved to return to work - 6 months post injury (Sept 2010). Good luck Suzanne !

KC - thank you for the Keyboard info.

Mar 24, 2011
Sandy - more elbow talk
by: Suzanne

Sandy, thanks so much for your details. Getting from 105 to 130 is huge! Sounds like you are finally on your way to recovery. I would think that if you are at 130 in 1 month, you are surely going to get even more flexion and use of your arm. I hope getting back to work is a good thing for you and back into a normal routine and life.

I also have been taking pain meds before pt, but like you I find it worse to be in a fog, so I take a minimal amount. I have to be clear enough to breath and focus on relaxing muscles. This is the closest thing to natural childbirth that I can imagine. I never cry during pt, but I do admit that in the privacy of my car afterwards, I sometimes break down and sob. There is this relief that I made it through another session, but the realization that I will have to do it again and again.

Not many have talked about the emotional aspect of this, but I imagine it is difficult for all of us. I try to keep complaints to friends and family to an absolute minimum, because as this drags on, I'm sure they don't really want to hear it. And I think most equate the injury with a broken bone, and can't understand why it would be that big of a deal. So maybe that's why we search out sites on the internet for others with similar experiences. Thanks to all of you for your posts. It helps.


Mar 24, 2011
Suffer as a Team
by: Kathleen O

I too hate whining and fussing over my inabilities with my arm. It gets old hearing, I'm sure

It's good that we found this forum to compare our stories and share our aches and pains. We're all in this together and we can get good pointers here.


Mar 24, 2011
delay in going to the doctor
by: rt

my elbow was fratured 2 months ago.when i went to the doctor it was too late n he said it cant be joined now.later on when it pains much some part of the radial head(in my view)should be cut.now iam doing my usual jobs with such hand.what should i do.please give me the suggestion if there any.

Mar 25, 2011
Response to RT
by: Kathleen O

Hello RT! So, if I understand correctly, your radial head was shattered, you went to the DR and he just sent you home? You should definitely see an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in this.

I went to the ER as soon as I fell and they too sent me home. My fractured head was very visible. I was home for a week, went to the orthopedic DR and he immediately operated.

The fractured pieces and 1" of the head was removed and I got an implant put in. This was in 2005. Alot of PT and working it, but I have strength back and great movement.

As a result of the fracture, my nerves were damaged and I still have nerve pain which radiates down my arm to my fingers and wrist. I'm living with this, as it's not totally debilitating.

I did have a nerve study and was told they can operate to do something with the nerves, but right now, I don't want to go to that length.

You need to see an orthopedic and have your radial head repaired; implant if necessary.

Mar 27, 2011
Ongoing problems
by: Trevor

I broke my radial head and dislocated my elbow playing football 10 years ago. At the time I went to A+E and was told that the radial head was broken and the only treatment was to put the arm in a sling and start physio after 6 weeks. I have never felt pain like it in my life and returned to A+E twice due to the pain. I was given a appointment to the fracture clinic and had blood drained from the joint. The pain still continued for weeks. Physio did not help and after 6 months my arm started to get worse as my arm got more and more bent. Surgeons then decided to operate, they found the radial head badly damaged and they removed the head. The elbow continued to give a lot of pain and I still could not straighten the arm. I was then told there was nothing further they could do. My work decided to send me to the company Bupa scheme and a surgeon looked again at the arm and operated again within the week. I was then also sent for sports physio which managed to get my arm virtually straight which was great. I have always had the horrible clicking from ´the joint but I am now having worse problems as my arm is locking all the time. I have seen a new surgeon and he believes that there is still loose foreighn bodies in the joint which could be old blood from the old injury 10 years ago. It has been and still is a nightmare as I believe I should have had surgery right at the beginning.

Apr 09, 2011
tingling
by: Anonymous

I had fractured my radial head in 3 different places in January 10, 2010. I underwent lots of therapy, then surgery on my shoulkder as this was affected as well. Now being April 9, 2011 I started feeling tingling in the pinky and ring finger. I called my doctor and he said to go and see him. This started last Thursday and I go and see him this Thursday coming. I just hope I don't need another surgery. I was told from my doctor that it is from the elbow. So we shall see what the outcome will be.

Apr 09, 2011
tingling
by: Anonymous

I had fractured my radial head in 3 different places in January 10, 2010. I underwent lots of therapy, then surgery on my shoulkder as this was affected as well. Now being April 9, 2011 I started feeling tingling in the pinky and ring finger. I called my doctor and he said to go and see him. This started last Thursday and I go and see him this Thursday coming. I just hope I don't need another surgery. I was told from my doctor that it is from the elbow. So we shall see what the outcome will be.

Apr 09, 2011
tingling
by: Anonymous

I had fractured my radial head in 3 different places in January 10, 2010. I underwent lots of therapy, then surgery on my shoulkder as this was affected as well. Now being April 9, 2011 I started feeling tingling in the pinky and ring finger. I called my doctor and he said to go and see him. This started last Thursday and I go and see him this Thursday coming. I just hope I don't need another surgery. I was told from my doctor that it is from the elbow. So we shall see what the outcome will be.

Apr 09, 2011
To Tingling
by: Kathleen Owens

Hi. I too have the numbness and tingling in my pinky and half of my ring finger. I had a shattered radial head in 2005 and have a titanium implant now. The numbness and nerve pain radiates from my elbow.

I had a nerve study and was told that the pain I feel is a result of the nerves that were compressed from my injury along with scar tissue. Surgery was a last result. It's not horrible pain and numbness, but it's enough to annoy me at times. Considering surgery is my other option, I'll suffer with numbness and occasional annoying pain.

Here's a link with info on Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, which is what I was diagnosed with and is common with this type of injury.

http://www.eatonhand.com/hw/hw007.htm

My email is KatOwens@aol.com if you want to chat about your injury. :)

Apr 11, 2011
Radial Head fracture
by: Drea

Fractured my radial head on Feb. 19 2011. Slipped on a rainy metal grate coming home from NBA Fan Jam at LA Convention center. Going on 2 months and begin PT tomorrow. I teach 1st. grade and sometimes in hurts so much. People don't see a cast or sling and they don't think anything is wrong with you. The pain can be powerful especially now with the cold weather. Reading all the comments it sounds like I have a long road to recovery. It does get frustrating after a while when the elbow won't bend and you can't do things like you're used to.

Apr 11, 2011
Radial Head fracture
by: Drea

Fractured my radial head on Feb. 19 2011. Slipped on a rainy metal grate coming home from NBA Fan Jam at LA Convention center. Going on 2 months and begin PT tomorrow. I teach 1st. grade and sometimes in hurts so much. People don't see a cast or sling and they don't think anything is wrong with you. The pain can be powerful especially now with the cold weather. Reading all the comments it sounds like I have a long road to recovery. It does get frustrating after a while when the elbow won't bend and you can't do things like you're used to.

Apr 11, 2011
Radial Head fracture
by: Drea

Fractured my radial head on Feb. 19 2011. Slipped on a rainy metal grate coming home from NBA Fan Jam at LA Convention center. Going on 2 months and begin PT tomorrow. I teach 1st. grade and sometimes in hurts so much. People don't see a cast or sling and they don't think anything is wrong with you. The pain can be powerful especially now with the cold weather. Reading all the comments it sounds like I have a long road to recovery. It does get frustrating after a while when the elbow won't bend and you can't do things like you're used to.

Apr 11, 2011
Radial Head fracture
by: Drea

Fractured my radial head on Feb. 19 2011. Slipped on a rainy metal grate coming home from NBA Fan Jam at LA Convention center. Going on 2 months and begin PT tomorrow. I teach 1st. grade and sometimes in hurts so much. People don't see a cast or sling and they don't think anything is wrong with you. The pain can be powerful especially now with the cold weather. Reading all the comments it sounds like I have a long road to recovery. It does get frustrating after a while when the elbow won't bend and you can't do things like you're used to.

Apr 14, 2011
Kelly's story
by: Anonymous

Hi there,
I shattered my radial head in dominant arm, blessed that I am left handed, would be very hard to shake hands if it were the right. I fell coming out of church, of all places! I had surgery a week and a half later, walked around with broken arm for the whole time. I have a titanium replacement. I have about 90% motion, but can't straighten it out. I get alot of different pains with it, like cold weather of if I do something I shouldn't. I am never to lift over 20 lbs or push or pull due to popping it out of place. Doc says it is just screwed into the bone. My biggest problem is people come up and grab it, not knowing it or just don't remember it, almost sends me to my knees, I have thought of a band aid tatoo on it with ouchie! lol. Life is very different with it, but very much a blessing. I get very frustrated not being able to do things, volleyball is a thing of the past and most upper normal exercises. My elbow pops and cracks and gives my problems. I would eally like to know what kind of work I can do in the future. We homeschool our sons so I have been at home for 18 yrs. I had the most incredible doc for it, very kind and caring and great thearpist. I wish all the best to all who are going thru this. God Bless. Thanks for hearing me and we are all in this together, I am so glad to talk to others with the same injury.

Apr 20, 2011
question
by: nicole

i too did this last night and i have to be back to sports in 4 weeks is it possible to get the cast off in 3 weeks

Apr 20, 2011
question
by: nicole

i too did this last night and i have to be back to sports in 4 weeks is it possible to get the cast off in 3 weeks

Apr 20, 2011
question
by: nicole

i too did this last night and i have to be back to sports in 4 weeks is it possible to get the cast off in 3 weeks

Apr 24, 2011
Every sympathy for all these people
by: NOT ALONE

How can the fracture of this little joint/bone take so long to heal,cause so much pain and lot of limitations.
I too fractured my radial head on 23 1 11 on my non dominant arm. 3 months on still very painful. I have full rotation and can touch my shoulder.
I still cannot straighten my arm. It is very tight and painful. Until I read this page I too was considering a second opinion, because the healing process is taking so long.
I have asked to be referred to a PT as it is hindering my employment.
Like so many others I seem to be able to carry with this arm but no strenghth to push up without a lot of pain, clicking and grinding.
The cause, a wet kitchen floor. Such a stupid fall causing so many problems.

Apr 28, 2011
Type III radial head fracture
by: Anonymous

Hello everyone,

fell of my bike 3 weeks ago, radial head replacement 10 days ago and in a haze of painkillers. I had neuropathethic pain, whatever that is, and have a low pain threshhold anyway. the whole thing has been a nightmare and very depressing. I have a history of bad post-operative pain anyway and the first 3 days in hospital were hellish because pain relief was not working and the staff refused to believe me. Anyway, enough of that.

The radial head feels wrong and has done from day 1. Also the elbow is stiff and i have now been told that was due to the 9 day delay before surgery but nobody said anything like that before. Does anyone have the same experience?

They want to put me under again and manipulate - in 6 weeks. Any thoughts/experiences. tps, things to look out for?

Thanks!

Y

Apr 28, 2011
recent surgery
by: Kathleenb O

You are going to have a long road ahead of you, with or without complications. I did 6 months of PT 2 days a week. without PT, you won't be able to regain movement.

Stiffness is a given. They've dug around in there and messed with muscles, and nerves.

Nerve pain for me was the norm from day one. I have gotten used to it and have gotten used to the numbness from the cubital tunnel (around the elbow) that the nerves pass through.

It's not an easy surgery by any means. Just know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel may be long.

I had my radial head shattered after a fall down stairs. Had an implant put in in 2005 and I have only recently, in the past year or so, been able to regain full strength and mobility.

Good luck. We've been there and know what you're going through.

Apr 29, 2011
Thanks Kathleen
by: Anonymous

Thank you Kathleen. My friends just treat it like a broken arm, without the cast, and appear not to understand why this worries me so much. But I have already been told it will never be the same, which is scary, as is having it stuck. I will keep stretching! Y

May 01, 2011
recent surgery - Anonymous
by: KathleenO

Simply show your friends, who think this is a papercut, this forum and they'll see that what you've experienced is severe and they'd never understand the pain that you've felt.

Also, they'll never know the fear of possibly never being 'normal' again; doing your hair, brushing your teeth, typing, sweeping the floor, lifting a pot, etc. Routine stuff to them is just that routine, to us it's a task and shore.

Email me if you want to vent or compare notes. :) Kathleen

KatOwens@aol.com

May 02, 2011
thank u
by: Anonymous

Hello everyone,well i 've had radial head fractureS 6 weeks ago;Today i'm feeling better thanks god; i 've no insurrance so i was looking for advices via web & found this wsite Thank u! just i want to tell my hellish story, after a fall i went 2 emmergency put me in a sling n gave me 20 strong painkiller=that i didn't use all(constipation);i came from old world and i realise how true our myth saying that after splint or sling or cast if u sleep your injury will NOT going to heal properly!!!i didn't sleep for six days! 10 days myself took off the splint after the sweling on my limbe or fingers gone!one advice,eat good meals (milk ,butter,meat,diet,dattes,fruity olive oil full of calcium protiens,..medeterranian food )RICE is good as well always moving fingers even while lying down on bed
After injury stop any sexual activity;so u can feel better quickly!

May 02, 2011
thank u
by: Anonymous

Hello everyone,well i 've had radial head fractureS 6 weeks ago;Today i'm feeling better thanks god; i 've no insurrance so i was looking for advices via web & found this wsite Thank u! just i want to tell my hellish story, after a fall i went 2 emmergency put me in a sling n gave me 20 strong painkiller=that i didn't use all(constipation);i came from old world and i realise how true our myth saying that after splint or sling or cast if u sleep your injury will NOT going to heal properly!!!i didn't sleep for six days! 10 days myself took off the splint after the sweling on my limbe or fingers gone!one advice,eat good meals (milk ,butter,meat,diet,dattes,fruity olive oil full of calcium protiens,..medeterranian food )RICE is good as well always moving fingers even while lying down on bed
After injury stop any sexual activity;so u can feel better quickly!

May 02, 2011
thank u
by: Anonymous

Hello everyone,well i 've had radial head fractureS 6 weeks ago;Today i'm feeling better thanks god; i 've no insurrance so i was looking for advices via web & found this wsite Thank u! just i want to tell my hellish story, after a fall i went 2 emmergency put me in a sling n gave me 20 strong painkiller=that i didn't use all(constipation);i came from old world and i realise how true our myth saying that after splint or sling or cast if u sleep your injury will NOT going to heal properly!!!i didn't sleep for six days! 10 days myself took off the splint after the sweling on my limbe or fingers gone!one advice,eat good meals (milk ,butter,meat,diet,dattes,fruity olive oil full of calcium protiens,..medeterranian food )RICE is good as well always moving fingers even while lying down on bed
After injury stop any sexual activity;so u can feel better quickly!

May 02, 2011
Recent surgery
by: Anonymous

Thanks Kathleen. I think the fear of never being normal again is the worst and rather difficult to explain because people think you are overreacting, after all, it is 'just' a broken arm, isn't it? I also wish someone had warned me in advance of the surgery about the severeness of the stiffness, but that is done now.

My body does not like metal implants, I previously broke my knee and it only started to get better properly when I had the implant taken out a few years later. I think that might happen here too but I read a post on this site that said you would have to do all the PT and exercises all over again; I am not sure I could face that since I am only starting the road to recovery now. Anybody who has had this done?

Anyway, there finally appears to be some small movement of my hand towards my shoulder (previously unmoveable at 90 degrees), whether that is because the post-op swelling is going down or because of my persistent tugging to get it there I do not know. I am due to start PT this week since it is now two weeks post-op and I will see what they say.

I think it is only 5 degrees or so but I have managed to put a hair clip in, my contact lenses and earrings. Very painful and tricky and some things had to be done one handed, but it is progress and cheered me up. Eating with knife and fork or getting a spoon to my mouth is still very difficult and painful and most of the time unmanageable.

One thing which I have started doing, painful though it is, is to try and use my left arm and hand more (the one I broke). I am fortunate in that I am mostly right-handed although I could also say I am ambi-dexterous as I am now discovering. So I am even trying to use my left hand where I previously used my right hand (trying to brush my teeth is fun). The idea is to stretch it to the max and to use the muscles before they wither away. I got the idea based on a book about stoke victims read a while ago who improved after their healthy arm was strapped so they could only try to use the arm affected by the stroke and they improved a lot. I thought I would pass it on, you never know. I do know that after I broke my knee, 7 years ago, another bicycle accident, it took me years to build up the muscle mass because I automaticaly favoured my healthy leg and to this day it is much weaker as a result.

Anyway, I will keep posting. I am supposed to have a very good surgeon, although he does not talk much, so will pass on anything I learn. I have my post-op review this week and a consultation with the pain specialist (they got one involved at the hospital, eventually, since I have an abnormally high tolerance for morphine and other pain killers).

Y


May 18, 2011
broken plate
by: chiv

Hi, i smashed the RH in a motocross crash over a jump after coming together with another ride back in 2004. Had 6 screws and a plate put in to hold it together. I have got full movement back other then rotation of the wrist. BUT 12 months ago started to get more pain so went to the Doc found out the plate is broken into 3 bits and the bone has never really healed. At age 35 the doctor was not keen for a replacement so went in and just cleaned out the joint. Now it is out of alinement the two bone are rubbing together when i turn my wrist. So now it time to replace the radial head. Can anyone please help me with what i am up for, will i get back on the bike, can i get full strength back and will i be able to trust my elbow again?

May 18, 2011
Motorcross Crash Guy
by: Kathleen Owens

I got a radial head implant on my left arm in 2005 after a fall down stairs.

Went to tons of physical therapy and now I'm at 90% strength and motion. There's discomfort at the wrist still and I have 'freezes' occasionally where I can't move my arm at my elbow, but that lasts only a day or two.

You'll be good....just do as the 'doctor tells you' and you'll be fine.

However, riding motorcross and falling off, etc. and landing on your implant arm could cause severe issues if you reinjure!

May 18, 2011
Motorcross Crash Guy
by: Kathleen Owens

I got a radial head implant on my left arm in 2005 after a fall down stairs.

Went to tons of physical therapy and now I'm at 90% strength and motion. There's discomfort at the wrist still and I have 'freezes' occasionally where I can't move my arm at my elbow, but that lasts only a day or two.

You'll be good....just do as the 'doctor tells you' and you'll be fine.

However, riding motorcross and falling off, etc. and landing on your implant arm could cause severe issues if you reinjure!

May 18, 2011
Motorcross Crash Guy
by: Kathleen Owens

I got a radial head implant on my left arm in 2005 after a fall down stairs.

Went to tons of physical therapy and now I'm at 90% strength and motion. There's discomfort at the wrist still and I have 'freezes' occasionally where I can't move my arm at my elbow, but that lasts only a day or two.

You'll be good....just do as the 'doctor tells you' and you'll be fine.

However, riding motorcross and falling off, etc. and landing on your implant arm could cause severe issues if you reinjure!

May 19, 2011
broken plate
by: Chiv

Thanks kathleen, do you mined if i ask your age? I guess my main concern is work, I'm a leisure boat repair/builder in fibreglass so i do a lot of heavy lifting and using large grinding tools ect. The doc has told me to find an office job because what i do now will not be good on the replacement, but it is the family business so that is a bit hard. I think lots of gym work is my best option and get on with life.

May 19, 2011
To Chiv
by: Kathleen Owens

Hi. The injury happened when I was 39, 44 now. I do alot of landscape work, digging, edging, mowing, lifting, etc. I'm very physical and if I must say, able to lift alot. There's alot of discomfort on occasion, but you can't crawl under a rock! I am very careful as to what I do and have learned what injures the muscles at the joint and wrist.

Any other questions, you can email me at KatOwens@aol.com.

May 24, 2011
great help
by: JR

Like most people here I fell onto outstretched hand, (I see it called a FOOSH injury a lot)and fractured the head of the radius on my left elbow. I got my bike wheel tangled up and didnt have the time/presence of mind to get out of the clip pedals in time.
Result: a few grazes on my ankle, a bruised hip and my arm felt like it had a shock. I felt sick right away and when I got up from the deck I could not lift my arm above shoulder height. I walked the bike home and had to wait until the morning to get it looked at. (The elbow not the bike)

I found to my dismay I had a 1mm fracture of the radius head and a piece of bone was floating around in the joint and the surgeon was looking to put me into his surgery on the same day.
I had exams that week so I delayed until 6 days after the accident and they put my arm into a half rigid cast at 80° for this period. In the operation they removed the chunk of bone and pinned with one screw the fracture. I previously had cut a nerve in my finger and was seriously worried about nerve damage in my other good hand.
Upon awaking from the operation I could not feel my hand at all. I was told the nerve running through this area had to be moved to get to the fracture and the feeling was going to come back in the next 24-48 hours, but I was pretty freaked out by this. Well it came back as they said with a lot of tingling and it is 100 % back now.

Now at day 23 since the accident and 15 days since the opertion. 1 day since the stitches came out. I started physio 8 days ago. First time with pain meds but since then none. the rotation seems to be back to almost normal although the doctor and physio warn me about rotating it too far. The extension ROM is only 30° to 85° right now. Once I can get to 90° I hope(pray) I can bend it further. its no fun when you cant reach your mouth with the fork. Yesterday the physio was tough. I am pretty sore but it is bearable and I dont want to take meds if I can help it. To be honest it has improved a lot over the last 5 days.

Not looking forward to the next '4-6 months' but it is better I know what to expect and I'm now better armed and motivated to do the exercises regularly. (So far my only exercise is to rub my hands together at almost maximum extension, but I think I will get more exercises next time.)

Wish you all had said that I could expect the kind of speedy recovery I would like but I'm GLAD I READ ALL THESE COMMENTS

Good luck to you all with your recovery.

May 25, 2011
exercises
by: Anonymous

Hi everyone,

It is now week 5 since operaion and ROM is 30 degrees and 100 (flexion), rotation still very poor).

Two exercises I have come across that are really helpful:

Rotation: hold neck of wine bottle in hand and keep holding in whatever direction you need to stretch. Much more effective than then twirling with a walking stick which I have been doing for weeks to no avail. I have about 25% movement in either direction.

Extension: lie on side with bad arm 'flat' on floor, put one of your legs over it and gently use the weight for long stretches. Very effective in sauna or steam room. You can also do this in bed if a hard surface is too much.

Lastly, I swim every day and stretch in the sauna every day as well, which helps. Three weeks ago I was at 95 degrees and 45, now 100 and 30.

I have been told by various physios that little and often is the way to go.

Finally, they are deciding next week to manipulate me or not. Any thoughts anyone? Or any other exercises that worked for you?

Y

May 27, 2011
RH replacement etc ...etc...
by: Sandy

Just to recap - shattered RH 9/23/2010 - had replacement surgery 10/6/2010. Extensive PT, JAS splint for extention, dynamic splint for flexion etc. I could not move beyond 105 flexion, unable to reach my head/face. My ulnar nerve was trapped. On 2/24/2011 I had manual manipulation with capsular release, and ulnar nerve decompression/transposition. Regained flexion - now 130. Post 2nd surgery follow-up, I complained of numbness/tingling in my hand and fingers. Told this was a temporary situation that would gradually resolve itself - possibly taking months. I returned to work 4/5/2011 after being out 6+ months. I work in a data ctr. enviornment, 12 hr. night shift. I returned to 6 hrs. working a keyboard. PT was decreased to 2x a week for 4 wks to account for expected inflammation. PT has now stopped, my surgeon has left his practice to return to a teaching position and my arm (not just the elbow)is killing me. I will be returning to my 12 hr. schedule soon. I saw a new ortho. surgeon who suspects cubitol tunnel syndrome. He has ordered an ECM study with a neurologist. This will not happen till mid June. I'm not sure how long I can wait and what he plans on doing with the nerve study results. I only met him once for 15 min. I wake up every day in pain and just push through it with 800mg tylenol. Any experience or info. would be appreciated. Evidently the 'fix' is what the cause was - nerve transposition. Originally it was just inner elbow pain (where the ulnar nerve is re-positioned, it would rub against me and my desk etc..), now it is my entire arm that hurts. It feels like it is being twisted in opposite directions. My wrist still hurts, my thumb now hurts and my hand is STILL numb/tingling (3 months later). I see many posts where this RH issue has gone on for years. I seem to keep compounding my orginal injury with new issues. I am looking forward to a final resolve so I can move on.....

May 27, 2011
It's not so bad!
by: Anonymous

Hang in there people... Please, acknowledge that this injury will forever change how you do things... It's not bad just a minor life adjustment. You can go weeks without pain or strange clicking, snap, crackle, pop.. And all of a sudden one day carrying too many grocery bags can set it off. It's just like any of those sports injuries that act out from time to time. Best thing is to keep active and always, I mean always do those little exercises and stretches they teach you in PT. It's just part of life and with life comes a few aches and pains. Just don't let it eat you up and occupy all your time...
Enjoy life and stay active...
snap, crackle, pop!

May 31, 2011
Fracture radial head
by: Harry

Fracture my radial head on the 26th of may on my left elbow I know it's painful but I'm ready and doc recommended surgery.

Jun 08, 2011
Recent radial head fracture tips
by: Anonymous

hi all
I also had the unfortunate radial head fracture non displaced, no surgery required. The most important thing is to rest it for a week post injury and move it as little as possible to allow the swelling in and around the joint to setting down.
Once this has happened start mobilising to your own limits go to where you feel pain and stop. Remember it takes 6 - 8 weeks for a bone fracture to head so stick with it. Just know that if you mobilse early you are move likely to regain full range of movement of your elbow.
If you are getting tingling sensations it could mean that you damaged your radial nerve when you feel. If this happens then go see your doctor and they can get you either an orthopaedic or neurology consult.
Happy exercising.

Jun 26, 2011
Hinged External Fixator, radial head replacement & two surgeries
by: Anonymous

Hi there, fellow sufferers. Like many of you, I fell forward onto my (thank goodness) non-dominant arm and got a real fancy break----dislocated the elbow completely, fractured the humerus and ulna and "exploded" the radial head into bits. First surgery was just the radial head replacement, which they thought would do it, but 8 days later the X-ray showed that it wasn't sitting right. So, a second six-hour surgery and an external fixator was put on, with a hinge at the joint so that I could move it some, but not a lot. Strangely, I did not have nerve damage and have been able to type with both hands since about week 4-5. After the six-hour surgery, I was in the hospital for five days. It's been pretty intense. If you're dealing with this kind of injury, my best advice is to ask for help, communicate often, use FB and Twitter and other social networking as much as you can and, most importantly, forget your pride!! Let people help you. Oh, and rest rest rest. Drugs can't replace what rest can do. I was lucky (?) to be unemployed when this happened, but you might want to take a leave of absence or short-term disability from work. I have been sleeping nearly 12-16 hours/day, which I prefer vastly to Vicodin or Oxycontin. Gave those up my first week home from the hospital and was much happier with aleve, tylenol, ice, and sometimes a Tramadol to sleep. I did have problems with infection in my pin sites with is a whole nother ball of wax, honestly. Real drag. Yesterday I got my pins out and I'm disappointed to realize that the prickly feeling I have that my arm is in a sticker bush was not wholly caused by the external fixator, but is, in fact, somehow in my arm permanently now. Hm. Not sure what to make of that. Have to start PT soon, I guess. Good luck to you all. Give up your pride, accept help in all its forms and pamper yourself!! love to all.

Jun 26, 2011
follow up to my radial fracture on Jan 22
by: lisaaa

Hi everyone....well here I am 5 months after fracturing the radial neck in my arm...no replacement just a plate and 5 screws. Like most of you I was so shocked to hear about how long the recovery time was for this, felt like I would never get better.

I started physio about 2 months after the surgery and have been going twice a week ever since. The progress I have made is amazing. When I started my arm was 40 degrees from straight and now it is 7 to 5 degrees (depending on the day). I could supinate my hand 5 degrees and now I am at 60. I do have EXCELLENT therapists working with me and they have designed some splints for me to wear that help with all this movement. The bending of my arm still has about 20 degrees to go until it it normal but I can use the arm to eat or touch my face etc.

The point I am trying to make is that like most of you, I was very discouraged but after all this time I feel great, can lift things with the broken arm and have virtually no pain anymore. Keep at your therapy and try to patient. Things WILL get better!!!

Jul 06, 2011
Long recovery road...
by: Jean

Hi everyone!
I fell almost two weeks ago while in a play(so it was around two hours between my fall and the ER...)... Wen i finally got to the er, they told me i had a broken radial head (no displacement ftw)... They gave me lots of pain killers and a slimg i've been wearing for almost two weeks (i must wear it for 3 weeks)... The pain is kinda acceptable, but i havent been able too sleep at all... I've lost all strenght in my left arm, it feels numb... But i know is just the begining of a loooooong recovery, so i'm keeping my head up and go step by step. I'll keep you all informed on my recovery =)

Jul 06, 2011
Stephanie. a year later
by: Anonymous

August 16 2010 ouch it hurt bad every doctor will want you to have surgery so glad i listened to my gut and waited....you have to move through the pain your bones do heal.....so make sure you can't heal yourself before getting that metal rod in your body....i had bars in my back for years believe me a foreign object doesn't work as well as your real bones...my radial head displacement elbows has fully healed......trust your body...my arms are straight full rotation...ok hope whoever is reading this has thought really hard about letting the doc do surgery ...i have faith in the human body's ability to heal..Aloha blessings !

Jul 10, 2011
progess report
by: JR

10 weeks now and ROM Upto 10-110°+, almost able to touch my shoulder with my finger tip and I can carry light things without a problem. Pain all gone.
I also have got the snap crackle and pop effect that others have been describing. My physio recommends trying to avoid doing things that make my elbow make this sound.
You will learn new tricks to do things that you find difficult but you also find yourself being very defensive of your arm in crowded places. Now I 'm making myself use the arm when I dont have to just to increase the amount of movement it does.
This website has some useful info.. but the times are a bit optimistic

Jul 10, 2011
useful website
by: JR

http://www.drdavidduckworth.com.au/Radial-Head-Fractures.html

Jul 14, 2011
Olecranon fracture
by: Lena

Is there a forum for olecranon fracture ( ulna, "funny bone"). I fell on a wet floor and broke my ulnar/olecranon bone on my Right dominant arm. I had pins and plate surgery. Day #1 post-op my surgeon started me on PT. Now its 3.5 weeks since surgery. I am doing well except for a big stiffness in the morning. It takes a couple of hours to get my arm flex as much as I did the previous day. I wear a sling for extension, and at the end of my flexion exercise, I hold a pot with a handle to extend my arm. I eat with my right hand, type, write, try to brush hair, and try to brush my teeth (so painful). My boss wants me to go back to work ASAP, but I am afraid I will not have time to exercise 3-4 times a day as I do now (on the days when there are no PT). I find Aleve better than Motrin (add Omeprazole for stomach protection).

I am very pleased to find this site. I need support.

Jul 20, 2011
Jean
by: Anonymous

Hello again! Its been 3 1/2 weeks from the fracture day, and i'm kinda having progress. I can almost fully extend the arm, but im having lots of painful moments trying to reach my shoulder... I can't fully rotate the hand, but im positive in my recovery =)

Aug 03, 2011
frustrated
by: Anonymous

first thanks guy your stories are very helpful

i fractured my radial head 2 1/2 months ago my range or motion is 90% back but theres is clicking when i turn my palms up or down and can b quite painful time to time. my dr. told me that i am borderline between healing naturally or needing surgery. does it heal more after 3 months or should i go ahead with the surgery i am 22 and very athletic i would like to have my elbow as normal as possible. any suggestions?

Aug 04, 2011
One Year Update
by: Zach

by: Zach

Hi Everyone-

I crashed my bike a year and ten days ago and posted on this forum a year ago.

I'm 22 and I had a 1.5mm fracture in the radial head of my left elbow. At the advice of my aggressive ER doctor, I only wore a cast for three days and did not have surgery. My orthopedist said most of the healing would occur in the first six weeks, although the bone would not be fully healed for one year.

He was exactly right on both counts. I regained full range of motion after five weeks, and after a year I feel no pain and I can work my elbow as hard as I want at the gym without holding back.

My advice to all is to move the arm up and down and stretch it as much as possible without feeling extreme pain. A little pain is probably fine, and keeping the arm loose is important if you aspire to regain full range of motion with no pain.

Stay positive!

Aug 04, 2011
Re: Lena's post in july
by: Anonymous

Hi Lena,
I want you to know your boss can't rush you back to work... You had surgery technically you should be off work for three months if you are a workers comp. case. It takes that amount of time to heal and you will need to build up your strength with physical therapy and at home exercises. Don't rush back to work until you can get around comfortably and have a reasonable amount of strength back. Otherwise you risk not gaining the full benefits of your corrective surgery! Don't think short term small picture... Think long term 10-20 years from now not being able to use your arm! Your boss needs to chill. Focus on your recovery"-"
Someone who's been down your road before!

Aug 10, 2011
undisplaced radial head fracture
by: stefan

hello everybody .. first of all it's great having a website like this one because it helps a lot to find answers to our questions. To resume i had a bike accident the 9th of august and it was an undispaced radial head fracture.. i stayed a few days in a half cast and then the sling stuff few days also..two weeks after my accident i started phisiotherapie..and this my fourth session since.. i'm just scared that i wont be able to gain all the hand motion even with all the hard exercices i do ..especially this is my dominant hand ..and since the accident i cant eat with it ..do u have any suggestions or opinion that could help me?! Thanx a lot and sorry i'm not really good writing in english !

Aug 10, 2011
error
by: stefan

sorry my accident was the 9th of july.. and its has been 4 weeks now..

Aug 10, 2011
Stefan
by: Anonymous

Hi Sefan,
Be patient and do your physio exercises! I was in physio for 3mo. post surgery. I am now 10 mo. post op. I can use my arm with great ease. Mobility and strength are fine. I do experience tightness and occasional bone pain. But it usually occurs after alot of strenuous activity or being in damp/cold climate... Including airconditioned environments. It's a long road stay positive and active try to use your arm as much as possible and not to hold it in that akward bent sling position. It really contributes to stiffness and lack of mobility. Massage your arm regularly do your best to roll out those painful knots that create extra soreness. Hang in there and yes, you will be back on your bike soon! Use the athletic tape for extra support when first back to biking, and take it slow....

Aug 10, 2011
thank u
by: Anonymous

thank u so much for ur support and advice .. i will follow each step and work as hard as i can to get that arm better..i'm glad u are feeling better today and thanx sharing all this with an insignificant guy like me .. God bless u my friend !!

Aug 10, 2011
regarding previous message
by: stefan

the previous message was from me (stefan) !! good luck everyone !!

Aug 10, 2011
Kettle Ball exercises.....
by: Anonymous

In Sept of 2010, I had a radial head replacement, from a bad accident. I now have full range of motion and feel I'm doing pretty good. Is it possible to start doing push ups and use a kettle ball for exercise. Can I even do these things after a replacement...........?

Aug 13, 2011
Radial Head Fracture that was drained
by: Anonymous

I fell backwards on a slick subway floor on my way home 5 days ago and my right elbow seemed to have broken my fall (no pun intended). At the hospital the doctor told me that the fracture bled into my elbow joint and in order to relieve the pain and regain motion in my arm it had to be drained out. The needle was inserted inbetween the joint, cold turkey, this was by far the most painful experience I have ever had (including childbirth!). I was sent home with some pain killers and a sling, the doctor also instructed me to use the sling continuously for only 24 hours. After the 24 hours I was to keep it off while at home. I was told to make an appt to see the doctor in 2 weeks. It has now been 5 days since my injurty and I have regained about 90-95% of the motion in my right arm. After reading all of the posts I consider myself to be extremely lucky and can only hope that the healing continues and that my elbow recovers completely.

Aug 19, 2011
Two months
by: Jean

Its been almost two monts after my injury and now i'm almost completely recovered. It hurts a little every once in a while and i cant still carry heavy stuff, but im having a very good recory, have had no rehab, not even one... Keep positive and pain be long gone =D

Aug 26, 2011
elbow fracture surgery
by: Jackie

Hi,
My son fell at work and fractured his elbow in three places and also dislocated it, he is 24 and had to have surgery to repair it,I think he had a new ball joint put in and the surgeon said he will get full movement back.
He still has a cast on although it is not a full cast the cast is on the bottomm of the arm and there is like a sofer cast on the forearm . It is 5 days since he has surgery and last night he was sitting watching tv when he said he experienced a click or a cracking noise which did not hurt in fact he said it felt good and released his elbow, the swelling has also gone down a lot and now he says he feels like the cast is too big and his arm is moving about in the cast.
Anyone had this experience and any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Aug 26, 2011
elbow fracture surgery
by: Jackie

Hi,
My son fell at work and fractured his elbow in three places and also dislocated it, he is 24 and had to have surgery to repair it,I think he had a new ball joint put in and the surgeon said he will get full movement back.
He still has a cast on although it is not a full cast the cast is on the bottomm of the arm and there is like a sofer cast on the forearm . It is 5 days since he has surgery and last night he was sitting watching tv when he said he experienced a click or a cracking noise which did not hurt in fact he said it felt good and released his elbow, the swelling has also gone down a lot and now he says he feels like the cast is too big and his arm is moving about in the cast.
Anyone had this experience and any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Aug 27, 2011
Radial Head fracture in two places
by: Fish

I was a walking downhill, watching a movie via net flicks on my iphone, it was dark- I tripped over a fire hydrant, fully extended left arm to break fall- I sort of did a kart wheel. I stumbled home tried to sleep it off- 2 hours later- went to ER, was placed in a half cast from wrist to armpit- Next day went to Orthopedic doctor- made a new half cast and gave me a sling. day 6 i removed shoulder sling and cast- Day 7 went for a follow up- Took X rays- everything looked normal, Doctor game me a tennis elbow brace and said see you in 3 weeks. I am at week two, I cannot touch my shoulder, or extend arm fully. Feels like my bones are out of alignment or something- This is my second radial fracture on this arm- I dont recall the first one being this unpleasant (i am a 14 years older, maybe I heal slower now?,) Anyway- from what I've read here it seems, that it takes more than 2 weeks to be able to extend arm fully. Ill update this post in a couple weeks

Aug 31, 2011
To Jackie
by: Paul

Hi Jackie, Yes, get that cast off, the longer it is on the harder it will be to resume movement at physio. The 'snap-crackle&Pop' will always be there. Depending on the damage caused within the elbow ie. tendon etc, it may be an option the have the prosthesis removed should it become too much of a problem for your son. People lead perfectly normal lives without the radial head in place (again this all depends on whether there had been any other associated damage to areas other than the radial head). If there is a chance, i would say get rid. Mine causes me nothing but grief and is loose so i'm just waiting to have it taken out and i'll see how i get on.

Aug 31, 2011
son's elbow injury
by: Jackie

@Paul,
Thank you for the reply, my son had the cast removed and the clips taken out ,but they have now put a full cast on for two weeks. We saw the xray and ther is a plate and screws in there too, we thought they would put a brace on instead of a cast but obviously not, he is complaining that it is sore now as meaning achey too, the surgeon said yesterday the cast stays on for a total of four weeks now whether this means he has already had two weeks and the new cast is the final two we don't know this is the nhs we are talking about there, although I cannot fault them because two surgeons wouldn't touch his elbow they said it was in so much of a mess that they brought the top surgeon in who only does elbow injuries and he spoke to my son the day before he operated and said he would make a special joint so he could regain full movement and also play his guitar again as my son is a keep guitarist, we know this is a long job to regain strength but I know my son will fullfil the goal.
His fingers are very weak when he holds them out straight they shake , but the surgeon checked them yesterday and was very pleased with his progress, its been only twelve days since his operation so we don't know what to expect really, as a mother even of a 24 year old I worry like crazy lol.

Sep 01, 2011
Best Surgeon for Radial Heads
by: Anonymous

I completely shattered the radial head on my dominate arm & blew out my shoulder. I have had 4 surgeries starting with cadaver bone, then two prosthetic head replacements, numbness, and all the same symptoms.

I found Dr. John Itamura (Former USC, now with Kerlan Jobe (310) 665-7200) after being fed up and doing research. He performed a state of the art surgery 2 months ago. In layman terms, he removed the radial head and wrapped the muscle in its place. When he described it to me, it made no sense at all.

2 weeks post op, it felt good enough to start lifting light weights. Now, I can throw a ball, lift weights, and live a normal life. The sharp pains are gone, no clicking sounds, and no numbness in the fingers.

Sep 06, 2011
Didn't see the Dr.
by: Anxious and Concerned

I fell on August 21st, diretly on to my outstretched right hand. I was hopeful that the injuries were not serious and would resolve. However, after 2.5 weeks I realized I had no strength in my right arm and experienced difficulty eith extension and rotation. I went to my primary physician - and then for x-rays - resulting in a diagnosis of radial head fracture. As this diagnosis came at 5PM on Labor Day weekend, I waited until today, September 6th, to see an orthopedist. He took furthr x-rays and confirmed that I had a radial head fracture.

He explained that normally I should have an initial period wearing a cast but that since I had gone 2.5 weeks with out one - and have a reasonable range of motion I should just wear a sling away from home for 2 weeks and then return. He explained about surgery as an option, but he felt that I was a good candidate for recovery without surgery - although I would likely have some restriction of motion in the elbow.

I am 63 and not fond of surgery as a solution - but am concerned how much discomfort and restricted motion I will saddle myself with if I proceed with just the sling.

The Dr. did say there was no finite time window for the surgery - I suppose that means that if I am not comfortable after several weeks with my progress I could reconsider.

If anyone has adice or suggestions I would welcoe them.

Thanks

Sep 06, 2011
Didn't see the Dr.
by: Anxious and Concerned

I fell on August 21st, diretly on to my outstretched right hand. I was hopeful that the injuries were not serious and would resolve. However, after 2.5 weeks I realized I had no strength in my right arm and experienced difficulty eith extension and rotation. I went to my primary physician - and then for x-rays - resulting in a diagnosis of radial head fracture. As this diagnosis came at 5PM on Labor Day weekend, I waited until today, September 6th, to see an orthopedist. He took furthr x-rays and confirmed that I had a radial head fracture.

He explained that normally I should have an initial period wearing a cast but that since I had gone 2.5 weeks with out one - and have a reasonable range of motion I should just wear a sling away from home for 2 weeks and then return. He explained about surgery as an option, but he felt that I was a good candidate for recovery without surgery - although I would likely have some restriction of motion in the elbow.

I am 63 and not fond of surgery as a solution - but am concerned how much discomfort and restricted motion I will saddle myself with if I proceed with just the sling.

The Dr. did say there was no finite time window for the surgery - I suppose that means that if I am not comfortable after several weeks with my progress I could reconsider.

If anyone has adice or suggestions I would welcoe them.

Thanks

Sep 06, 2011
RESPONSE
by: Anonymous

I haven't added to this site in over a year. My experience was 2 years ago, falling and fracturing the radial head. I live in rural mountains of Georgia and expert surgery is far away. They removed the radial head. Went through 6 months of physical therapy and everything seemed to be healing fine with the expected aches and creaks. I am 55 years old. Then started experiencing severe pain and numbness in the affected hand. Did the nerve conduction test and have damage in both the ulna and radial nerves (from surgery????????) More surgery was recommended. I am a farmer and can't afford any more down time so I opted out of the nerve surgery. Just started working. The more I worked the muscles of the affected arm, the better it got. It hurt to go through that but I no longer have the pain of the nerve damage and no more numbness in the hand. Still have the elbow pain and creaks but that is bearable.

Sep 07, 2011
SHATTERED ELBOW
by: Anonymous

I HAD A SEVERE FRACTURE OF THE RADIAL HEAD AND HAD A COMMUNITED FRACTURE AS WELL. HAD OVER 10 FRACTURES IN MY ELBOW WHICH REQUIRED A ZIMMER PLATE AND 10 SCREWS. THIS ALL HAPPENED 5 MONTHS AGO. NOW ALONG WITH ELBOW PAIN I HAVE A STABBING PAIN IN MY BICEP. I HAD TOLD MY SURGEON ABOUT THE PAIN IN MY BICEP ONLY FOR HIM TO TELL ME TO GO TO REHAB. I DID REHAB AND STILL HAVE THE BICEP PAIN. ANYONE ELSE HAVE SIMILAR PROBLEM? ALL MY RESEARCH HAS LED ME TO A POSSIBLE TARE IN THE BICEP OR BICEP TENDON. MY SURGEON SAID IT WAS ONE OF THE WORST SHATTERED ELBOWS HE HAS EVER SEE. HE SAID IT WAS A 9 OUT OF 10 ON THE BAD SCALE BUT HE IS TREATING ME LIKE IT WAS A 2 OUTTA 10. ANYONE ELSE IN THE SAME BOAT?

Sep 07, 2011
Re: Anxious and concerned
by: Anonymous

It will be a year ago this month that I fractured my radial head. My 2nd x-ray approx. 2wks after inury indicated the bone healed but was blocking my ability to have full extension. Even after a (numbing type) shot the doctor was not successful at getting my arm to straighten any further. He called it a mechanical block. The surgery took some time but was bearable. I loved physical therapy. It gave me hope and real perspective! Some people have it reallllly baaddd! (meaning terrible life changing injuries due to strokes or car accidents. etc... So with a lot of work, patience and dedication (to elbow and arm exercises.) I am good as new! Of course it acts out from time to time. Maybe as a reminder of how truly fortunate I am!!! Don't be afraid of surgery.... Make sure you trust and know your surgeons credentials and specialized field of practice...
Hang tough! 63 is young! I have a friend who just turned 99. When she was 40 something she broke her elbow. Ingnored the injury and over the years has lost complete use of her inujured arm. Go for it! That's what she told me and I am a 40 something too!

Sep 08, 2011
what is this clicking
by: Anonymous

i now know the articular joint is no longer a flat surfact due to the fracture. its been 5 months since i fractured it playing basketball. Will it ever heal itself without surgery or should i consider it. Will rehabilitation exercises improve this clicking and pain over time? It's not terrible but i would rather have my elbow more stable.

Sep 12, 2011
son's elbow injury
by: Jackie

Hi all, Just a quick update on my son's elbow.
He has had the cast off today and the surgeon is very very happy with his progress, already my son can grip his fist, seperate his fingers, lift his arm above his shoulder, stretch out his arm to full extension and do all the moves that he could normally do before his accident.
He has been fitted with a brace which he can take on and off by himself and is able to shower, he is starting his first physio tomorrow, he realises this is going to be painful,but he is determined to get better again and to be honest when I saw him last week lifting his arm right up above his shoulder I knew he was getting better already.

Normally with the NHS here in the UK the cast stays on for four weeks,but not in this case which I am pleased about because I know how important it is to get the joint moving again ,he also said he is experiencing like bubbles or a fizzy feeling down his arm and the snap,crackle and pop feeling,but otherwise he is very chuffed with his recovery, it is his birthday on Wednesday he will be 25 so we decided to celebrate this victory with a party and karaoke.
Hope all of you who are still recovering along with my son are as blessed as he is, God bless you all and here is to a speedy recovery.

Sep 18, 2011
Zero supination
by: Nigel Kearney

I had radial head replacement surgery four weeks ago (slipped on ice and weight fell on outstretched hand). The cast came off two weeks ago and I have been doing regular stretching.

The pain is quite low. I don't have full extension yet but feel like I am getting closer. Pronation is fine, I can almost rotate through 90 degrees now.

However supination (turning palm up) is close to zero. I can achieve about 10 degrees but almost all of that is hand and wrist which were unaffected by the injury. Attempted supination is uncomfortable but not especially painful, actually less painful than the other exercises where I am making good progress. Mostly it just feels blocked so further rotation is impossible. Should I expect this to improve by itself or do I need further treatment?

Sep 18, 2011
Discouraged
by: Anonymous

It will be a yr on oct 3rd that I fell off my bike while I was mountain bike ridinf. Im 48...no surgery just plenty of physical therapy, used a jas splint that didnt help, now some shock therapy thing I put on my outer arm near elbow to teach the muscle to work. I have had small but good progress, but arm isnt 100% straight. Frusyrating as hell! Go to gym about 3 x a wk to stretch is out. But its seems my non injured arm is getting more lean than injured one. How long will this take? When I stretch it it aches. So discouraged with this radial head injury...fracture completely healed and has been for awhile now...

Sep 22, 2011
terrible triad fracture of elbow
by: Lisa Keller

On 6/5/11 I fell and injured my non-dominant left elbow. I dislocated arm, tore tendons and ligaments, fractured ulna and shattered radial head. In the ER the arm was set under propoful, then 5 days later I had ORIF. The tendons and ligaments were threated thru "eyelets". The ulna was pinned; radial head was sawed, and titanium implant was placed. The arm was casted for 3 weeks, then removed and physical therapy began. I was told that my recovery was remarkable with excellent flexion, extention, supination and pronation. Nearly 4 months post op,my orthopod now tells me the titanium implant needs to be replaced with a longer one which will diminish my pain which requires 2-5 vicodin daily. Each time I move the arm I feel the implant rotate and rub around humerus and ulna. The arm is contracted and painful, and requires heating or icing multiple times per day. My orthopod is one of the best (if not THE best in San Diego, Ca); he sayse I will not be able to push, pull or lift more than 10# before 1/1/12. Tough injury that really could have been so much worse. Hopefully the next surgery will speed up my recovery so I can return to work. I can handle pain below 5/10 but now many days are 7-8/10 can be discouraging.

Sep 22, 2011
terrible triad fracture of elbow
by: Lisa Keller

On 6/5/11 I fell and injured my non-dominant left elbow. I dislocated arm, tore tendons and ligaments, fractured ulna and shattered radial head. In the ER the arm was set under propoful, then 5 days later I had ORIF. The tendons and ligaments were threated thru "eyelets". The ulna was pinned; radial head was sawed, and titanium implant was placed. The arm was casted for 3 weeks, then removed and physical therapy began. I was told that my recovery was remarkable with excellent flexion, extention, supination and pronation. Nearly 4 months post op,my orthopod now tells me the titanium implant needs to be replaced with a longer one which will diminish my pain which requires 2-5 vicodin daily. Each time I move the arm I feel the implant rotate and rub around humerus and ulna. The arm is contracted and painful, and requires heating or icing multiple times per day. My orthopod is one of the best (if not THE best in San Diego, Ca); he sayse I will not be able to push, pull or lift more than 10# before 1/1/12. Tough injury that really could have been so much worse. Hopefully the next surgery will speed up my recovery so I can return to work. I can handle pain below 5/10 but now many days are 7-8/10 can be discouraging.

Sep 22, 2011
terrible triad fracture of elbow
by: Lisa Keller

On 6/5/11 I fell and injured my non-dominant left elbow. I dislocated arm, tore tendons and ligaments, fractured ulna and shattered radial head. In the ER the arm was set under propoful, then 5 days later I had ORIF. The tendons and ligaments were threated thru "eyelets". The ulna was pinned; radial head was sawed, and titanium implant was placed. The arm was casted for 3 weeks, then removed and physical therapy began. I was told that my recovery was remarkable with excellent flexion, extention, supination and pronation. Nearly 4 months post op,my orthopod now tells me the titanium implant needs to be replaced with a longer one which will diminish my pain which requires 2-5 vicodin daily. Each time I move the arm I feel the implant rotate and rub around humerus and ulna. The arm is contracted and painful, and requires heating or icing multiple times per day. My orthopod is one of the best (if not THE best in San Diego, Ca); he sayse I will not be able to push, pull or lift more than 10# before 1/1/12. Tough injury that really could have been so much worse. Hopefully the next surgery will speed up my recovery so I can return to work. I can handle pain below 5/10 but now many days are 7-8/10 can be discouraging.

Sep 22, 2011
terrible triad fracture of elbow
by: Lisa Keller

On 6/5/11 I fell and injured my non-dominant left elbow. I dislocated arm, tore tendons and ligaments, fractured ulna and shattered radial head. In the ER the arm was set under propoful, then 5 days later I had ORIF. The tendons and ligaments were threated thru "eyelets". The ulna was pinned; radial head was sawed, and titanium implant was placed. The arm was casted for 3 weeks, then removed and physical therapy began. I was told that my recovery was remarkable with excellent flexion, extention, supination and pronation. Nearly 4 months post op,my orthopod now tells me the titanium implant needs to be replaced with a longer one which will diminish my pain which requires 2-5 vicodin daily. Each time I move the arm I feel the implant rotate and rub around humerus and ulna. The arm is contracted and painful, and requires heating or icing multiple times per day. My orthopod is one of the best (if not THE best in San Diego, Ca); he sayse I will not be able to push, pull or lift more than 10# before 1/1/12. Tough injury that really could have been so much worse. Hopefully the next surgery will speed up my recovery so I can return to work. I can handle pain below 5/10 but now many days are 7-8/10 can be discouraging.

Sep 22, 2011
terrible triad fracture of elbow
by: Lisa Keller

On 6/5/11 I fell and injured my non-dominant left elbow. I dislocated arm, tore tendons and ligaments, fractured ulna and shattered radial head. In the ER the arm was set under propoful, then 5 days later I had ORIF. The tendons and ligaments were threated thru "eyelets". The ulna was pinned; radial head was sawed, and titanium implant was placed. The arm was casted for 3 weeks, then removed and physical therapy began. I was told that my recovery was remarkable with excellent flexion, extention, supination and pronation. Nearly 4 months post op,my orthopod now tells me the titanium implant needs to be replaced with a longer one which will diminish my pain which requires 2-5 vicodin daily. Each time I move the arm I feel the implant rotate and rub around humerus and ulna. The arm is contracted and painful, and requires heating or icing multiple times per day. My orthopod is one of the best (if not THE best in San Diego, Ca); he sayse I will not be able to push, pull or lift more than 10# before 1/1/12. Tough injury that really could have been so much worse. Hopefully the next surgery will speed up my recovery so I can return to work. I can handle pain below 5/10 but now many days are 7-8/10 can be discouraging.

Sep 22, 2011
terrible triad fracture of elbow
by: Lisa Keller

On 6/5/11 I fell and injured my non-dominant left elbow. I dislocated arm, tore tendons and ligaments, fractured ulna and shattered radial head. In the ER the arm was set under propoful, then 5 days later I had ORIF. The tendons and ligaments were threated thru "eyelets". The ulna was pinned; radial head was sawed, and titanium implant was placed. The arm was casted for 3 weeks, then removed and physical therapy began. I was told that my recovery was remarkable with excellent flexion, extention, supination and pronation. Nearly 4 months post op,my orthopod now tells me the titanium implant needs to be replaced with a longer one which will diminish my pain which requires 2-5 vicodin daily. Each time I move the arm I feel the implant rotate and rub around humerus and ulna. The arm is contracted and painful, and requires heating or icing multiple times per day. My orthopod is one of the best (if not THE best in San Diego, Ca); he sayse I will not be able to push, pull or lift more than 10# before 1/1/12. Tough injury that really could have been so much worse. Hopefully the next surgery will speed up my recovery so I can return to work. I can handle pain below 5/10 but now many days are 7-8/10 can be discouraging.

Oct 19, 2011
Radial head replacement
by: MLI

Ten weeks ago I tripped on a rock while hiking and fractured my radial head on my dominate arm, tore off the ULC ligament and fractured the radial shaft at the point that hey cut the radial bone to place the new radial head.

I am 61 years young but have had a hard time since this happened. I am going to PT twice a week and am getting better but still have alot of pain especially after doing my excercises. I work as an RN in hospital and am worried about going back to work. I am not sure I can handle the heavy lifting etc that is required from a nurse. This sure is not the same as breaking your leg etc. MD told me it will be about a year before I won't notice that there is something wrong with my arm. I am getting about -15/140 which I think is pretty good. Wish me luck as I return to work next week. This post has been very helpful. All of you take care!

Oct 19, 2011
Radial head replacement
by: MLI

Ten weeks ago I tripped on a rock while hiking and fractured my radial head on my dominate arm, tore off the ULC ligament and fractured the radial shaft at the point that hey cut the radial bone to place the new radial head.

I am 61 years young but have had a hard time since this happened. I am going to PT twice a week and am getting better but still have alot of pain especially after doing my excercises. I work as an RN in hospital and am worried about going back to work. I am not sure I can handle the heavy lifting etc that is required from a nurse. This sure is not the same as breaking your leg etc. MD told me it will be about a year before I won't notice that there is something wrong with my arm. I am getting about -15/140 which I think is pretty good. Wish me luck as I return to work next week. This post has been very helpful. All of you take care!

Oct 19, 2011
Radial head replacement
by: MLI

Ten weeks ago I tripped on a rock while hiking and fractured my radial head on my dominate arm, tore off the ULC ligament and fractured the radial shaft at the point that hey cut the radial bone to place the new radial head.

I am 61 years young but have had a hard time since this happened. I am going to PT twice a week and am getting better but still have alot of pain especially after doing my excercises. I work as an RN in hospital and am worried about going back to work. I am not sure I can handle the heavy lifting etc that is required from a nurse. This sure is not the same as breaking your leg etc. MD told me it will be about a year before I won't notice that there is something wrong with my arm. I am getting about -15/140 which I think is pretty good. Wish me luck as I return to work next week. This post has been very helpful. All of you take care!

Oct 19, 2011
response to MIL
by: Anonymous

Yes, your doctor is right! I fractured my radial head last September and had surgery in early October of 2010. I feel great now and PT truly helped... what really helped me out was becoming an avid yoga student... Doing yoga has helped me in so many ways. I teach preschool and my job is
pretty on the go. I never sit down and when I do it's on the ground! Lifting chairs, children etc. was very difficult at first and some of the lifting I just couldn't do. Massage after PT helped as well as ice.... Try the yoga!
Hang in there you will feel better it just takes a while.....

Nov 01, 2011
follow up on removal of loose radial head titanium implant with longer implant
by: lisa keller

As follow up to previous post. Surgery was redone 4mos after initial injury. After first surgery I had great deal of painting to wrist and forearm; antecubital area was contracted, painful and hot, and elbow was swollen and painful. Since surgery( 13days ago), antecubital no longer hot, elbow less swollen, and wrist and forearm pain is gone. This makes me wonder: how and why did titanium implant loosen? MD states I will not be able to lift more than 10#'s for 8-12mos when injury "plateaus". As an RN this makes me unemployable. Without health ins my bills are $100k. Adding insult to injury.




Nov 01, 2011
follow up on removal of loose radial head titanium implant with longer implant
by: lisa keller

As follow up to previous post. Surgery was redone 4mos after initial injury. After first surgery I had great deal of painting to wrist and forearm; antecubital area was contracted, painful and hot, and elbow was swollen and painful. Since surgery( 13days ago), antecubital no longer hot, elbow less swollen, and wrist and forearm pain is gone. This makes me wonder: how and why did titanium implant loosen? MD states I will not be able to lift more than 10#'s for 8-12mos when injury "plateaus". As an RN this makes me unemployable. Without health ins my bills are $100k. Adding insult to injury.




Nov 05, 2011
What to do?
by: Chiv

Hi everyone, Like most of you i did the works on my elbow and after an op i have 6 screws and a plate holding my radial head together. Now 6 years later and alot of pain still trying to ride dirt bikes,ect and live life. The plate is now broken into 3 bit and the doc has said the elbow never really healed and is a mess. The Doc has said i need the radial head replaced but at the moment i can still do every thing just with alot of pain. Once i have the op done their is no turning back and he is telling me i will have to be very carefull with my elbow. Can some one out there please tell me that life goes on and they can still ride bikes, use power tools, lift weights and throw their kids into the air. I have a alot more life in me yet. I am only 36, i have a boy 3 years old and a girl 8 months. So how much will the new radial head hold me back???????





Nov 07, 2011
Radial dislocation and Ulnar fracture at elbow
by: Anonymous

15 weeks after fracturing my ulna in 2 places at the elbow and dislocating my radial head, I have almost full normal range of motion. This is because. 1. I had a great surgeon who installed plate and pins, and didn't leave cast on for more than 3 weeks. 2. My physiotherapist got me moving as soon as that cast came off, and never gave up on me. I worked hard and did my exercises faithfully every single day. I still have stiffness, and it won't go away for a long time. I was told this type of injury would take at least 6 months to heal. I still have weak triceps but that will come. I need to be patient. My physiotherapist had me try contrast baths twice a day for the first month. This helped with swelling and circulation. I still do this from time to time when it is stiff. Every day I work out with small (3 lb) weights and bands, pushing myself off the refrigerator door, bending and straigtening my arm, using resistence, and icing it down after every workout. It is work. Lots of work, but you have to believe the only way to improve your situation is to work at it. It doesn't come naturally. I don't know what my long-term prognosis is for stiffness, pain or arthritis, but I am taking it small steps at a time. Good luck to everyone on your progress.

Nov 09, 2011
elbow dislocation and fracture
by: Anonymous

I dislocated and fractured my elbow in 2 places on the 12th of august my arm was in a cast for 4 weeks and then a sling which I could wear on and off when I needed it I started physio about 2 n a half weeks after the cast came off, at the time I had no movement in my arm it was stuck in the same place due to the cast I could not straighten it turn my arm or touch my shoulder and I had alot of restriction in my wrist, pyhsio has been very painful and it seemed like I was never going to get my arm straight but each week it started going down by about 10 degrees and They fitted me with a splint which I had to wear every night to help straighten my arm this was refitted every couple of weeks.i can happily say that on my session yesturday we got it down to 3 degrees so it is nearly straight I can touch my shoulder with the tips of my fingers and nearly turn my wrist fully although it is slightly stiff and clicks every now an then but it is improving, and no longer have to wear the slpint. It is hard work but if you keep at it itl b worth it in the end,just keep exercising and strenthen your muscles.

Nov 10, 2011
Acumed radial head prosthesis
by: Anonymous

I had a fracture to my Radial head. after 4 days I had an op and got a Acumed radial head prosthesis. Six week after the op I can almost stretch my arm out ( 170 degrees) and bend it to 95 degrees. I can also type on my PC but with some pain. For more info see this page: http://www.acumed.net/anatomic-radial-head-system

The problem with a prosthesis is the life spand estimateed to 5-7 years. My doctor says I can live without a radial head? any experiences out there?

But I have learned that it is better with a unsemented solution than a semented solution.

Nov 10, 2011
Acumed radial head prosthesis
by: Anonymous

I had a fracture to my Radial head. after 4 days I had an op and got a Acumed radial head prosthesis. Six week after the op I can almost stretch my arm out ( 170 degrees) and bend it to 95 degrees. I can also type on my PC but with some pain. For more info see this page: http://www.acumed.net/anatomic-radial-head-system

The problem with a prosthesis is the life spand estimateed to 5-7 years. My doctor says I can live without a radial head? any experiences out there?

But I have learned that it is better with a unsemented solution than a semented solution.

Nov 10, 2011
Acumed radial head prosthesis
by: Anonymous

I had a fracture to my Radial head. after 4 days I had an op and got a Acumed radial head prosthesis. Six week after the op I can almost stretch my arm out ( 170 degrees) and bend it to 95 degrees. I can also type on my PC but with some pain. For more info see this page: http://www.acumed.net/anatomic-radial-head-system

The problem with a prosthesis is the life spand estimateed to 5-7 years. My doctor says I can live without a radial head? any experiences out there?

But I have learned that it is better with a unsemented solution than a semented solution.

Nov 17, 2011
fractured head of radius from cycling accident NEW
by: honeymuffin

Hi, I fractured my head of radius 2.5 weeks ago after falling off my bike in the dark and unfortunately putting out my right (dominant) arm to break my fall. I was just given a sling and told to come back to the fracture clinic in 2 weeks (my appointment is tomorrow). At first my hand and arm was swollen and I could barely move my hand, let alone my arm, without intense pain. But, I've been trying to improve my movement by clenching and stretching my hand, rotating my wrist and moving my arm, a little bit more each day and now my hand feels almost normal and the range of movement in my arm has improved. I can now almost touch my head, but still my arm will not extend very far. I'm really anxious to get back on my bike and also get back to swimming and lifting weights in the gym, but judging by people's posts, I am worried this is too optimistic. I hope I've done the right thing by doing these exercises as I wasn't told whether to or not and some info online says you shouldn't move your arm at all in the 1st 2 weeks and other info says you should move it asap. What will happen at this fracture clinic? I was also wandering about writing - I've been writing even though it is painful as it is essential for me to do s a student, is this ok? Has anyone experienced weird crampy, pins and needley type feelings in their forearm and hand? I am getting this when I use my arm for some reason. Also has anyone noticed that their fingernails on their affected side have stopped growing and that the skin on that hand is drier? Any advice appreciated!

Nov 17, 2011
So...you fell off a bike in the dark.... NEW
by: Kathleen Owens

I tumbled down a flight of stairs on ice and shattered my radial head. After having broken the same arm 2 times before over the course of 30 years (yes, I'm old), I knew something was very wrong. I went right away to the ER, had xrays, given pain meds and a sling and told to see a specialist when the swelling went down, they said i had a 'crack'. The next week, after dying from pain, I went to a specialist and they did immediate surgery. Due to the week delay of not doing anything, thinking I had only a cracked bone, I did severe nerve damage, and now live daily with numbness and pain shoots down my arm to my fingers. Get to the doctor. Get to a specialist..... Don't take it for granted that you are moving it fine. Make sure. It's not something that you want to mess around with or think its fine.

Nov 17, 2011
So...you fell off a bike in the dark.... NEW
by: Kathleen Owens

I tumbled down a flight of stairs on ice and shattered my radial head. After having broken the same arm 2 times before over the course of 30 years (yes, I'm old), I knew something was very wrong. I went right away to the ER, had xrays, given pain meds and a sling and told to see a specialist when the swelling went down, they said i had a 'crack'. The next week, after dying from pain, I went to a specialist and they did immediate surgery. Due to the week delay of not doing anything, thinking I had only a cracked bone, I did severe nerve damage, and now live daily with numbness and pain shoots down my arm to my fingers. Get to the doctor. Get to a specialist..... Don't take it for granted that you are moving it fine. Make sure. It's not something that you want to mess around with or think its fine.

Nov 17, 2011
Response to Acumed radial head prosthesis NEW
by: Kathleen Owens

I have a Wright Radial Head Implant (titanium), probably similar to yours. I had my accident and replacement done in 2005. I have full strength and 95% motion after 6 years. I don't have any major issues, but have heard that there is a lifespan of 10 years or so. A friend had one taken out and replaced after 20 years. I don't know WHY there is a lifespan......

Nov 17, 2011
Troubled elbow NEW
by: Anonymous

Havent posted in awhile. Fell off bike, right arm
caught fall. Broke radial head. Clean break, no surgery.
Physical therapy. Small...super tiny progress in stretching
arm out. Almost there, but it cracks alot and still have
"achy pain". Its been 1 yr and 2 mths. I worked it out
at the gym with lat pulls, weights. PT gave me an electriod
thing to teach the muscle to turn on. Frustrated with how long this is taking. Can anyone else relate?

Nov 18, 2011
Dominant Elbow is a Hard Thing to Lose! NEW
by: Artsydo

Fractured, dilocated and chipped my (radial head)right (dominant)elbow on Sept. 20th while visiting China. Had to fly home immediately as Chinese doctors said I needed immediate surgery. Elbow specialist in the states had me wear a brace for two weeks, then start physical therapy 3 days a week for 12 weeks. No surgery and hope I don't have to have it. After many tears, frustration and constant pain I'm down to -8 degrees with the arm extension - almost where I need to be. I exercise at home as directed. Tried wearing the Dynasplint at night but after only 1 hour, my fingers ached horribly and turned numb. Had to send it back. Unable to extend arm with palm up. It's very painful to even try. Physical therapist says I have a lot of scar tissue. I wouldn't wish this particular injury on my worst enemy. It has been horrendous, but I gather strength from those who say you eventually regain most of what you lost. So glad my children are grown because I don't know how I would have managed. I'm a 57-year old female and work full time in a school. I've only missed five days of school. My husband, colleagues, principal and students have been extremely supportive!

Nov 24, 2011
8 weeks post injury NEW
by: Anonymous

Never in a million years I thought that a fall off m bike whilst on holiday in Brittany during the second week in August, injuring the radial head would still be painful nearly four months on. Like most other sufferers - spent a couple of weeks in plaster then in a sling. Have been having physio once a week . Being a music teacher - piano playing was very difficult at first - but it is getting better. Thankfully it hasn't affected my conducting. I had a wonderful physio called Claire who has worked very hard to help me regain rotation in my hands. The arm is still very weak - and I find driving for a long time makes it very tense. Muscular massage has helped a lot and I have to do the theraband exercises daily.

I am determined to gain a pain free arm - but after reading all the comments - I will have to be patient. Difficult when life is so busy.

Unfortunately too, it isn't an injury that evokes much sympathy - and everyone seems to think that because the plaster has gone - that I can do the million and one tasks that I used to do before - sometimes I feel they think that I am making excuses.

It is good to be able to share experiences - though the prognosis is not generally back to the way it was before.



Nov 25, 2011
Non-displaced impacted radial head fracture NEW
by: BGH

I am a 25yo male who fell Nov 23rd and suffered a non-displaced impacted radial head fracture without involvement of the articulating surface. This was on my non-dominant side. No other fractures were seen in the emergency.

Immediately after falling I had pain in the back of the elbow which travelled down the forearm and involved the wrist. I could not flex or extend or rotate my wrist there was HUGE pain if I tried. At rest and not moving my elbow the pain was bearable but constant.

I went to the emergency immediateness. They splinted my arm and I have follow up with orthopaedics in one week where they will get an update with how it is healing.

The emergency doctor said that the split will probably come off in two weeks and then I would start moving my elbow which will be stiff. He said that due to the joint surface not being involved and there only being one stable fracture the prognosis is excellent.

Now 1 day later with the splint I am feeling only a very dull pain, yet any movement of my elbow increases the pain significantly. I have full flextion and extension of my wrist and the fingers are fine. I have no numbness of pins or needles. I suspect rotating my wrist would still hurt a lot but I can't do this movement because of the splint.

I will keep you posted about how it goes.

Dec 02, 2011
Hi BGH - it's like this.... NEW
by: Glynnux

...on the 4th of October 2011 I had the same type of accident but had the implant. Really quickly I had fairly good movement of fingers and wrist with the cast on. After 2 and a half weeks at one in the morning I decided the cast was coming off. It had become quite loose and was irritating my stitches. It was a bit of a shock when it first came off. Your arm feels very strange. It's weak, vulnerable feeling and there is very limited movement. I thought the cast was the only restriction but that was no longer the case. You will experience some unusual pains (well I did anyway). There were pains that felt like my wrist was broken, like my forearm was fractured, like my tendons were torn. None of these were true. You will initially get stabbing pains from the slightest movement but I didn't feel the need for pain killers and at 1.30 am I was clumsily washing dishes with a minimum of help from the damaged arm.
I was a bit disappointed to find I'd been fooling myself that my wrist would rotate and I would be able to straighten my arm. Your shoulder and bicep will probably complain a bit too.
Today I can rotate my wrist approx 160degrees, my arm is nearly as straight as the other and I can just touch my shoulder.

For the person that noticed their finger nails had stopped growing you may want to ensure your diet is sufficient in calcium etc. The injury repair is demanding and possibly hogging your reserves. My nails still grew. I did get the dry palms but that resolved itself once I got my hand back into use.
We all have similar injuries and yet we're all quite different too. Some will have worse injuries, some will have better results. If I'd been aware of this site before I had my surgery I would have asked more questions about the possibility of having the head excised without having an implant to replace it.
Oh well, the best of luck to you all. :)

Dec 03, 2011
Left (non-dominant) radial head fracture NEW
by: Kathy 12/2/11

On 10/31 I fell down porch steps and my full weight landed on my left hand. I thought I broke my arm between elbow and wrist. ER said I broke my elbow, gave me a sling and had me f/u with ortho in 2 days. Ortho said I broke a piece of the radial head off and that he would have to do surgery to remove the bone fragment and smooth out the edges of the elbow. He said I don't need the portion that broke off. Surgery was 11/4.I was in a splint & sling for 2 weeks. 11/18 they removed the splint & said I should start movement of my arm. Started PT on 11/21, 3 days a week. They are the facts, now here is from my point of view. The break and not needing a cast for 6 weeks made me mistakenly think it was an easy and rapidly healing fracture - not so, at least not as far as the muscles are concerned. I asked the doctor after I had the splint removed if it was still considered fractured and he said no as the portion of bone was removed. I then asked him why it felt like it was still broke and he said because of the tendons and muscle in the arm and therefore the need for PT. I still have some swelling in the elbow, my wrist, and fingers but it is slowly decreasing. The swelling aids in the difficulty of ROM so I'm looking forward to no swelling at all to see how I do. As for PT, I started with very limited movement in fingers, wrist, arm and elbow. It has helped but they work in teams with a PT and a PT asst. The PT I saw the first day and I was with the asst. every day since then until today. My first session with the asst. made my arm ache like a really bad toothache for 2 days but it's been less painful afterwards since then. The PT is way less "careful" that the asst. with my stretches and pushes me until I feel like I can't take it anymore although I think it's probably more helpful in the end. I had very little movement when I started and it's improved quite a bit in the 2 weeks. Strength in my hand at this point is pretty much non-existant. One thing I'm lucky in is I have pretty much full shoulder movement so no problems in my uppper arm (other than feeling like that arm weighs a ton when I raise my arm). My 2 main ROM problem areas are: 1. wrist (not being able to do the motion of turning a doorknob) 2. elbow (can't touch the opposite shoulder). My finger movement has increased greatly as well as being able to get my arm to hang ALMOST straight at my side. Started some new exercises today that weren't fun but I can definitely feel the stretch so I'm optimistic of them working my muscles. They gave me some putty to work my fingers which has loosened them up and today my PT suggested I try some stretches in very warm water. Doing that, I was able to finally make a tight fist. She also suggested that I try using my left arm for more things. This post is the first time since 11/1 that I haven't typed 1 handed. Arm hurts some and my fingers are swelling up a little but I know I gotta keep pushing forward. Good luck to all with recovery.

Dec 07, 2011
Radial Head Fracture NEW
by: Ben Gossman

I fell off my bicycle and fractured my radial head. It has been two months since my fall and I am making good progress. I had to stretch my arm out with a lot of effort to straighten my arm. I went for physio, and then just stretches. I am doing weights (very light 3kg). I thought i would never get my arm straight, but the excercise has helped. I am doing semi-push ups, since I want to be able to do a full push up before I get on the bike again. Lucky for me, I was just in a cast for about two weeks, and then a sling. It was very difficult for me at first to move my arm to straight. I was very determined to get my arm straight. When I wake up in the morning, it is usualy tight. I need to strech it out, and then it feels fine. If you did break your elbow, discuss with your doc when you can start movement. That is what made the biggest difference to me.

Dec 13, 2011
Second radial head fracture in 2 years... NEW
by: Sandra

I first fractured my left radial head in the fall of 2009 and entered extensive, expensive physio. It helped sort of. I then used the event to motivate me to get fit, at then age 56. Pilates was of great help and then I began yoga and twice weekly personal training. Last year I began running and was making good progress. This past Sunday I ran at a new-to-me indoor track and ended up planting my upper lip on the track and again fracturing my left radial arm. I am discouraged as I know the path back to health will be long. On the up side, I also know that health can be regained with persistence and excellent medical professionals like PTs and yoga instructors...
Best wishes to all who are similarly recouperating.
- Sandra

Dec 14, 2011
Fight through the pain! NEW
by: Nate

I fell on my arm two weeks ago and broke my radial head and after reading all of the scary comments on here, I worked crazy hard to get my range of motion back. I started doing at home pt 3 days after my injury and have almost my entire range of motion back.

For the first week of pt I REALLY pushed myself and had my fiance help me stretch out my arm. I cant remember anything hurting as bad as that first week of pt did, but I am happy that I pushed through the EXTREME pain and would recommend that anyone with this injury push themselves as hard as they can.

Right now I have no real issues moving my arm and should be able to start light strength training in a few weeks. However, I have developed a slight case of bursitis, which my doctor said is likely from pushing myself too hard, but in my mind a little bursitis is way better than not being able to move your arm.

Dec 27, 2011
RH fracture NEW
by: Hugo

Like most of u here i fell on an extended arm (left) on oct. 8th 2011 and ended up with that fustrating fracture. I was doing plyometrics (box jumps) at the gym and when i landed on the box i lost my balance and fell back. It has been very fustrating for me because at the tome i was in the best shape of my life as i was getting ready to compete in the sport of bodybuilding and to see all the muscle gain i had go to waist has been one of the most depressing experiences i have ever been through. I am about 2.5 months post injury and waiting to hit the 3 month mark to start weight lifting once again. I can now extend my arm to the 10 degree mark. Compared to my right arm which flexes to 135 im at 125 with the injured arm. I can now also do about 10 push ups before i start feeling pain. Ive been doing extending, flexing, and rotation of the arm movements everyday. I just hope that i can develop the strength and muscle i once had. Stay positive and dont give up guys, i wont!

Dec 28, 2011
Bilateral Colles fracture, muscle /nerve trauma NEW
by: Paul Meiners

On Sept 31/2011 I broke both lower arms (Colles' fractures) and the lunate bone in my right hand displaced from it’s normal location . The fractures resulted from a fall to my right side off a platform with a drop of 6 feet.
Luckily I had an an adrenaline dump which allowed me to extend my fingers and stop myself for a second before I relaxed them, which kept me from possibly breaking the upper right arm, my shoulder, and hitting my head.
Due to the adrenaline I had tremendous strength in the fingers for that second but the price was the muscles and nerves of the hand/arm/shoulder were traumatized; if I had not relaxed I would have ripped tendons and muscles. As a result of the trauma I had a burning sensation in both arms for >10weeks which was constant, allowing 1-4 hour, if any, of sleep per night. Oxycodone/Acetaminophen 5-325 did nothing, as did Advil and Tylenol. Just before the Christmas holidays the pain subsided, which was a most wonderful Christmas gift.
Main point, if anyone gets into a situation with possible muscle/nerve trauma, find a pain specialist if the initial pain lasts more then a couple weeks. My Orthopedist thought nothing of it.

Jan 05, 2012
update on my son's elbow NEW
by: Anonymous

Last August 17th my 24 year old sone fell on his extended arm and fractured three bones , he needed the radial head replacing and had a plate and six screws in . His physio has come to a halt as it now seems he needs the plate taking out , is this a major operation as with the first ?
Any advice would be great please .
Happy new year to you all also , hope 2012 will be good and prosperous :)

Jan 13, 2012
Never give up! NEW
by: Anonymous

Fractured my non dominant radial head falling from a 6' structure. I had no insurance, so just went to the ER and they put a splint on it, and gave me a sling. I was turned away from the ortho, due to no insurance, and no money, go figure.

I decided after self diagnosing my xrays, that it wasent displaced enough to be set or need surgery. BTW I'm not a doctor... After 2 1/2 weeks, and several concerns from friends of not going to the ortho, I went back to the ER this time in FLA where the ortho has to accept your referral from the ER. The Dr. took my splint off and told me that if it were his arm, he would not have recommended surgery initially, nor now. He asked me to turn my palm up, down, straighten and bend then sent me home to do my own PT.

It has been 3 1/2 weeks, and I do see improvement, although it hurts like crazy while performing the PT excercises. After reading a dozen of these posts it has encouraged me to work hard at the PT to gain 100% of my mobility back. Im posting this to encourage everyone out there with the same fracture to work hard, and never give up!

Jan 13, 2012
Fractured Radial Head NEW
by: Anonymous

Two weeks ago i fell while walking backwards. I tried to catch myself with my arm extended behind me causing my elbow to fracture. I don't have insurance and it's been in a splint since the day it happened. I remove it occasionally but it hurts so much when i turn my hand palm up..i can't even completely face my palm up without the pain. Is it safe to take it out of the splint and just use the sling?? I can't take being able to type with one hand anymore.... any suggestions??

Jan 13, 2012
Fractured Radial Head NEW
by: Anonymous

Two weeks ago i fell while walking backwards. I tried to catch myself with my arm extended behind me causing my elbow to fracture. I don't have insurance and it's been in a splint since the day it happened. I remove it occasionally but it hurts so much when i turn my hand palm up..i can't even completely face my palm up without the pain. Is it safe to take it out of the splint and just use the sling?? I can't take being able to type with one hand anymore.... any suggestions??

Jan 27, 2012
Radial Head Fracture NEW
by: chris b

This none sport related......
I fell 12ft from a leader while putting christmas lights up nov 12 2011...
When i fell the ladder slide down the wall i landed on top of the ladder still holding on to it..
When i tryed to get up i was like stuck to ladder
my hands wont let go of the ladder..
I manged to get up and open the door of my house some how..
I got in side the house and called for help...
My wife took me to the hospital....
As resolt of my fall i dislocated my left pointer finger and fractured the left elbow and destroyed
my right one as well...
Both were radail head fractures....
My casts were taken off on 29 dec 2011..
They told me that surgery was warrented...
And would probley not see any beter resolts...
As now i have had 10 home phyo vists...
My wrist dont work very well..
They go from parm down to thumbs up and my elbows are at 40 0/0....
Iam still waiting for the hospital to call hopefull for some more physo....
Is there any thing you can tell that mite help?

thanks chris b

Jan 27, 2012
Radial Head Fracture NEW
by: chris b

This none sport related......
I fell 12ft from a leader while putting christmas lights up nov 12 2011...
When i fell the ladder slide down the wall i landed on top of the ladder still holding on to it..
When i tryed to get up i was like stuck to ladder
my hands wont let go of the ladder..
I manged to get up and open the door of my house some how..
I got in side the house and called for help...
My wife took me to the hospital....
As resolt of my fall i dislocated my left pointer finger and fractured the left elbow and destroyed
my right one as well...
Both were radail head fractures....
My casts were taken off on 29 dec 2011..
They told me that surgery was warrented...
And would probley not see any beter resolts...
As now i have had 10 home phyo vists...
My wrist dont work very well..
They go from parm down to thumbs up and my elbows are at 40 0/0....
Iam still waiting for the hospital to call hopefull for some more physo....
Is there any thing you can tell that mite help?

thanks chris b

Jan 27, 2012
Radial Head Fracture NEW
by: Anonymous

This none sport related......
I fell 12ft from a leader while putting christmas lights up nov 12 2011...
When i fell the ladder slide down the wall i landed on top of the ladder still holding on to it..
When i tryed to get up i was like stuck to ladder
my hands wont let go of the ladder..
I manged to get up and open the door of my house some how..
I got in side the house and called for help...
My wife took me to the hospital....
As result of my fall, i dislocated my left pointer finger and fractured the left elbow and destroyed
my right one as well...
The doctors told me i was luck to be alive after a fall like that..
Both were radail head fractures....
My casts were taken off on 29 dec 2011..
They told me that surgery was not warrented...
And would probley not see any beter results...
As now i have had 10 home phyo vists...
My wrist dont work very well..
They go from hands down to thumbs up and my elbows are at 40 0/0....
Iam still waiting for the hospital to call hopefull for some more physo....
Is there any thing you can tell that mite help?
Iam doing basic exercise..

thanks chris b

Feb 09, 2012
Growth of new bone after Elbow Surgery NEW
by: Anonymous

In May 2011 I fell over a parking bumper and shattered my right elbow. I had an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF). I had months of very painful PT which eventually helped me up to a certain degree which prompted OT ( I couldn't turn my wrist all the way upward or downward. A visit to my orthopaedic surgery followed by x-rays revealed a new growth of bone between the two bones from the elbow to the wrist and hand. The doctor told me that it could be shaved off but it was very risky surgery and he would not recommend it. That it might get a little better but not much and I might not ever be able to move the wrist upward. I am beside myself with pain aside from the fact that I am a righty. Did anyone else have this problem?

Feb 10, 2012
Radial Head replacement NEW
by: sharon

Hi,in 2003 i was stood on a chair helping out a friend in a pub putting up Halloween decorations, next minute i was on the floor in agony. i went to the hospital and they said i had smashed my Radial Head on my right arm and a need a operation, they then made me wait two days for a replacement coming from Germany. I ad the operation and went for physhio, which in my eyes dint help. now after 9 years still not getting better i think its getting worse, my arm clicks , hurts when i turn my cars in my car, cant scratch my face properly cant put my hair up or even fasten my bra or fasten my neckalaces, carry anything heavy.even going to the gym puts me in more pain then a can imagine :( constant pain, now because of the clicking there saying they want t open up my arm to put in a plastic cap to stop the titanium clicking my bone away what a absolute nightmare, i just wish i never helped with those decorations now wasnt worth 20 pound .

Feb 17, 2012
radial head fracture update NEW
by: chris.b

As of feb.14 2012 i had 7 home vists from the pt of ultra sound and a few home excercises..
I started hospital physo 3 weeks ago iam on my
4th vist now...
I still have pain in left elbow and wrist..
Still very little movement from my left wrist..
My right elbow is not as pain full but do get a
lot off elbow noise..clicking....
My right wrist is not painfull as the left wrist ..
I see my surgeon next week for a second apinon..




Feb 27, 2012
Broken end of proximal radius NEW
by: Richard

I managed to shatter the end of my proximal radius putting my hand out in a fall.

it is in 3 pieces. I have had my arm in a cast for a week and it is now in a sling.

Other than having some pain when moving my hand i am having very little discomfort.

i have been to the doctor and i am now seeing a specialist in a weeks time. This is because there is some bone fragments loose in my arm.

I am confused now as he told me not to move the arm to much as the bone fragments may damage the soft tissue. He said though i have got to move it to stop is stiffening up. So how much movement is good movement and how much movement isn't?

Do i start moving it normally do i just listen to my body?

Mar 08, 2012
radial head fracture update march 8 2012 NEW
by: Anonymous

As march 8 2012 i had now 3 weeks of hospital physo....
My physo rep has ordered the dynasplint for my
2 arms hope to get full range of motion back in to
my wrists..
i seen my surgeon on feb. 6 he thinks i need a full radail head replacement...
Iam hoping for dynasplint to work for me...

chris banks update...

Mar 13, 2012
My recovery NEW
by: Jenny L

Fractured non dominant left elbow just over 4 weeks ago. Was kept in full cast for 3 weeks and was told to rest for another 3 weeks before PT as the fracture hadn't healed. Decided to start exercising gently. I swim for about 15 minutes each morning and try to use my arm as much as possible. I can touch my left ear and my mouth but still have a fair way to go to straighten my arm. I am 61 and have osteoporosis but I am happy with my progress. All women would understand the difficulty in dressing; yesterday I realised I had undone my bra without even thinking about it! What a breakthrough. Today I bought a packet of mini M&M's (lollys) and made sure I put them just out of reach so i had to stretch for them and then I ate them all one at a time using my left hand. Good therapy and tasty as well. Be positive and good luck.

Mar 13, 2012
Pain NEW
by: Jenny L

Several people without insurance commented on not knowing how much exercise to do and their high pain levels. My experience was I was immobilized for three weeks and when the cast was taken off I was put in a sling with my wrist as high as I could tolerate. I was in extreme pain and took the sling off the next day and had a dramatic improvement in movement and reduction in pain within the first few days. I find if I hold my hands together and bring them towards my face and then try to slide them down either side of my face as far as I can go without too much pain this seems to improve flexibility, I also lift my hands above my head palms together, do lots of "praying" style movements with my hands moving up, down sideways and rotating. I stretch my hands behind my back. I put my palms flat over my ears and flap my elbows back and forward. Gentle swimming is great. Pushing an exercise ball up as high up the wall as you can manage using both hands helps straighten my elbow. I have no medical knowledge but these have helped me.

Mar 15, 2012
ten years later NEW
by: Anonymous

I broke my radial head when I was about 21 the dr opted against surgery but my pt was me squeezing a basket or soft ball so I stopped going. Now I dnt know if that was smart im 32 now im still athletic and active and my arm still hurts at time to this day especially rainy days but today has been bad. I dropped a cup of coffee bc I could not support the weight of the cup. Also turning my palms down and up is simply excruciating. Think I need to go back to a dr ten years later or suck it up

Mar 15, 2012
ten years later NEW
by: Anonymous

I broke my radial head when I was about 21 the dr opted against surgery but my pt was me squeezing a basket or soft ball so I stopped going. Now I dnt know if that was smart im 32 now im still athletic and active and my arm still hurts at time to this day especially rainy days but today has been bad. I dropped a cup of coffee bc I could not support the weight of the cup. Also turning my palms down and up is simply excruciating. Think I need to go back to a dr ten years later or suck it up

Mar 15, 2012
ten years later NEW
by: Anonymous

I broke my radial head when I was about 21 the dr opted against surgery but my pt was me squeezing a basket or soft ball so I stopped going. Now I dnt know if that was smart im 32 now im still athletic and active and my arm still hurts at time to this day especially rainy days but today has been bad. I dropped a cup of coffee bc I could not support the weight of the cup. Also turning my palms down and up is simply excruciating. Think I need to go back to a dr ten years later or suck it up

Mar 15, 2012
ten years later NEW
by: Anonymous

I broke my radial head when I was about 21 the dr opted against surgery but my pt was me squeezing a basket or soft ball so I stopped going. Now I dnt know if that was smart im 32 now im still athletic and active and my arm still hurts at time to this day especially rainy days but today has been bad. I dropped a cup of coffee bc I could not support the weight of the cup. Also turning my palms down and up is simply excruciating. Think I need to go back to a dr ten years later or suck it up

Mar 21, 2012
radial head fracture NEW
by: bill

broke my radial head 4 days ago. i saw my ortho with a less than 5 minute appointment. he told me he was going to start agressive therapy to try and regain full rom. He asked if i ad tried to move it at all. I told him that i took a nice waarm bath and it made my arm feel great so i tried to make it move as much as i could." it hurt like hell but by day 2 i had regained 50 percent of over all movement. day 4 and i am up to 75 percent of rom. i am employing every tool around with extreme pain put exponential benifits. i had my wife twist my arm "who was happy to accomodate that request with 100% success forced full rotation. And my kids can't stop lining up to laugh at dad as he screams when they push his arm for full extension. but day 4 and i have about 20 more degrees for full and the swelling is not even gone. typeing two handed and twisting sippy cups for a 4 and 2 year old. I have been told that it will not get there without extreme amounts of pain and it is most likely that i may never see it at 100 percent but that doesn't mean that i can't try.

Mar 28, 2012
radial head injury NEW
by: Anonymous

i completley shattered my radial head and also broke my ulna bone when i fell with my grandaughter, that was in august 2011, i had surgery straight away , i got a replacment radial head, and also a cage put in to prtect the radial head i now im back at my work, and i manage most thing but still have stiffness in my arm alot but it does get better with time,i have not full use of my arm but i have no pain now, with time and effort it does get better.

Apr 03, 2012
3months on NEW
by: Pete B

Hi. I had a displaced fracture of my radial head on 30th Dec 2011. A great new year present. I fell on an out stretched hand and knew that it was broken straight away. After fair few trips to the hospital and having blood drained from the break, I was then operated on and had two screws inserted and a nice 4" scar. The pain after the accident was excruciating although this has started to ruduce considerably 3 months on! I initially could not touch my face, do a tie up, straighten my arm past approx 35 degrees or rotate my wrist. For those of you searching for recovery info about these breaks I have found that the best physiotherapy has been to use the arm as much as possible.

Rotation of the wrist is now just about complete although this has only really come about in the last 3 weeks. I can now touch my face and do my top button up. Although I am still approx 2" away from being able to touch my shoulder. The two areas of concern I have are the arm extension as this hasn't improved at all since having the cast off after 3 weeks. I have been told that this is something that I will have to deal with. Bang goes my golf game. Secondly I really struggle putting any pushing weight onto my radial head such as a push up etc. I don't feel I could support my weight at all.

So in conclusion, I was very pessimistic about my recovery initially and I have to say that it does get better. I will never straighten my arm again but you get to come to terms with this. The pain does get better , although I still suffer occasionally . If you've gone through this or you have just experienced this injury, it is a nasty one ther is no hiding it but if there was not displacement or surgery you will get better a lot quicker. For those who have had had a displacement then be patient it will get better!!!!!!

Apr 03, 2012
3months on NEW
by: Pete B

Hi. I had a displaced fracture of my radial head on 30th Dec 2011. A great new year present. I fell on an out stretched hand and knew that it was broken straight away. After fair few trips to the hospital and having blood drained from the break, I was then operated on and had two screws inserted and a nice 4" scar. The pain after the accident was excruciating although this has started to ruduce considerably 3 months on! I initially could not touch my face, do a tie up, straighten my arm past approx 35 degrees or rotate my wrist. For those of you searching for recovery info about these breaks I have found that the best physiotherapy has been to use the arm as much as possible.

Rotation of the wrist is now just about complete although this has only really come about in the last 3 weeks. I can now touch my face and do my top button up. Although I am still approx 2" away from being able to touch my shoulder. The two areas of concern I have are the arm extension as this hasn't improved at all since having the cast off after 3 weeks. I have been told that this is something that I will have to deal with. Bang goes my golf game. Secondly I really struggle putting any pushing weight onto my radial head such as a push up etc. I don't feel I could support my weight at all.

So in conclusion, I was very pessimistic about my recovery initially and I have to say that it does get better. I will never straighten my arm again but you get to come to terms with this. The pain does get better , although I still suffer occasionally . If you've gone through this or you have just experienced this injury, it is a nasty one ther is no hiding it but if there was not displacement or surgery you will get better a lot quicker. For those who have had had a displacement then be patient it will get better!!!!!!

Apr 09, 2012
question about a very old injury NEW
by: Anonymous

I fractured my radial head 14 years ago, and it probably took 6 years to be mostly pain free. I recently started playing violin again, and after three days of playing it feels like it did right after I broke it. My supination is extremely limited, and I can't touch my earlobe with my left hand or do much in the way of bending or extension. I am reluctant to go back to the orthopedist as I don't have insurance. I am hoping it will go away on its own when the inflammation goes down, and that I didn't do any actual damage. Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Apr 10, 2012
Recovery NEW
by: JennyL

I posted mid March and am now about 9 weeks post injury. I think I have had a good recovery. Although it is a strain I can touch my shoulder, I can lift with my injured arm and can straighten to about 95%. I constantly exercise my arm, I do stretches and bends, rotate, lift weights, swim etc. Anything that will help I am willing to try.

Regarding the person who is suffering after playing the violin, I'm sure the pain is due to using the arm at an angle it is not used to. Maybe taking pain medication and persevering might help you to get the movement back. Good luck.

Apr 13, 2012
Big boo boo! NEW
by: Anonymous

Fractured my radial head, olecranon, and the coronoid process on jan 30, 2012. Wasn't too bad cause it didn't need surgery. Was placed in a hinged brace for 4 weeks. March 2 went to dr everything looked great was told to start PT 3x a week. Went back to dr 2 weeks later was told I needed to straighten my arm or he was going to do surgery to fix it...had problems straightening it but not bending..Anyways, so I pushed my self hard to get it going. March 16 I ran into the wall injuring my arm. It was bruised but I could move it..took the dog out for a walk later that evening only to step into a small hole in the grass and tumbled and landed on my arm..was in terrible pain. Went to urgent care, they said it looked bad, DAMN IT! So I went back to my ortho and was told to get a ct scan. Got my ct scan last week, looked bad dr wants to do surgery on it..total radial head replacement. BOO! I have surgery scheduled for next week. Scared shitless. It's been too long ready to be done with this arm..going on 3 months with it being broken. Wish me luck!

Apr 17, 2012
RADIAL HEAD FRACTURE NEW
by: SHERRY

I AM IN WEEK 4, I CAN TURN MY HAND OVER WITH NO PAIN BUT AM STUCK IN A 30 DEGREE ANGLE. I CAN BEND IT UPWARD ALL THE WAY BUT CAN NOT STRAIGHTEN
SOOOOO MUCH PAIN WHEN I ATTEMPT THIS. AM I GOING TO BE STUCK LIKE THIS FOREVER> IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO PUT A SHIRT ON. I HAVE VERY WEIRD
LUMPS UNDER MY SKIN JUST BELOW THE ELBOW. IS THAT AT ALL NORMAL? WHEN I BROKE IT I HAD WAY WAY MORE PAIN IN MY FOREARM AND WRIST. THEY XRAYED 2 TIMES AND NOT BROKEN ONLY THE RADIAL HEAD WAS BROKEN, THAT BREAK ITSELF NEVER REALLY CAUSED ME ANY PAIN. I STILL HAVE FOREARM PAIN AND MY ELBOW FEELS LIKE IT NEEDS TO POP, LIKE A JAMMED TOE( YOU KNOW HOW THAT FEELS) THAT IS HOW MY ELBOW FEELS<<<,ANYONE>>>IS THIS NORMAL. THANKS

Apr 17, 2012
Coronoid fracture only diagnosed 4 weeks after injury NEW
by: Anonymous


Six weeks ago I was at ice skating and got knocked backwards and landed onto an outstretched straight arm, the pain was excrutiating down my entire forearm and into my wrist.
My Husband is a specialist surgeon and because I could move it after a couple of minutes, said it was OK. The pain in my elbow kept me awake the entire night and I could not lift my arm or bend or extend it. I phoned the orthopedic surgeon ( collegue of hubby) who told me to get xrays and come to his rooms to see him. This I did and he told me there was no fracture, checked to see if I could supinate and pronate my arm and suggested R.I.C.E and physio and that was the consult.
I went straight to the physio's rooms where I endured 30 minutes of agony and then went home to find a sling to rest my arm.
My hubby was fed up with me mentioning my elbow all the time and told me to go back to the Orthopod which I did. I had more xrays which were still negative.
Now being thoroughly fed up with the fact that nobody seemed to be taking my pain seriously I started researching on the internet and decided that I needed an MRI. So I had a third appointment, this time the ortho was totally unsure as to what was going on with my arm as it was 4 weeks after the initial injury which he thought was just a squashed fat pad. So fortunately he suggested an MRI.
Turned out I had a fracture of the coronoid process of the olecranon with extension into the joint space with significant joint effusion.There was oedema at the level of the insertion of the brachialis tendon into the coranoid process and extensive bone bruising. The orthopod phoned me that evening and said "Oh you weren't imaging it you do have a fracture" as you can imagine I wasn't too impressed with that comment and then he said just rest it and see me in two weeks time and we may re xray it.
I made an appointment for Thursday this week because I still cannot support my arm if I hold it out straight to the side and I cannot hold a phone to my ear, etc, much like other people who have had radial fractures. It has also started clicking and locking and on the opposite side to your funny bone I have a long hard lumpy thing that seems to stop the arm from straightening as its so painful.
Isolated coronoid fractures are extremely rare and usually present with the terrible triad, so i am still concerned that there is more damage than has shown up on the MRI, but its awkward to question the DR especially as he is a collegue of my husbands. Has anyone else had an isolated # like this? I 56yrs old.


Apr 19, 2012
Radial head fracture NEW
by: Anonymous

In response to radial head fracture query...my physio explained that when a fracture is healing new spongy bone grows on the fracture site which is why you get thickening of the joint. If your body creates too much bone it restricts your ability to straighten your arm. A large number of people never get to fully straighten their arm because of this.
Some people need surgery to remove some of the new bone growth so the joint can move more freely.
At 4 weeks post injury my movement was very limited but it improved quickly. I would suggest you do your exercises and if it is still bad in another 4 weeks get it checked out.

To the surgeons wife...I bet you enjoyed saying "told you" to your husband and the ortho. All i know is even minor elbow fractures are painful and take time. Good luck with your recovery.

Apr 19, 2012
Radial head fracture NEW
by: Anonymous

In response to radial head fracture query...my physio explained that when a fracture is healing new spongy bone grows on the fracture site which is why you get thickening of the joint. If your body creates too much bone it restricts your ability to straighten your arm. A large number of people never get to fully straighten their arm because of this.
Some people need surgery to remove some of the new bone growth so the joint can move more freely.
At 4 weeks post injury my movement was very limited but it improved quickly. I would suggest you do your exercises and if it is still bad in another 4 weeks get it checked out.

To the surgeons wife...I bet you enjoyed saying "told you" to your husband and the ortho. All i know is even minor elbow fractures are painful and take time. Good luck with your recovery.

Apr 19, 2012
The coronoid fracture person NEW
by: sueffun

Hi to annon
Haha, yes I so enjoyed telling them I was right and they were wrong, I was very polite about it to the Orthopedic surgeon though and he took it well. I sort of joked about the fact that if you are related to a Doctor, something will even be very rare or something will go wrong and he agreed with me. So he was very guarded in his treatment plan in so much as i must carry on with physio and exercises (he told me to rest it lol)and that if it was still clicking and cluncking in 6 months I may need to have an arthroscope to see if there was any cartilage floating about. But I guess he isn't keen on operating on me in case something goes wrong.
Thanks for your response, its nice to get a bit of feedback and I think this is an excellent source of information. (think I should recommend it to my Dr !!!!! :) )


Apr 21, 2012
Shattered dominant radial head into 4 pieces, 5mm displacement, ORIF w 5 screws, VERY limited rotation of forearm. NEW
by: Anonymous

I fell down a 3m bank onto outstretched arm while mountainbiking and badly shattered my right (dominant) elbow and badly sprained my right ankle.

My elbow was smashed into 4 separate pieces which were displaced half a centimetre. I got ORIF surgery on my elbow and they managed to screw all the bits back together then screw that back onto the radius bone - 5 screws in total in a tiny wee area.

I had a cast on for two weeks then was in a sling for 6 weeks (although I rarely wore it as the physio said to let my arm hang.) No lifting or using my right arm at all during this time and no physio as the repair to the bone was so fragile.

I have regained some movement in my elbow - extension at a guess is 30 degrees off straight and flexion about 20 degrees off. However I can't really rotate/ pronate / supinate my forearm AT ALL! Only about 5 degrees rotation. The doctor doesn't know why as it could rotate after surgery... He said it may be due to a screw that has come out slightly or soft tissue has attached itself to the bone which is preventing it from turning. It feels like a mechanical block.
I'm pretty worried I'll never get that rotation movement back. They might need to do surgery again to see what is going on. Has anyone else experienced this?

Apr 23, 2012
Ulner nerve and pinky NEW
by: Mary

I have spent hours reading these comments. Thanks so much. I tripped while hiking in the mountains on November 9th (leaves covered up a root of a tree). I have most of my extension, and I am still working on my flexion (around 130). My problem is not pain, but my ulner nerve affecting my pinky, ring finger, and sometimes the side of my hand. (I am still going to therapy and doing home therapy). My little finger is starting to bend. How concerned should I be about this happening. I go back to the doctor in two weeks. I wish (and pray) the best for all of you.

Apr 23, 2012
Ulner nerve and pinky NEW
by: Mary

I have spent hours reading these comments. Thanks so much. I tripped while hiking in the mountains on November 9th (leaves covered up a root of a tree). I have most of my extension, and I am still working on my flexion (around 130). My problem is not pain, but my ulner nerve affecting my pinky, ring finger, and sometimes the side of my hand. (I am still going to therapy and doing home therapy). My little finger is starting to bend. How concerned should I be about this happening. I go back to the doctor in two weeks. I wish (and pray) the best for all of you.

Apr 24, 2012
8 months on.. NEW
by: Anonymous

Hello to all, this site is a welcomed revelation.
In brief, accident August 2011, radial head replaced after tripping when on a camping trip.
Eight months in and seem to have only just realised the magnitude of this injury. Recovery ongoing, extension 10 degrees from full, and bend close to 140. Am struggling with pain, but mostly the lack of support and information available to make sense of it all. Consultant has informed me that my replacement may have moved ........... There seems no end to it all.
Anyone UK based??

Apr 24, 2012
Bi-laternal Colles fractures NEW
by: Paul Meiners

Seven months after the fractures I count myself extremely lucky. My hands still lack flexibility/ lack strength, pain is minimal but I was very lucky not to have a skull/upper arm fractures.
I was in casts for over two months, and I wonder if surgery would have been the way to go. I lost so much muscle strength/flexibility, and could do very limited exercises with the casts on for so long. If I knew what I would go through, I would have sought a couple more opinions as to surgery or at least to the possible removal of the hard casts earlier, like in 5-6 weeks, supplemented with some form of soft cast for the remainder of healing time.
Another issue with the casts... I was in rather severe pain for 3 month due to swelling/nerve/muscle trauma, the casts made it so much worse. The first casts were too tight, which were replaced with fiberglass cast 2 weeks after the fractures, I should have had the initial casts replaced after a few days due to the swelling.
Did I mention how much I hate hard casts?

May 07, 2012
plate removal NEW
by: Jackie

This is an update on my son's elbow surgery from last August.
He is having the plate removed in July this year because it is restricting his recovery, please does anyone know how this procedure is done ?

May 27, 2012
non-displaced RHF NEW
by: Stephanie H.

Hi! I fractured my non-dominant RH 4.5 weeks ago on 24 Apr 12. It's a non-displaced fracture, thank goodness. I did a splint/sling for 2 weeks until my ortho appt. Now, I'm doing the sling when out in public (to help manage others' expectations as well as my own). I was instructed to do gentle stretches, attempting to get more ROM every day. Otherwise, no using it for another month. It has been pretty darn sore the last week or so. My goodness has this been pesky!! Doc says that the bone is healing well, but it's not solidified yet, thus the gentle stretches. He seems pretty pleased so far. I guess I am, too. I can stretch it pretty well, and except for the stabbing pain occasionally, it is going about as well as I expected. Sleeping is still tough because it is hard to find a comfortable position each time I roll over. I use the prescribed vicodin when it hurts pretty bad.

The hardest part is the patience, but I'm working on that. :-) Stay strong and carry on!

May 30, 2012
Radial Head Replacement NEW
by: Anonymous

I am a 54 year old female. In late Februay I tripped and fell on a very broken up sidewalk while returning to my car. While approaching my car, I had my right hand in my coat pocket to use my keys to unlock my car door. After tripping on the uneven sidewalk I fell with all of my weight landing on my bent, right elbow, shattering my radial head. I had no other injuries. Seven days later I had radial head replacement surgery. By mid-March I started physical therapy. To all who are experiencing the same thing, keep at it. My progress has been slow, but steady. I have used splints for both extension and flexion and have had some success with both. Continue to exercise while not in therapy - it helps. My supination was never much of a problem, and flexion is good, but my extension remains troublesome. Right now I am -15 on extension and 126 flexion. I can do most anything I need to, and am continuing to work on strength exercises to be able return to my normal ability. Fortunately I seem to have no nerve damage. I feel extremely fortunate after reading may of your stories and completely understand the feelings of anxiety around "never being the same again". It can get disheartening. One interesting note - my progress was slow, but steady until about a week ago. I had an previously scheduled out of town commitment and was unable to attend physical therapy for a little over a week. When I returned, I had progressed more in that time than any other week since the beginning of therapy. Maybe a week off was just what was needed...I have two more weeks of therapy to go, but wil be sure to continue on my own.

Jun 02, 2012
chris.b update june 2012 NEW
by: Anonymous

This is update to the accident i had......

I fell 12ft from a leader while putting christmas lights up nov 12 2011...
When i fell the ladder slide down the wall i landed on top of the ladder still holding on to it..
When i tryed to get up i was like stuck to ladder
my hands wont let go of the ladder..
I manged to get up and open the door of my house some how..
I got in side the house and called for help...
My wife took me to the hospital....
As resolt of my fall i dislocated my left pointer finger and fractured the left elbow and destroyed
my right one as well...
Both were radail head fractures....
My casts were taken off on 29 dec 2011..
They told me that surgery was warrented...
And would probley not see any beter resolts...
As now i have had 10 home phyo vists...
My wrist dont work very well..
They go from parm down to thumbs up and my elbows are at 40 0/0....
Iam still waiting for the hospital to call hopefull for some more physo....

It is june 2012....
I have gone through three months of physo and now iam back in again...
Its been a long battle to regain movement in my hands and arms...
I have gone thought 2 months of the dynospint on my hands..
It has give some movement back probley would not have regained without it....
Physo is the best soltion and lots of excercises....
I started with 3 pounds of weight now i can do 10lbs....

Alls i can say, its a long road to recover to get some equality of live back....
I have been off work now 7 months, and hoping to go back to work in july...
I feel sorry for anyone that has had to go though this........
For the first 3 months i was bed ridden and unable to lift a coffee cup and unable to feed myself....
It took 6 months for me to beable to shower without p.s.w assistants for basic bathroom needs...
So its been long battle to get a normal daliy routine back....
I was told it could take upto 2 years for anyone reach the maxium with hand and arm movement...
Every day i execise to keep everything moving....
And is there ever any end to the pain in the elbows.....?
So far iam still on medication for pain, i hope it will get better with time....

chris.b






Jun 20, 2012
radial head implant displaced after two surgeries NEW
by: Anonymous

I fell 7 weeks ago and shattered the radial head in my elbow, dislocated my ulnar and numerous as well as torn ligaments that did not heal. Already had two surgeries the first was a radial head replacement, which seemed to go really well., then after splinting for close to 5 weeks, I still had a very unstable joint, so second surgery to repair ligaments with a manipulation. During surgery the doctor said he was able to get my extention to 20° and my flexation to 130°. Then a week after surgery I had a sensation like a spring popping and my arm felt like someone hit my funny bone with a bat.

Back to the doctor and my radial head dislocated again. Doctor said not sure if another surgery is the answer, but my radial head is still dislocated and he wants me working on my flexation and extention but when I do it feels like bone rubbing on bone and at about 140 and 45 it feels locked. I guess I just would like to know if annulment else out there had anything similar happening with the dislocation of the radial head implant and how it was handled.

I am waiting to see an elbow specialist in sports injuries at the request of my orthopedic. Any advice out there, and thanks for listening!

Jun 20, 2012
radial head implant displaced after two surgeries NEW
by: Anonymous

I fell 7 weeks ago and shattered the radial head in my elbow, dislocated my ulnar and numerous as well as torn ligaments that did not heal. Already had two surgeries the first was a radial head replacement, which seemed to go really well., then after splinting for close to 5 weeks, I still had a very unstable joint, so second surgery to repair ligaments with a manipulation. During surgery the doctor said he was able to get my extention to 20° and my flexation to 130°. Then a week after surgery I had a sensation like a spring popping and my arm felt like someone hit my funny bone with a bat.

Back to the doctor and my radial head dislocated again. Doctor said not sure if another surgery is the answer, but my radial head is still dislocated and he wants me working on my flexation and extention but when I do it feels like bone rubbing on bone and at about 140 and 45 it feels locked. I guess I just would like to know if annulment else out there had anything similar happening with the dislocation of the radial head implant and how it was handled.

I am waiting to see an elbow specialist in sports injuries at the request of my orthopedic. Any advice out there, and thanks for listening!

Jun 20, 2012
radial head implant displaced after two surgeries NEW
by: Anonymous

I fell 7 weeks ago and shattered the radial head in my elbow, dislocated my ulnar and numerous as well as torn ligaments that did not heal. Already had two surgeries the first was a radial head replacement, which seemed to go really well., then after splinting for close to 5 weeks, I still had a very unstable joint, so second surgery to repair ligaments with a manipulation. During surgery the doctor said he was able to get my extention to 20° and my flexation to 130°. Then a week after surgery I had a sensation like a spring popping and my arm felt like someone hit my funny bone with a bat.

Back to the doctor and my radial head dislocated again. Doctor said not sure if another surgery is the answer, but my radial head is still dislocated and he wants me working on my flexation and extention but when I do it feels like bone rubbing on bone and at about 140 and 45 it feels locked. I guess I just would like to know if annulment else out there had anything similar happening with the dislocation of the radial head implant and how it was handled.

I am waiting to see an elbow specialist in sports injuries at the request of my orthopedic. Any advice out there, and thanks for listening!

Jun 20, 2012
radial head implant displaced after two surgeries NEW
by: Anonymous

I fell 7 weeks ago and shattered the radial head in my elbow, dislocated my ulnar and numerous as well as torn ligaments that did not heal. Already had two surgeries the first was a radial head replacement, which seemed to go really well., then after splinting for close to 5 weeks, I still had a very unstable joint, so second surgery to repair ligaments with a manipulation. During surgery the doctor said he was able to get my extention to 20° and my flexation to 130°. Then a week after surgery I had a sensation like a spring popping and my arm felt like someone hit my funny bone with a bat.

Back to the doctor and my radial head dislocated again. Doctor said not sure if another surgery is the answer, but my radial head is still dislocated and he wants me working on my flexation and extention but when I do it feels like bone rubbing on bone and at about 140 and 45 it feels locked. I guess I just would like to know if annulment else out there had anything similar happening with the dislocation of the radial head implant and how it was handled.

I am waiting to see an elbow specialist in sports injuries at the request of my orthopedic. Any advice out there, and thanks for listening!

Jun 24, 2012
need your opionion please NEW
by: Anonymous

Last Monday afternoon i was moving a large very heavy wooden/metal slide onto an elevated shelf in the garage when it fell on my extended dominent forearm, right above the elbow. Initially, there was a slight abrasion where the slide hit the arm, it was not very painful...I was able to fix lunch and get 5 kids ready and take them to the pool. While watching the kids play my arm became more and more painful, swelling and finally got to the point that I couldn't move it and was close to crying from the pain, I tried putting ice on it, that seemed to make it worse. I got someone to drive me to the ER. There they took X rays and determined there was not a fracture to my forearm (what they initially thought was wrong) but the ER physisian said he thouht he saw a fracture to my radial head, they splinted my arm and put me in a sling. They asked that I follow up with an ortho doc within 2-3 days. We do not have health insurance, so NO ONE will see me. My arm has gotten worse, the pain is almost unbearable.. it is very hard to type....although I have some movement of my fingers and thumb which I didn't have initially, I can't pick up or hold anything, the entire inner forearm all the way to the wrist is bruised badley....along with the back of the elbow in several places, the swelling has gone down some, but the front of the elbow joint (where the slide fell on it) is still a swollen painful knot with no brusising at all. I thought if I kept it imobilized for a couple of weeks maybe it would heal on its own.. but the pain is almost unbearable... does this sound like a radial head fracture? Did anyone else experience this bruising in an area that didn't sustain any impact? After reading all of your notes I'mm thinking I definately need to be seen by a doctor, just not sure how.. I am a 50+ woman who has custody of severa; small children and a recently blinded husband, so we are financially challenged right now...making medical help scarce but my family needs my daily care... I need to use my arm for them.....any ideas what I should do? Could this be tendon damage instead of the radial head? I'm asking because of the weird brusing that has occurred. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can offer.

Jun 25, 2012
Coronoid # update with some advice to the "slide lady" NEW
by: Sueffun

To the lady who injured her arm with the slide, it sounds as if you could have a fracture and possible ligament damage like you would get in a car accident if hit from the side. I would definitely try and see someone, do not immobilize it for longer than a week as it will stiffen up. If you have ligament damage as well it may need to be repaired, the sooner the better.

I had a coronoid # 16 weeks ago and I still cannot put any weight on my arm, I can't even hold a cup of coffee up without using two hands. My physio says my radial nerve has been squashed as my elbow was hyperextended when i fell. I reckon a lot more got squashed as well. I am now taking very strong painkillers. My shoulder on the same side is starting to be painful because I am using that more than my elbow and I have had two previous surgeries on that and just to add to my woes because I am using my left arm so much I have developed an extremely painful DeQuervains tendinitis in my thumb and have to have it splinted, so I am not doing very well in the orthopedic department.

Jun 25, 2012
Coronoid # update with some advice to the "slide lady" NEW
by: Sueffun

To the lady who injured her arm with the slide, it sounds as if you could have a fracture and possible ligament damage like you would get in a car accident if hit from the side. I would definitely try and see someone, do not immobilize it for longer than a week as it will stiffen up. If you have ligament damage as well it may need to be repaired, the sooner the better.

I had a coronoid # 16 weeks ago and I still cannot put any weight on my arm, I can't even hold a cup of coffee up without using two hands. My physio says my radial nerve has been squashed as my elbow was hyperextended when i fell. I reckon a lot more got squashed as well. I am now taking very strong painkillers. My shoulder on the same side is starting to be painful because I am using that more than my elbow and I have had two previous surgeries on that and just to add to my woes because I am using my left arm so much I have developed an extremely painful DeQuervains tendinitis in my thumb and have to have it splinted, so I am not doing very well in the orthopedic department.

Jun 26, 2012
Bilateral Colles fracture update NEW
by: P Meiners


"Could this be tendon damage instead of the radial head?"
Could be some internal nerve\tendon\muscle damage along with a fracture. I would definitely have it checked out again. If you get the same answer from the doctor, get a second opinion.

As to my Colles fractures, after 9 months (of worrying and exercise, mostly worrying),I have most of the use my of my hands back with little pain except on heavy flexing. I expect to get full flex extension after MUCH exercise.

Have faith people, initially It took both my hands to pick up a small set of keys (4 ounces), could not hold a pen, use a computer mouse, or sleep more then 2 hours a day(3 months) due to the burning sensation, flex was about 10% of original ability, etc.
Exercise is so important, but at times you wonder if does any good.. do not get discouraged. Measure your progress in a MONTH, not in a day or a week.

Jun 28, 2012
need advice NEW
by: Jill

I have a right radial fracture from crashing onto my elbow from a fall on my bike June 21st 2012. They put me in a splint that cut into my fingers, so I was recasted this past Monday. However, my fingers continue to swell get cold, get very hot at night. I am feeling lots of buzzing in my arm too. Not sure if the cast is helping or hurting at this point. Trying to get someone at the ortho dr to see me or return my call. Are these sensations to be expected with this type of injury? Any advice or opinion?

Jun 28, 2012
need advice NEW
by: Jill

I have a right radial fracture from crashing onto my elbow from a fall on my bike June 21st 2012. They put me in a splint that cut into my fingers, so I was recasted this past Monday. However, my fingers continue to swell get cold, get very hot at night. I am feeling lots of buzzing in my arm too. Not sure if the cast is helping or hurting at this point. Trying to get someone at the ortho dr to see me or return my call. Are these sensations to be expected with this type of injury? Any advice or opinion?

Jun 28, 2012
Re:Jill NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi Jill...I was diagnosed with a radial head fracture on 10/31/11 and had issues with swelling all the way down to my fingers right until I returned to work on 1/1/12. I'm not sure about the buzzing sensation unless it comes from the swelling but I would think your doctor would want you to start moving it very soon. These types of injuries shouldn't be immobilized for long periods of time as they tend to stiffen very quickly and the recovery process will be extended. Almost everyone is referred to see a PT and I highly recommend it - I didn't think I would need one but I know for a fact that I wouldn't have almost 100% of movement back if I hadn't gone to PT. It's a very tough injury - I've had a few broken bones before but nothing compared to the work I had to do to get back to normal after this injury. Good luck in your recovery and push through it.

Jun 29, 2012
How is it going Bill? NEW
by: Tuomas

I would love to hear how Bill´s very aggressive rehabilitation has gone? (Doing forced stretching after 4 days)

I flew over the handlebars and also have a fracture in my radial head (radius elbow). This happened yesterday. I have a little displacement on the fracture and the orthopedic surgeon said i need surgery after showing the x-ray to another surgeon too and it is now booked to next weeks Thursday. But it could have probably went either way.

I am thinking should i get another opinion. I am very active and need to get my hand back close to 100%. I weight lift, wrestle, box and need a strong working hand in my job as a bouncer.

Not sure which one is better for my hand. It´s day 2 and it does not hurt anymore all the time, no swelling and i can now turn my palms up and down normally with just a little pain. Cant touch my shoulder or get it straight but it moves pretty good. Doctor gave me a sling but told that i can move my hand around if it doesn´t hurt.

Thats why i think it could heal without surgery. I hate the idea of screws and plates inside me. But from what i have read it is still probably better to have the surgery if there is even a little displacement on the fracture.

I don´t know. This is driving me nuts. Stupid accident.

Best of luck to everybody and sorry for spelling,
Tuomas from Finland

Jul 01, 2012
Fractures NEW
by: Anonymous

Jill...

"However, my fingers continue to swell get cold, get very hot at night."

"I am feeling lots of buzzing in my arm too." . "Are these sensations to be expected with this type of injury?"

Buzzing in your arm is likely trauma to a nerve and will subside, burning sensation will also subside.
Mine lasted for 3 months. Burning sensation was the worst part of the whole experience. Swelling lasted over 3 months, swelling increased for 3 weeks; varies for everyone.
Try to get the hard cast off as soon as possible, or at least negotiate re-appling a (hard)cast which gives you more flexibility. Both my temp split and hard casts were too tight, had both re-done. I put up with tight hard cast as I had multiple fractures in my hands and wrist, and the casts provided pressure point for the fracture reductions.
The longer the hard casts are on, the more exercise you will need afterwards. Exercise as much as possible with the hard cast; it is astounding how much flexibility/ muscle loss/dexterity use can loss with a fracture. Overall the best advise is to get into a soft shell splint as soon as possible, and exercise.
As to exercise, I do not see exercising to the point of tears, but it will hurt, and you need to push yourself constantly, a bit more every day. If you have PT, and the provider is only giving you 5-10 minutes on a task or machine, it not going to do it, either find another PT source or supplement exercise at home.




Jul 24, 2012
90% healed for a while now NEW
by: Matt

Took a fall in a basketball game 3 1/2 months ago and had a non-displaced radial head fracture in my dominant arm (which makes playing basketball again very difficult). I had the typical pain and limited ROM for quite a while but the fracture healed fine and I've been in PT once or twice a week for about 6 weeks now. The problem is that I can't get a straight answer from my doctor or PT about when I can expect to be able to fully extend the joint again. I'm seeing improvement but with the pain almost gone, lots of PT, excercising/stretching on my own, ibuprofen, glucosimine, heat application and whatever else I can think of, it's just not taking that final step. I'm a relatively fit 42 year old guy with 2 kids and really want to be able to play golf, hoops, tennis and baseball with them again soon. Any more suggestions?

Jul 26, 2012
To Matt NEW
by: Mary

Your situation is most similiar to mine. You have actually made quicker progress than I have. I tripped over a root or stump on a Blue Ridge Parkway trail. The emergency room doctor said it would probably take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. (It only took 4). What he did not tell me was all the time it would take to get my range of motion back. Exactly 8 months after the fall, I was released from professional physical therapy; I had the option to continue. My physician thought that I was motivated enough to do the rest on my own. I agreed. I have talked to people who told me it took them about a year to get their range of motion back. I guess it will probably take me this long. The only suggestion I may add is to go to a massage therapist who specializes in neuromuscular therapy. I had severe ulnar nerve issues and my first neuromuscular therapist got me over this issue rather quickly. I actually saw a difference the first time I went to her. I didn't start going to her until about 4 or 5 months after the fall. I am now seeing a different one who has had a lot of success with range of motion. I've only been to her twice, but it does seem to be helping. I hope this information is some help to you.

Jul 26, 2012
To Matt NEW
by: Mary

The only suggestion I have is for you to see a neuromuscular therapist (in addition to your physical therapist). I had severe ulnar nerve issues; otherwise, our situations were most similiar. Although I waited almost 5 months to go to the the neuromuscular therapist, I saw a difference right away. I only had to go for a half an hour once a week for about 9 weeks. I will always be grateful for her getting me over the ulnar nerve issues; I hated it. I am now seeing a different neuromusclar therapist who is helping me with my range of motion (This is one of her "specialties"). I've only been to her twice, but I believe she is helping me. (Price range is 30.00 to 45.00 for a half hour. Both of these therapists said I only needed the half hour since they were only working on my elbow area. So far, it has been money well spent. A neuromuscular therapist is a massage therapist with extra training. I hope this information helps you and others.

Jul 30, 2012
Advice Please NEW
by: Claire

Hey all, i posted anonymously a whilst ago when I was quite down about my radial head replacement. It's now 10 months since my operation and movement has returned but I still struggle with extension in my elbow. Especially as i used to be hypermobile in my right arm. My question is, does anyone know of a elbow support or product that keeps heat in as when it rains in the UK I am in agony. The make shift leg warmer and heat pad is doing a good job but need something a bit better.
Recovery is long and painful and not many people understand the ongoing issues surrounding an injury of this nature but there is a ray of sunshine at the end of the tunnel.

Claire x

Jul 30, 2012
Claire asking about keeping heat in NEW
by: Mary (again)

If you can get the ThermaCare Heat wraps (come in a red box) they are excellent. A little on the pricey side, but watch for specials, extra one free etc. I get the Neck, Wrist and Shoulder wrap, and it adds heat to the inside and outside of my elbow. I try to do home therapy three times a day. Although I take the wrap off, I save it. It stays warm throughout the day...even longer than 8 hours. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to heat up, but it really makes a diffence. I don't have pain, but it gives me a better stretch when doing my therapy.

Aug 13, 2012
Terrible Triad Dislocation;Comminuted Radial Head NEW
by: Debi

I am here searching for folks with similar experience, because, Misery loves Company! Seems many here have had radial head replacement. I fell from a curb to paved street 7/11/2012. I fell on my Lt elbow, hard. The xray showed the complete dislocation, a comminuted (spiral and fragmented) radial head fracture. I had conscious sedation and the dislocation was reduced, closed. I had to see an orthopedic surgeon...a week later. I saw her 7/17/12; she scheduled me for radial head replacement 7/19/12. The surgery, she said, has good results, and the prosthesis should last me for the rest of my lifetime. She did say when she got in she found I had the "terrible triad". That is, in addition to the complete dislocation, and radial head fracture, I had fracture of the coronoid process of the ulna. I had torn ligaments and tendons. I also had a wrist dislocation that was closed reduction. She said she had taken my elbow through full range of motion, and it had held. I was again in a splint, ace bandages, and sling. I spent the next week and a half icing, propping up my hand on pillows. I cold not get the swelling to let up. Follow up was 7/31/12. She removed the stitches, put me back into a splint, and told me to start rehab. I began rehab 8/3/12. I had gone 3 times, and have been in the damnable splint except when excercising until my second follow up with surgeon 8/10/12. On that day my surgeon told me she thinks I should be further along in my ROM (I was doing flexion and extension only per HER instruction of 7/31.) Suddenly she is telling me I can do ANYTHING but I will have to push through the pain..and she wants me to go to a hand therapist. I am confident with my therapist, I am improving. I shucked the sling and splint after last Friday's (8/10/12) surgeon follow up. She then told me to wear the splint as little as possible- I'm just binding my elbow with the ace bandage when I drive. I started trying to do whatever I can with low pain that same day. I still cannot put my hair up. I cannot yet touch my face, but I did start trying to rotate with elbow bent 90 degrees. Today homework is to use a hammer, with my elbow supported on towels and arm extended off table. To help the flexion I am pressing fist to wall bent at elbow and lean into it with my body. I am determined to follow my therapist lead, and push myself to do WHATEVER is not terrible pain- slow deliberate stretching. My therapist also massaged my hand, wrist, arm,last week and swelling was a bit better, so I am doing that too.
And, still icing; about 4 -5 times a day. Best wishes to all- I have faith, determination, and I intend to keep working at it. I expect my body to take longer to heal. I have arthritis (shrug) so, I hope for the best.

Aug 17, 2012
it is one year today that my son had his elbow injury NEW
by: Jackie

My son fractured his elbow a year ago today, he had ORIF and a plate on his arm, he cannot fully extend his arm and he cannot swim either , he is due to have an assessment next week to see if he can have the plate and screws taken out ,but now he is having second thoughts, he spoke to someone who had plate and screws out and they said he would be in a pot for a few weeks to six weeks, my son dosen't want a cast on he hates them and he was under the impression that he wouldn't need it .
We are in the UK and it is the NHS who have been taking care of my son.

Has anyone had this done here in the UK if so what should he expect please.

To all of you who had the operation my thoughts are with you , this injury is horrendous so i hope you all recover well .

Aug 24, 2012
Continued pain in elbow, some gain in ROM NEW
by: Debi

I am happy to report I am now typing using my left hand with my right after the terrible triad dislocation (7/11/12)and radial head replacement (7/19/12), having begun rehab therapy in early August. I am at 22 degrees extension and 117 degrees flexsion. The movements I have been doing daily, going to rehab two days a week. (I described them in my earlier post. My fingers are still somewhat swollen, as is the wrist from the wrist dislocation. I cannot make a tight fist, but my fingers do curl to touch my palm. There is serious loss of grip strength. My elbow, of course, is the most problematic, but I have new joys each day as I am able to do small feats as I regain little by little supination and rotation. I can slowly bring my left hand to my face and touch my ear with my index finger. I can put up my hair, put dishes away in high cupboards, close the driver side door with my left hand. I successfully cooked an omelet and tilted the non stick skillet well enough to slide it out onto a plate. But, my limits because of unbearable pain are: I cannot close a door with my left hand; I cannot do the grip and twist motion of disconnecting the vacuum cleaner wand more than a few times, I cannot brush my hair with left hand past ear level in back, nor reach the left side of my head at all. I have constant pain at the bottom of my elbow and forearm for about 3 inches and on top of the outer side of the elbow and forearm if I press those areas lightly. Typing is a pulling sensation pain in the elbow. I hear crepitus sounds when extending the elbow. I go back to the surgeon for F/U 8/31/12. My therapist tells me I only have until about then to get the complete ROM back in this joint. I am wondering how long it will take before the joint can be used in weight bearing (like shutting the door, picking up a cast iron skillet). My house cleaning business in shot. I can't clean my own yet. One more thing that is unexplained, my blood pressure has been really high ever since the accident. What used to be 117/72 is now 148/90. I'm going to give it another couple weeks, and then I am going to see my primary care physician to address it.

Aug 25, 2012
To Debi NEW
by: Mary

I've been told from people who have gone through this accident that ROM can take up to a year. Mine is still slowing improving, and it's been almost 10 months. I still do home therapy two to three times a day. I was only released from professional therapy 7 weeks ago. My blood pressure also was way up. It is back to normal now. I thought it was from taking a lot of Ibuprofen, but I really do not know.

Aug 25, 2012
It gets better! NEW
by: Stephanie H.

I had a non-displaced RHF in my left arm from a fall off my bicycle at the end of April. After no use (just stretching) for 9 weeks, I started to work back to doing pushups and such. Yesterday, I managed 20 pushups!

Occasionally, it's a bit stiff (especially in the morning), but it has gotten much, much better. I went from not being able to hold a full cup of coffee to doing 20 pushups!

This one takes a long time to heal, but it's getting there!

Aug 29, 2012
extension, flexion, pronation, supination NEW
by: Debi

Several queries about regaining these ROM. First, I don't know if everyone has gone to physical rehab, but it is so helpful. These are the PASSIVE ways my rehab therapist has me doing these:
Extension: Place folded hand towel under elbow having elbow at edge of table. Sit in chair and keep elbow close to body, and place weight (2.5 lbs) just above wrist on forearm. Can put warm compress on the joint to help. Let it be pulled by gravity for 5 minutes. Do twice a day.
Flexion: Make fist (mine is still a loose fist)and place against wall. Keep elbow close to body. Lean body into arm, hold for a half minute and work up to one minute. Start with doing a few and try to work up to 10, slowly leaning in, stop at point of pain, wait a few seconds and see if you can press a little further. When you break from this movement, straighten arm and give light shake to relieve stress.
Pronation and supination: Sit in chair with firm arms that are right for elbow to rest on, at home my computer chair is perfect. Pad under elbow with folded hand towel. Hold a weight about a half a pound to start- I got my husband to tape two wrenches together. Place the wrench standing straight up in hand- allow arm to roll forward by the gravity of the wrench pulling it. When it goes as far as it will hold it there for one minute. Use your good hand to put the weight back upright. Allow your hand to roll the opposite direction with the weight until it goes no more, then hold for one minute. Start with three each direction and work up to more as you can. Also, typing helps with supination. I hope this helps someone.
It has helped me greatly. Go gently. Do not push through pain. Stop at point of pain. Oh, and my therapist did not want me doing ACTIVE movements until I had made some gain with the Passive movements. God bless!

Aug 29, 2012
To Debi NEW
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing. We need all the help we can get.

Sep 02, 2012
When will the pain go away? NEW
by: Bobbi

I fell off mu Bike 3 weeks ago. I Do not have health care and thought, Ive never broken anything ever, I must have just sprained my wrist and elbow. After 1 1/2 weeks, the pain seemed to be getting worse. I had been icing it and trying to keep it still. I finally went to my Chirop who does sports medicine and he thought it was a a radial head fracture, xray confirmed.

He told me it would not require a cast, no real need to splint or sling it. Said I should keep it mobile so scare tissue wont build up. Said 8week to heal. No biking and no using it to lift anything(like I could)

I still have a good amount of pain. In the bend thru the forearm and into wrist. I am still icing it, and wonder how long will the pain last? Some days it is worse than others.
Most of the severe bruising and swelling is gone but still have bruises and the back of my elbow is still a little swollen. Plus I get a lot of pain in my wrist. Is this normal? I have to do alot on data entry and wonder is it is aggravating it more.

I'm sooo over this! I want to get back outside on my bike! Indoor trainer is no fun.

Sep 03, 2012
To Bobbi from Debi NEW
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry, Bobbi, that you have had this accident, and that you have no health insurance. I do have insurance, through my husband's work. You can scroll back and see where my posts start (Debi-comminuted radial head fracture, complete dislocation, and radial head replacement) If you had no dislocation whatsoever, and if your radial head fracture is in proper position I can tell you from my own research normal healing time varies by your age and the complexity of your injury. I am still going to physical therapy. Please understand if you have pain it is because you are not healed! Before you can ever resume normal activity, you must first regain as close to normal range of motion, then strength close to your uninjured arm. When you have THAT without pain, then you resume normal activity. I have described in earlier posts the exercises my PT has given me; please look those up. Do not "push thru pain". STOP at the point of pain. Work to do one set of 10 of each. If you cannot do 10 do 5, work up to 10. Do them daily. Treat with ice before as long as you have swelling. Treat with ice after exercises always. Using bags of frozen peas or mixed vegetables, place into a dry pillowcase so you have a layer of fabric between the bag and your skin. Leave it for 10 minutes, never more than 20 minutes. I have finally reached normal range of motion, I am now working on strength ( and still doing the range of motion exercises) I will likely take longer than you to recover, because, number one, I had surgery and a radial head replacement. Number two, I am 58 years old. But, what I do know is bone takes a while to heal, and even after it is healed, it does not have its original strength for quite a while. Pain is your guide to what is safe to do. The pain may be present for quite a long time. Thank God that He gives us this limitation to insure we do not over stress the joint. One does not want to cause further injury! You may have also had a wrist dislocation with the elbow injury, I did. Or it may just be a sprain involving muscles and ligaments. Even so, you do not want to injure them further. If you have pain in your wrist, the exercises you first need to perform are PASSIVE. Use your good hand to take your injured wrist through range of motion. Grasp your hands together and using your good hand press your hand upward, hold 5 seconds, rock your hand slowly to the left, hold 5 sec, rock to the right hold 5 sec. Let go and drop your hand down. Put gentle pressure against your hand up near the wrist with the heel of your palm of your good hand and hold 5 sec. Do these to help get your wrist back into shape. Remember stop at point of pain. Once you start doing this you will get a little better daily. No need to do more than 10 at a time. Just be consistent. Ss you can do the exercises, do them with active and passive range of motion. 10 of each. Best wishes. God bless!- Debi

Sep 03, 2012
To Bobbi NEW
by: Debi

Whether the data entry is causing more harm than good depends on how much of it you are doing. If you are able to do it, you likely have been able to pronate and supinate (twist) your forearm okay. I have found that I am able to get a little better each day, but I am just on the computer a little while each day. The movement of typing is certainly taxing the muscles where they attach at the forearm. If you have increased time, try backing off a bit, continue with treating with ice. Do not press thru pain that feels significant. A discomfort is one thing. Increasing pain in an activity is telling you to STOP!

Sep 03, 2012
To Bobbi from Stephanie NEW
by: Stephanie H.

I had some pain in my wrist as well, but no actual injury to my wrist. I think it was referred from my elbow.

It took a long time, almost that full 9 weeks of no use, to get to the point where it didn't hurt from simple movements. I had been doing almost the exact same things that Debi described. I was not prescribed physical therapy, and while I was worried about that at first, I am almost back to full strength working on my own. I have definitely taken the recovery conservatively and have "listened to the pain" to let me know when to quit.

It's definitely a frustrating injury, but with a little patience, you'll be back at it soon!

Sep 05, 2012
Pain, nd numbness NEW
by: Shelly a.

I fell getting about of the shower 12 weeks ago and broke my right radial head. I have pain every day and am unable to fully straighten my arm. I often get numbness in my right hand and wonder if it's related? When I went for my 8 week check up the x-ray looked the same as the first one on day one. I also have clicking and increased pain on straightening . My Otho doctor said I may or may or may not benefit from therapy and to see him again for possible surgery if the clicking and pain iare still there in 3 months. I am not sure I want to wait and start over with the recovery process in three months. What would you suggest? Should I be concerned about the numbness in my hand?

Sep 05, 2012
Pain, and numbness NEW
by: Shelly a.

I fell getting about of the shower 12 weeks ago and broke my right radial head. I have pain every day and am unable to fully straighten my arm. I often get numbness in my right hand and wonder if it's related? When I went for my 8 week check up the x-ray looked the same as the first one on day one. I also have clicking and increased pain on straightening . My Otho doctor said I may or may or may not benefit from therapy and to see him again for possible surgery if the clicking and pain iare still there in 3 months. I am not sure I want to wait and start over with the recovery process in three months. What would you suggest? Should I be concerned about the numbness in my hand?

Sep 05, 2012
Pain, and numbness NEW
by: Shelly a.

I fell getting about of the shower 12 weeks ago and broke my right radial head. I have pain every day and am unable to fully straighten my arm. I often get numbness in my right hand and wonder if it's related? When I went for my 8 week check up the x-ray looked the same as the first one on day one. I also have clicking and increased pain on straightening . My Otho doctor said I may or may or may not benefit from therapy and to see him again for possible surgery if the clicking and pain iare still there in 3 months. I am not sure I want to wait and start over with the recovery process in three months. What would you suggest? Should I be concerned about the numbness in my hand?

Sep 05, 2012
Pain, and numbness NEW
by: Shelly A.

I fell getting about of the shower 12 weeks ago and broke my right radial head. I have pain every day and am unable to fully straighten my arm. I often get numbness in my right hand and wonder if it's related? When I went for my 8 week check up the x-ray looked the same as the first one on day one. I also have clicking and increased pain on straightening . My Otho doctor said I may or may or may not benefit from therapy and to see him again for possible surgery if the clicking and pain iare still there in 3 months. I am not sure I want to wait and start over with the recovery process in three months. What would you suggest? Should I be concerned about the numbness in my hand?

Sep 05, 2012
Pain, and numbness NEW
by: Shelly A.

I fell getting about of the shower 12 weeks ago and broke my right radial head. I have pain every day and am unable to fully straighten my arm. I often get numbness in my right hand and wonder if it's related? When I went for my 8 week check up the x-ray looked the same as the first one on day one. I also have clicking and increased pain on straightening . My Otho doctor said I may or may or may not benefit from therapy and to see him again for possible surgery if the clicking and pain iare still there in 3 months. I am not sure I want to wait and start over with the recovery process in three months. What would you suggest? Should I be concerned about the numbness in my hand?

Sep 06, 2012
Shelly A pain and numbness NEW
by: Debi

Shelly, I'd get a second opinion from another ortho. Or go ahead and make an appointment with rehab therapist and see whether he thinks the exercise can help it. Yes, the numbness is related, there is a nerve that runs through the joint. When I had my fracture I had to wait a week for the surgery, but I told my surgeon I had a somewhat numb feeling in my thumb. She said she would check it when she was in doing the surgery. When I came out of surgery, the thumb was no longer having the numbness. The pain lasts a while. My physical therapist asks me often if I feel any numbness or buzz, and I do not. Not all radial head fractures require surgery, but, if it's going to need surgery, like you, I'd want it sooner than later.

Sep 08, 2012
Radial Head Minor Fracture NEW
by: Chris

Hi, I got taken out by a blind driver on my scooter who cut me off. He didn't apologize and pretty much just told me to get well. Such is Life.

12 weeks ago. Surgeon is quite dull. Types a report out, sends me to therapy. Tells me to come back in some months. Apparently hes a brilliant surgeon.

I cant get any answers, but one I read here is exactly my case it seems.

I can turn my wrists fine, I can tie a tie.

I cant touch my shoulder by a good 2-3 inches if my hand is sideways from my shoulder. It seems the muscle holding my elbow together is incredibly tight as has a "don't force me or I'll give you pain for days" attitude.

I was as gym junkie before this, absolutely love it. Now, I'm stuggling to do pull ups, I have half the strength I had before, the nerve in my forearm and hand cause my arm to shake if i put pressure on it. I consider the No Pain No Gain approach, but it aggravates my injury. If I try to "punch" my right arm is near instant, and my left takes it sweet time, it wont extend and a 5 year old could dodge it, not that I'm interested in punching anyone.

Therapy says, Dont follow this path, It will take longer.

I have a cast I'm supposed to wear for at least 6 hours a night. It ruins my sleep, I take it off. Sleep is more important than my elbow it seems as I work early and job = money = food + rent.

I'm thinking, It might take a year or two or more to settle down. If the nerve settles I will be so happy just with that at this stage.

I'm preparing for a lifetime of problems with it, but I remain optimistic my arm will correct itself.

It seems to be in a "I'm happy here" stage with its "bent" deformed posture and dosent seem in any hurry to move.

Like others. I hate this stupid injury and I wish I could go back in time and move to the other side of the road.



Sep 08, 2012
Update coronoid # NEW
by: Sueffun

Its now 6 months since my coronoid # subluxion and its still not right. I went for a CT scan and the # has healed but the joint space is narrowed quite a bit so now i am left with this awful crepitus/grinding if i move my elbow out to the side, it gives me goosebumps as it feels like the bones or cartilage are scraping together and it judders.
I still can't hold anything heavy that "opens" the joint and like the writer before my post if I bend my arm with my thumb up, palm sideways and try to touch my shoulder i am a good 2-3inches away from my shoulder, it also feels like something is blocking the joint from going any further.
I went back to my Orthopeadic Surgeon again, and he decided to give me a cortisone injection into the joint, it wasn't too bad and the joint actually felt a lot better for about 3 weeks, then it returned to how it was before the injection. He told me and I quote "You have quite an impressive crepitus" he told me i may need an arthroscope to see what was going on.It also gets really stiff and wakes me up at night.
On the last visit this week he tells me there is nothing to do for it and basically he doesn't want to do a scope either as it could make it worse and I do at least have a full ROM.
I left the rooms very dispondant and now have to put up this this irritating injury.
I must say its nice to be able to come onto here and have a good old rant, as everyone is in the same boat. I get no sympathy at home as my hubby is a surgeon,he just says be positive and stop focusing on it all the time, yeah right, thats easily said but not so easy to do. Thanks for reading my moaning post. It would be nice if the Dr on here who runs the site could reply to some of the posts, especially if a few of us have the same symptoms, or if the post is really interesting, just a thought :)


Sep 08, 2012
gaining flexion and extension NEW
by: Debi

I have described the exercises my therapist have given me. The latest I am doing with stretch bands.
Before starting with the bands, just using passive exercise, then I had moved to doing passive and active exercise. Now I am using bands to do curls to bring my hand slowly to my shoulder. This has helped me get past the point where I was stopping about 10 inches from my shoulder. I could move my fist about an inch and a half towards my center of my chest and get about 5 inches from my body by slowly continuing to draw toward my body. Since using the orange band (3 sets of 10) I can get about 8 inches from my shoulder, and I can curl if I move my fist just a bit inward toward the center of my chest- I can touch my collar bone. The other excercise with a red band is done stance of one foot out, with bended knee, bend at waist forward. Pull the band from extended to backwards with bent elbow, as far as I can, then extend the hand back trying to straighten the arm behind me. He says strengthening my triceps will help me to straighten my arm. It is helping! It takes a lot of work. Daily do my exercises, then trying to do a little more each day in everyday life motions. Every day I see gains in what I can do. I had surgery for a radial head replacement after having a terrible triad dislocation. That was complete dislocation of the elbow, comminuted (spiral and fragmented into more than three pieces)fracture, and fracture of the coronoid process of the ulna, ligaments torn, and also a dislocation of my wrist- that was reduced in the ER, but the rest required surgery. Accident was 7/11/2012. I fell from a curb I didn't see to a paved street as I was turning at the back of my truck. I didn't know I was falling and I landed on my elbow, not my outstretched hand. Surgery 7/19/2012. Began Physical Therapy 8/3/2012; still going. Last measurements on 8/30/2012 : Extension 17 degrees, Flexion 117 degrees. Since using the bands this last week it has improved more. Not measured yet, but it's much better.

Oct 02, 2012
Unfortunately I've arrived here. NEW
by: Sean in AZ

Today is now October 2, 2012. Two days ago I went on my normal Sunday run before the morning NFL games. I wanted to spice it up and chose a new route. Uh-oh, halfway in I decided to duck behind some upcoming trees to escape a littlle Arizona sun as I ran. Little did I know there is a mini park behind the trees with a 6 foot slanted dip from street level. I bit the open step hard and took a nasty one. E.R. x-rays show slight ( don't know if that matters or not) fracture of left radial head and sprained right wrist and elbow. I am a 34 year old very active male who likes to lift weights. I have been reading the posts all day and I see that this is going to be about a year to feel whole again. My question to the community is when will I be able to lift heavy weights again, safely?

Oct 02, 2012
Unfortunately I've arrived here. NEW
by: Sean in AZ

Today is now October 2, 2012. Two days ago I went on my normal Sunday run before the morning NFL games. I wanted to spice it up and chose a new route. Uh-oh, halfway in I decided to duck behind some upcoming trees to escape a littlle Arizona sun as I ran. Little did I know there is a mini park behind the trees with a 6 foot slanted dip from street level. I bit the open step hard and took a nasty one. E.R. x-rays show slight ( don't know if that matters or not) fracture of left radial head and sprained right wrist and elbow. I am a 34 year old very active male who likes to lift weights. I have been reading the posts all day and I see that this is going to be about a year to feel whole again. My question to the community is when will I be able to lift heavy weights again, safely?

Oct 02, 2012
Sean in AZ NEW
by: Kathy

Hi Sean,

My first and only post on here was from 12/3/2011. I returned to work almost 8 weeks exactly after my injury. Once the swelling went down and I was able to do my exercises better I saw improvement much more rapidly. Your body will tell you what you can and can't do so definitely listen to it. You will want to push yourself as you recover but not overdo it. No one can tell you for sure when you will be able to lift weights again as everyone's recovery seems to be a little different but you will definitely have to start with really light weights and work your way up after your fracture heals.

Wishing you a speedy recovery,

Kathy

Oct 02, 2012
Sore NEW
by: Sean in AZ

Thanks Kathy and sorry about the double post. I go the ortho today and I will post his diagnosis later

Oct 02, 2012
Sore NEW
by: Sean in AZ

Thanks Kathy and sorry about the double post. I go the ortho today and I will post his diagnosis later

Oct 02, 2012
Sean in AZ NEW
by: Debi

Sean, have you consulted an orthopedic physical therapist? Mine has helped me tremendously, and I am still going for therapy 2X a week, but I will probably only be going for another month and will then have to continue the rest on my own, because there is a limit on how much insurance is willing to pay for.
After you get your range of motion, then you start working on strength. When you get your strength back and do not have pain, then you resume normal activity. We all have differing severity of injuries on this site, and the complexities of the injury as well as the age and overall health of each individual effect how quickly we can recover. As for myself, my surgeon has told me last Friday it will be a year before I am back to normal. I have to continue working at gaining strength and also I have to continue the range of motion exercises to maintain the gains I have made. I am 58, and had a house cleaning business, that I have had to stop. When you exercise, you need to stop at the point of pain. Do not push through it. Start with 5 reps and work up to 10, then do two sets of 10 then two sets of 15, etc. Your bone will take about three months - 6 months to be fully healed. So, do not strain it. Before I was given weights I had to use bands. The weights I am working with in rehab now are 2 and 3 pound weights. I started with half pound weights. Tendons and ligaments and muscles need to be healed and strengthened. When you work on it, skip the next day so your muscles can heal. You may notice you have soreness two days after working it. Go easy, don't press through that soreness. Allow each time to get back to no pain during the exercise. Sometimes when I have worked too hard, while I was able to do it without pain, I had so much pain after a few days I have had to do other exercises for up to 10 days before I could resume doing the one that made me so sore. This is where having therapy is so very helpful. Also, each time I have been unable to do an everyday task and reported it to my therapist, he gives me an activity to work on to help strengthen me so I can get to where I can do it. Best wishes. -Debi

Oct 03, 2012
2 years post RH replacement NEW
by: SDS

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of my radial head replacement. I fell in an unlit parking lot with unrepaired 'craters' and fragmented my radial head. I wore a sling for a few days to decrease the swelling and then it was replaced within 10 days. It is a titanium prosthetic due to my surgeons discovery of a nickle allergy. I attented PT almost immediately and then supplemented PT with a JAS splint - huge asset to advancing my recovery, but ultimately not enough. I experienced considerable 'muscle guarding' and I was 'stuck' - ROM was not improving. I don't have the #'s offhand but I do have earlier posts here. In February of 2011 (4 months post surgery)I had follow up surgery, capsular release and ulnar nerve transposition. My ROM improved enough for me to go back to work (I was out for 7 months - I'm an IT specialist that sits at a keyboard for 12 hr. nights). I had PT for a total of 8 months. The long term effects I've experienced to date are potential (permanent ?)nerve damage, I can not fully outstretch my arm, I can't 'cup' my hand and I am just inches from being able to reach my shoulder. This 2nd surgery to move my ulnar nerve actually aggravated it and caused nerve damage. My pinky and ring finger are still numb and we are 'waiting it out'. In Feb of 2013 it will be 2 years from the nerve transposition and we will determine if an additional surgery is required to move the nerve under the muscle. Evidently the nerve (or fibers - not sure of the technical aspect) regenerates from the neck to the pinky at the rate of 1 inch per month, meaning 2 years to go the distance. In the meantime I rest my arm on a small pillow at work since the nerve is positioned directly where my arm rests on a hard surface (my desk). I also have a gel/padded elbow protector. I have a pinched sensation in elbow and my shoulder is frequently achy and my hand will experience a burning sensation at times. I'm sure my line of work doesn't help the situation. It's been a tough one, considering it's still on my mind . . . even 2 years later.

Oct 03, 2012
to SDS NEW
by: Debi

SDS, mine too, is a titanium radial head replacement. I had surgery 7/19/12, began therapy in early August. I have had no nerve pain, but I have worked hard to get back the range of motion and am still working on gaining strength, but I suffered a setback when I overworked it. I had so much pain that for 10 days I could not do some things I had been able to do. I would think one reason you have so much difficulty is that to be keyboarding you have to keep your elbow bent, and 12 hours is sooo long! I have been having problem with shoulder pain and bicep pain and swelling. My therapist says it is because my body is trying to compensate for the joint not straightening. I can get to about 7 degrees on extension, after I have massaged under the elbow, but the normal extension is about 12 degrees. I, too, cannot touch my left shoulder with my hand. I still have swelling in my wrist and fingers, not so noticable, but I cannot put rings on that hand that I used to wear. My therapist has been giving me deep massage on the bicep while gently pressing
down my arm at the wrist, (my arm is extended and rotated to the side so the is thumb up) At home I do as best I can to duplicate the extension exercise by sitting in an easy chair and putting a my elbow just at the edge of a table with a folded hand towel under the elbow. He has me do this beside a table that he raises to just under my armpit height, so, I have a console table that happens to be about that height. I put rice in a sock to make it weight 2 pounds, and that is what I drape over the arm about an inch above the wrist. I sit there for five minutes while watching TV. It is important to keep the shoulder relaxed, don't hunch it up (which is natural to do) Sit back and try to relax for this. It does help to
straighten it. You may see if you can take a couple breaks at work and do this to relieve the strain of sitting with bent elbow so long.
-Debi

Oct 04, 2012
To Chris NEW
by: Debi

Chris, please LISTEN to your therapist! YOUR attitude "no pain, no gain" is NOT true and is causing you problems! You cause more problem when you try to push through pain. You will cause your body to produce scar tissue to protect itself! My therapist told me if I ever feel numbness or tingling I need to inform my surgeon right away. I have not had that, but, I am now working, either. This is an injury that takes a lot of time to heal, not just the bone has to heal, but the ligaments and tendons. I had a radial head replacement, I am not certain if you have, but PULL UPS are OUT! Get thee to an orthopedic physical therapist and get qualified help and follow their instruction! My surgeon tells me it will be at least a year before I am back to normal. Yes, the arm is MUCH weaker. It will take time and proper exercise to heal. I have already achieved what is considered functional range of motion. Building strength is gradual. I already overdid it once, and it caused me to have a setback that was identified by PAIN. My therapist had me back off until the pain subsided. I just did gentle stretching and he told me to take it slower. We backed off 3 pound weights back to one pound. Got more stretching, do more reps. It's a slow process. Please don't be stubborn. It's hard enough to overcome. Also, I slept in a sling for six weeks. I had to then prop my arm on a pillow to sleep, and slept on my back. Now I can sleep on my right side and prop my left (injured) arm on a pillow in front of me. I still cannot lie on my left side. My shoulder will hurt. Best wishes, -Debi

Oct 04, 2012
Radial Head Replacement 8-28-12 NEW
by: Mandy

I thought I was the only person in this world who has experienced this awefull injury. I am currently 5 weeks out of sugery and I attend PT 3 times a week. I fell roller skating with my ten year old son on his birthday and shattered my right radial head (strong arm). Surgery was my only option as it was shattered into pieces. After reading everyone's posts I'm sad to see my jouney has just begun. I can not extend, nor touch my shoulder, nor rotate my wrist. PT is so painful I hate to go. It feels like I need a whole day to recuperate in which I should be exercising. But I am sooo soar and feeling so much pain I'm scared to push it to far(plus I'm still taking some pain meds to cope). I was never in a cast just a sling for about 2 1/2 weeks and started exercising immediately after the sling was not necessary. WOW!!! I am disappointed to hear that I will be in this condition for at least a year to come. I am returing to work next week the PTherapist told me it wouldnt hurt only help. I wish each of you a prayerful recovery as much prayer is needed to live with this condition. Sleeping, eating, just daily activites are very complicated without the range of motion. Not to mention the amount of pain that I endure everyday encluding the radiation of pain down the forearm and into the wrist. Oh!!! and the doctor told me that was normal too. Anyway I have no swelling anymore just an ugly, lumpy, and bumpy scar to look at. :{ I am going to keep exercising and believe that I will get my whole range of motion back. Be Blessed!!!!

Oct 05, 2012
To Mandy NEW
by: Debi

Mandy, look back at my posts to see the exercises I have been given for range of motion. I had surgery 7/19/12. I began PT in early August. I do have range of motion back, pretty well. I still am working on strength. I have two weeks of PT scheduled to go. I am able to put up my hair, to wash my face, to eat and drink with my injured (left) hand. I still cannot make complete turns driving with my left hand. I still cannot maintain a task such as vacuuming for more than 20 minutes before I begin to feel pain. I don't know what type of work you do. I had a small housecleaning business. I have no employees. I have had to stop my business. I notice fatigue pretty quickly. There is little strength in my left arm. You may have had a break similar to mine. It will take a long time for the ligaments to repair themselves. It takes a long time to build back strength. My doctor told me last follow up visit a week ago that it will be a year before I am back to normal. I hope you are seeing a good orthopedic physical therapist. Mine has stressed over and over to not push past pain. The important thing to gain range of motion is to do it daily, and try to increase reps. I had PASSIVE exercises to regain range of motion. And, I would try to do the simple tasks like touching my mouth, putting up my hair, that were difficult. As I would tell my therapist the things I had difficulty doing, he would give me an exercise to help me. But, he would watch me and when he saw me strain, he would tell me to stop before that point and just do repetition. A day or two later, I would find I had advanced a bit further. This is how to regain your range of motion. Do not push through pain. VERY IMPORTANT!. -Debi

Oct 05, 2012
Rollerskating Mandy NEW
by: Kathleen

You have a long and painful road ahead of you sunshine. Do the therapy religiously. They will make you move your arm, even if you won't want to and even if it hurts, you HAVE to get it moving. I had my accident (also fractured radial head)Feb 1 and was back to a good place in about 5 months. Now, here I am 7 years later at 95% strength and usage. I do have some nerve damage, but nothing that disables me. You get used to your limitations and usage!

Oct 05, 2012
Rollerskating Mandy NEW
by: Kathleen

You have a long and painful road ahead of you sunshine. Do the therapy religiously. They will make you move your arm, even if you won't want to and even if it hurts, you HAVE to get it moving. I had my accident (also fractured radial head)Feb 1 and was back to a good place in about 5 months. Now, here I am 7 years later at 95% strength and usage. I do have some nerve damage, but nothing that disables me. You get used to your limitations and usage!

Oct 07, 2012
Manipulation NEW
by: Claire

Mandy - stay positive and keep your joint moving!
Have posted a couple of times and am wondering whether any one has had an additional manipulation? The NHS stopped my physio when I had functional movement back but I am striving for the extra 10% extension after a year since my radial head op. my private physio says it may be worth investigating the possibility of a manipulation under general anaesthetic. Has anyone come across this? Is it worth it! I'm only 33 so will have to have the radial head replaced in the future. It may not even be possible due to the implant, just trying to puck your brains!
This forum is a god send - XXXX

Oct 07, 2012
Confused by dr NEW
by: Anne

I am so happy to have found this page because I am feeling a little uneasy about my injury and lack concern from my dr. Two weeks ago, I simply tripped over a broken block in a sideway and fell on my forearms. I was away from home for a family wedding and since just though I bruised my arm, so I didn't see the dr for almost a week later. I have a radial head fracture with slight displacement. Ortho Dr. spent about a total of 3 minutes with me, gave me sling and said wear it if it makes me feel better and said come back in a week. Said I could keep working at my desk/computer job full time. Went back in a week, saw different dr., got next xray and 2nd dr said, healing great come back in 6w. I can move my arm, but I have a lot of pain in the wrist with any turning. He told me I could lift something as heavy as a gallon of milk and I just can't imagine. I can't turn a door knob. I guess this is normal, but kind of can't get past the fact turning my hand is a causing pain which seems like it's not productive to healing. I am thinking of calling my family dr again to ask if this is normal treatment.

i would like to hear of any similar experiences as to how much pain is to be expectedd and when to question your drs plan. I am not usually a complainer.. took me a week to check it out, but i am really starting to feel ongoing stress over the constant pain.

Oct 07, 2012
Confused by dr NEW
by: Anne

I am so happy to have found this page because I am feeling a little uneasy about my injury and lack concern from my dr. Two weeks ago, I simply tripped over a broken block in a sideway and fell on my forearms. I was away from home for a family wedding and since just though I bruised my arm, so I didn't see the dr for almost a week later. I have a radial head fracture with slight displacement. Ortho Dr. spent about a total of 3 minutes with me, gave me sling and said wear it if it makes me feel better and said come back in a week. Said I could keep working at my desk/computer job full time. Went back in a week, saw different dr., got next xray and 2nd dr said, healing great come back in 6w. I can move my arm, but I have a lot of pain in the wrist with any turning. He told me I could lift something as heavy as a gallon of milk and I just can't imagine. I can't turn a door knob. I guess this is normal, but kind of can't get past the fact turning my hand is a causing pain which seems like it's not productive to healing. I am thinking of calling my family dr again to ask if this is normal treatment.

i would like to hear of any similar experiences as to how much pain is to be expectedd and when to question your drs plan. I am not usually a complainer.. took me a week to check it out, but i am really starting to feel ongoing stress over the constant pain.

Oct 08, 2012
Anne... NEW
by: Kathy

You need to ask your doctor to prescribe physical therapy to help get you through this injury - no way would you be able to carry a gallon of milk yet with your injured arm! Turning doorknobs concerned me too but you will get that back with some good and helpful exercises. First you must get some range of motion back then you can start working on strength but you have to work up to it...my PT started me out with a 1 lb. weight and I worked my way up until I could carry a grocery bag with my injured arm but it takes time! Getting your doctor to prescribe PT will help you get through this at the pace that's right for you.

Oct 08, 2012
thanks kathy NEW
by: Anne

Kathy - thank you so much. It makes me feel better to know there must be more to be done for this than just wait for it to get better. I will follow up with my primary. I think I need to find another ortho practice that offers more help.

Oct 08, 2012
Radial Head Replacement NEW
by: Mandy

Thank you for your responses. I am doing my exercises faithfully and I am hoping to return to work this week. I see my Orthopedic Dr. tomorrow hopefully he will relase me. I work at a bank I believe I can do my job except for heavy lifting. My PTherapist told me it wouldnt hurt only help to return to my normal routine. I have started having episodes of extreme weakness in my right arm (injured arm) but they told me to expect that until I regain my strenth. I have excepted this is going to take time and no more skating lol. I also had my measurements taken this weak and I showed a positive improvement ( still in pain). I will be checking back in with you guys. This is a positive blog and I will also look back at those exercises and incorporate them. Be encouraged!!!!

Oct 09, 2012
Coronoid/subluxion update NEW
by: Sueffun

Well here I am now 7 months since my injury and now I am booked for an arthroscopy on the 17/10 as I have, and I quote "quite impressive crepitus". My elbow also burns at the insertion of the triceps and if its been still for about 10 minutes its really stiff and painful to move.
My Orthopedic surgeon thinks I may have ossificans dissecans or "joint mice" bits of loose cartilage or bone.
I have been consistant with my physio and now I will probably have to start all over again. I have lost only about 10% of flex ion but its so frustrating, I just wish this had been done at the beginning.
To the lady that was saying she didn't get much treatment, this seems par for the course. I was basically told I had squashed a fat pad, physio and ice was my treatment and use a sling if i wanted too. A month later when it wasn't getting better i asked for an MRI which showed a coronoid fracture with extensive bone bruising and my bracchialis muscle was also injured. Still no treatment though, quite funny really as I am married to a general surgeon and he too didn't take any notice of my injury, he just kept telling me to stop complaining about it.
It so happens that you rarely get a coronoid fracture without a dislocation as well, so I wasn't moaning for nothing, just glad my radius was ok. (So much for the squashed fat pad) it was nice to tell hubby and ortho "told you so".
So I agree, go for physio but if it still doesn't get better go for an MRI, you never know.

Oct 11, 2012
still partially recovered after 9 months NEW
by: Kumar

I have dislocation and 6mm crack/broke on raidal head. Dr said there is need of surgery. I am not sure whether medical system here wants to make money . I should have opted for postponing my surgery and just repair my dislcoation. begin medically ignorant i did implant. now i have 45 degree sup and 37* pronation , extension is 80-95% when some disturbance is there. i can hear crack and sounds when i strech or do rotation or do pronation or sup. i think most cases it heals naturally to an extent. we should not opt for surgery immediatly if at all pssoible and wait for atleast couple of after dislocation is put back in place and see whether medicine and splint can do cure. hopefully it will not lead to arthrities or hand issue when in 50s. i am 40 now

Oct 11, 2012
To Kumar NEW
by: Debi

I should think most of us here had responsible medical care. I would not presume that we had ELECTIVE radial head replacements. As for myself, I educated myself by looking up everything I could get my hands on after my accident online to understand the gravity of the injury. I did find that the old method of allowing radial head fractures to heal on their on often left a person with shortened bone, and problems. I also learned that placed into a cast was problematic because the elbow needed to be moved quite early to keep it from becoming stiff. I further looked up radial head replacements and the different types and educated myself on the procedures used and the recommended physical therapy. I understood, while my surgeon went in saying she might try to repair the radial head that everything I read recommended that if it was broken in several pieces, or if the radial neck was badly broken that a replacement was recommended. But, I trusted her, she was the physician, after all. She saw me the day before the surgery and I asked her which brand of radial head replacement would she be using, should that be the way she decided to go, and she told me. I came home and pulled it up and read all the manufacturers information. She did perform the radial head replacement. When she saw me after the surgery, she explained why that decision was made. If you seek the information and engage your physician so that they know you are informed they will openly discuss your care. I am just this way. I also understood that the physical therapy was very important, but, I did follow my doctor's lead and instruction. I began physical therapy about three weeks after the surgery, and I worked at it at home as my therapist instructed. I have done very well, but this is still a long way from like normal. I am sure, however, if I had not gone to physical therapy, or only done what was done when I WENT TO physical therapy, I would be much impaired. I would hope a surgeon would NOT perform a radial head replacement when it was unnecessary. I do believe you are embittered, and I am sorry. As far as arthritis is concerned, it is a fact of life that injuries do sometimes result in arthritis...if that happens, it is not the fault of the surgeon...just the injury itself could cause that. My suggestion is if you feel your care has not been conducted for the purpose of your well being, but for the lining of the pocket of the physician, that you find another physician, or at least get a second opinion. But, please, make certain that YOU have done what you should be doing, and understand you needed to work at this yourself. The surgery was not a magic fix it. We are all here to offer encouragement to each other and share our experiences. I wish you well.

Oct 11, 2012
Surgery to pad the doctor's pocket? NEW
by: Mary

My orthopedic doctor referred me to an elbow surgeon/specialist. I just knew I was in for surgery. This specialist saw me three times (once every 9 weeks) before he made the decision NOT to do surgery. I had a radial head fracture but very little dislocation. I agree with Debi, if you have a good doctor he/she will not do unnecessary surgery. I, too, have been doing home therapy faithfully (I have been released from professional therapy). It's been eleven months; I Have come a tremendous long way, but I still have a little way to go. I may not ever get my full flexion or extention, but I am going to continue therapy as long as I am making gains. Although my progress has been slow, I am pleased with my results. I am 58 years old.

Oct 11, 2012
My current outlook NEW
by: Debi

I, too, am 58 years old; my accident was 7/11/12; my complete elbow dislocation was reduced in the ER with conscious sedation and I was put into a splint and sling. My injuries were 1)complete elbow dislocation, 2)proximal radial head comminuted (spiral and fragmented) fracture, 3)fracture of coronoid process of the ulna, 4) dislocation of the wrist. The surgeon found the elbow dislocation was the "terrible triad" when she went in...there were also torn ligaments. It was a horrendous injury. I had surgery 7/19/2012; began physical therapy 8/6/2012. I slept in the splint and sling for 6 weeks. I have exceeded what is considered "functional" range of motion. That arm is still very weak; using bands and weights and still going to PT. I have difficulty maintaining activity for any length of time without having pain. Most frustrating is the sense that I am not able yet to do any tasks feeling like it is "normal". Example, I can drink from a cup using that left hand...but bringing it to my face feels like the last few inches I have to "will" it there. Nothing comes like without really trying. Simple tasks like folding clothes I am very aware of the elbow pain, the feeling of "weightiness" of my arm...the muscles are just weak. I have just now today been able to make left turns driving (with automatic steering)using just my left hand. Everyone's healing is individual. When I was telling my surgeon about my limits on my follow up visit 9/30/2012 she told me, "Honey, you have had surgery! It will be a year before you are back to normal! If you had not had surgery, you would still be in a cast!" But she was very, very pleased with my progress and accomplishment of extension and flexion, pronation and suppination. She told me it just takes time, working at it, and patience. And my therapist has told me to time my tasks and find out how long I can endure them. Stop at pain. Rest or do something else, come back to it later. Slowly, but steadily, I am improving. I sometimes am amazed that something I could not do a day or two before, suddenly, I can.
I still have constant pain. I still have to ice it after working it. But, oh, it is so much improved from to begin with. And, finally, my wrist, which not much at all was done for, has finally stopped being painful, although it is still swollen, as are my fingers. I still cannot reach well enough to fasten a necklace at the back of my neck. I still cannot make a fist as compact as the right; I do note that when I make this fist, I can still see there is swelling in the hand and over knuckles. I am continuing to strive at it. (I have graduated from yellow, then red, to now a stiffer green putty) I am encouraged, and I hope that my sharing has been encouraging to readers. I do feel like I am a tough ole girl...I am not giving up!

Oct 22, 2012
Shattered Radial Head NEW
by: Lindsay P

I shattered my radial head the say before Easter of 2011 by falling off of an airboat. Injury included dislocation of shoulder and torn tendons... Right after the incident I was taken to the ER and spent Easter in surgery/recovering. After that I had a soft cast for 5 days and was instructed to start working on range of motion. At the end of my 2nd follow up with the surgeon I was sent to a physical therapist 3x a week due to lack of supination/pronation and not being able to bend or straighten my arm very far. After 6 months of therapy, I went to another doctor for a second opinion and had my second surgery and continued therapy for another 4 months before I was released and told my arm is as good as it's going to get. I just turned 30, athletic and worked hard to recover trying every excercise, JAS splints... While my sup/pro is much better (not 100%), I still cannot straighten my arm all the way nor can I touch my shoulder. With the injury occurring on my dominant hand/arm some days I still feel discouraged. But I know it could always be worse, I'm fortunate that was the extent of my injuries and know I was being watched over that day. Feels good to hear from others going through the same situation as I and good luck to you all!

Nov 05, 2012
5 weeks since my injury. NEW
by: Sean in AZ

Progress is going great.. I got the soft cast off in 10 days and at that point I couldn't get my palm past a 80 degree angle without great pain and couldn't come close to touching my shoulder at all. I have been doing constant PT until any slight hint of soreness. Now I can rotate my palm fully with about 4% sorness from the initial 100% and can touch my shoulder now with about the same 4% soreness. The outside of my elbow feels heavy I have around 15% soreness still when bending the elbow. Doc still tells me not to push or pull anything of heavy weight. I'm still not comfortable using my left arm to hold a large portion of my body weight be it getting up from the sitting position or washing caked on food off of the dishes as it requires a steady push. All in all feeling remarkably better and recovering well.

Nov 05, 2012
To Sean AZ NEW
by: Debi

After gaining range of motion I was started on resistance cords and bands doing exercises to strengthen the triceps muscle to help straightening my arm. Also, I was given ones for my shoulders, and curls. Then I started with 2 pound weights at 8 weeks to gain strength overall in that arm. As my strength improved it was increased one pound at a time. At the time of my discharge I could not yet pick up a full gallon of milk and pour it, but, I am getting better. Some days I can do it, some days I cannot due to pain. I was given cords and bands to continue my therapy at home myself when I was discharged from physical therapy two weeks ago. Today was the first time I have successfully fastened a small gold chain behind my neck. My physical therapist thinks I may well regain ability to straighten my arm to 0 degrees. I cannot yet touch my shoulder, but I can get about an inch from it, so I will certainly be able to do so by the time I reach my one year anniversary in July 2013. My therapist said it's important that I not do anything that pulls on that joint...EVER. Like a pull up, or to try to open a door while someone else pulls against it, or holding the leash in my left hand when walking my 52 lb dog. He said if he suddenly lurched, it could injure the joint. My surgeon told me it will be a year before I am back to normal, but my physical therapist said I should NEVER pull heavy against it. I also read info provided by the manufacturer of the radial head replacement and it said excessive weight was not to be placed on the joint. So I had asked my therapist to define "excessive weight". He told me about 30-40 pounds. He says stop at the point just before you feel pain. Increase reps to 3 sets of 20 comfortably before increasing the weight. Increased pain means stop and give it a rest until the pain subsides, then go back to it. Once when we worked it really hard I had to stop the weights for 10 days. I learned my limitation then. I am fixing to turn 59 years old. Mine is a Biomet radial head replacement. I asked my surgeon before she did the surgery what the brand was. I went to the site and printed everything so I could have it in case there is any problem later. (like a recall or some other unforeseen problem) Keep working it, do research, if you get a setback ( that's what I had when I had the 10 days of stiffness and pain), just keep stretching, icing and work the areas that do not hurt as much. Keep at it. May you have a steady recovery. Be safe about it.

Dec 10, 2012
One year and half later! NEW
by: Anonymous

Hello everybody, wishing all of u quick recovery ....Here i'm recovered thanks our lord;Bck in march 2011 i felt pain and was pessimistic about how long the recovery time would be for this, felt like I would never get better. 4 months later i went back to my country for a year nourishing my body there with organic food from my tribe's oasis!!i noticed the importance of food while treating this "case sensitive" injury :the head of Radius!!!So my advice above all is FOOD.Peace upon u all

Dec 11, 2012
Food advice? NEW
by: Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,
Will you please give specifics? What food? One expects well balanced..protein from lean meat and fish, a variety of fruits and vegetables in a broad spectrum of color, milk and cheese to provide the building blocks, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants...what is in your native country that we do not have here that we need to know? Thank you!

Dec 12, 2012
To Mary NEW
by: Debi

Mary,you said you are 58 years old, I have recently turned 59, so comparing notes, how have you done with strength? How would you rate your pain level upon movement? Some problems I have after my proximal radial head replacement still six months post surgery are I cannot pour from a gallon size vessel, I can lift it from the counter, but as soon as my elbow is raised upward I have pain and must support the bottom of the vessel with my other hand. I have pain in fact, just raising my elbow. I have pain on the inside and outside of the elbow joint, a constant ache that is sometimes then sharp as I attempt to do something as simple as placing a washed dish into the dish drainer. A new pain I have noticed is a sharp, nearly unbearable pain with any vibratory motion...it happened first when I was holding a French Chef knife at the point with my left hand when chopping. The next time was when driving. The other thing is I have an almost phobic fear of falling. When I nearly have and caught myself I burst into tears and then just cried. I am afraid of re-injury. My most recent follow up visit the xray looked like the implant had moved. The stem looked half way out of the bone with a space between the end of the radius so that part of the stem of the implant looked like it was sticking out and the radial head was not flush up to the radius. My surgeon said it was "okay". I am requesting copies of all my x-rays from her. I did pick up a 20 pound bottle of cat litter without thinking with that hand from the floor and as soon as I straightened up I felt a great pain and let it go. I am afraid I may have exceeded the amount of weight I could safely pick up and compromised the integrity of the bond. I have been having mild pain and swelling in the lower end of the upper arm that I was not experiencing before that incident; so I am afraid to do much at this point. My surgeon told me to give it until Spring and if it still hurts to come in and she will re-evaluate it.

Dec 12, 2012
To Debi NEW
by: Mary

I think we scared the younger people off when we gave our ages. (I turn 59 in January). However, I hope they will return to respond to each other. Everyone with this injury needs all the support one can get. It is a hard injury to get over for most people...young or old(er).

I am thankful that I have my strength back. I worked out prior to my radial head fracture, and once I could do it, I started working out after my radial head fracture. (Why do they call it a fracture when it actually is a break?) It definitely was a long and slow process. (Another lady I know cannot pick up a milk carton after her radial head fracture). In addition, I have no pain except sometimes a little when I am doing my home therapy. It's not bad, just uncomfortable. If you recall, I did not have to have surgery, but it took six months before my doctor made his final decision. (It's been a year and a month since my injury).

My issues are getting full range of motion back with my flexion (I am barely in the "acceptable range") and my extention (I only lack a very little with my extention). However, I can do pretty much what I need to do. I do wish I could hold a phone comfortably to my ear.

I found it most interesting that you have a fear of falling. I have definitely gone through this. (I tripped on a root while hiking when I had my injury). I still have this fear, but not as bad as I did at first. I do still have a fear of breaking my elbow again. I never want to go through this injury again.

I wish for you and all the others a complete recovery. Keep the faith...It does get better with time. If I can be of any other help, please let me know. I still watch this website. It has been very helpful to me.


Dec 16, 2012
Near full recovery is possible ! NEW
by: Anonymous

Dear people,

I am revisiting this page 6 months after my radial head fracture (to my left, and dominant, arm). Right after it happened I went to hospital, took some x-rays, and they identified a radial head fracture where the bone fragments had also moved out of position. They told me it had to be operated, so that they could fix the bone fragments with screws (in the head itself), otherwise I would never use my arm properly again.

The arm was put in a semi-hard cast, I was sent home with a lot of pain killers, and two days later they operated. They put in 2 screws to hold the bones of the head together (under general anesthesia). I spent one night in hospital. 24 hours after the operation the pressure bandage was removed, and I was able to go home (again with a lot of pain killers). I was told to start movement of the arm immediately after surgery, however it took me another 24 hours before I had the courage to start doing that.

After the operation I could barely move the arm, the elbow was stuck at 90 degrees. Maybe 5 degrees movement, both ways. I thought it would never get better.

6 months later, and I can extend my arm nearly fully (2 - 3 degrees less than before, according to the physio). Supination / pronation is back 99% of what it was. I can touch my shoulder with my hand when I bend my arm. I am a musician and play saxophone, piano and guitar. All without problems now. No pain. No stiffness.

Do I have tips for anyone? Everyone's different, but here's my take on it :

1. Start movement asap. The elbow is a very difficult joint to mobilize if it gets stuck. Even if you can't move it much, keep moving it. I started with 3 sessions a day, worked it up to a session every 2 hours.

2. Don't use weights, at least not during the first 3 months.

3. Get a good physiotherapist and start treatment asap.

4. Keep you mind occupied. Stay positive. I had a HUGE challenge doing that, really got depressed. Long walks helped too, I live in a beautiful nature area. Walking helps the blood circulation. If you are religious, dive into that. I am Christian and kept reading Psalm 34, believing that God would help me out. Verse 19 - 20 says : "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken."

5. I was lucky to have been operated by a good surgeon (I didn't choose him, I found out afterwards that he's well known here in The Netherlands). If they have to operate, do it soon. I didn't have the time for that, but in hindsight it may have been a good idea.

6. You need to be very disciplined in doing the exercises at home. Don't skip one session. Keep at it, even when progress stays away. And rather err on the side of gentleness than forcing the movement. A little pain is ok, but I never pushed it beyond that. Patience had to be leant.

I hope these tips give you the sense that there is hope, you can recover quite well.

Dec 22, 2012
6 weeks into a break NEW
by: Anonymous

Im so glad I found this site, loads of great advice, but I think I could do with some more!

I suffered a radial head fracture 6 weeks ago. I wasn't able to moblize it much until about week 3 because the swelling was so bad.

I've now been referred to physio (although no idea how long it will take for first session, the hospital shave been very slow with appointments so far).

My main conern now is my recovery (and wether I'll get full motion back. The doctor has said he does't think I'll regain full motion, which he said "is the same for anyone who has suffered a fracture". At the moment I can bend to 90 degrees and straighten to about 55. Is this worrying considering I'm only 6 weeks in?

I'm doing gentle exercises I've found online while I wait for my physio and I've found my motion seems to have improved already.

However I'm slightly worried as my recovery seems slower than most on here and most seem to have started physio a lot sooner than me! It might be worth pointing out I'm 29 as I know age can be a factor in recovery success etc. Does anyone have any advice?

Dec 22, 2012
To 6 weeks anonymous and all! NEW
by: Claire

You have to take you're time! I'm now 33, 32 when I had my racial head replacement. It also depends on your motivation and your willing to press yourself! It's a long road but everyone is different, don't put yourself under pressure!!

May everyone have a fantastic Christmas and a happy and healthy new year!!! Xxxx.

A proud radial head replaceeeeeeeeeee


Claire xxxx uk xxxxxxxxxx

Dec 28, 2012
Broken Plate NEW
by: Chiv

Hi everyone, just seen Claire's post that she is 33 and had her radial head replaced, hows it going, what can and can't you do. I broke mine back in 2004 racing moto cross had a plate and 6 screws put in. Now I have manage to brake the plate into 3 pieces. I have had a clean out of the joint to get out sum metal filings about 2 years ago. Only thing left to do now is I need the radial head replaced and the Doctor has said to wait for as long as i can before getting it done Because it will affect my work and slow me down at my age (37). But sume days the pain is out of control along with the grinding and crunching I am over it.
So i am looking for any help or advice anyone can give, is it going to be the end of the world for me. Thanks Chiv

Dec 30, 2012
Recovery Story NEW
by: Bruce - 36 - sporty male

Firstly this website and communication thread has been a huge help in my recovery. I sure do hope that everybody is making progress as I believe that this injury can be beaten.

I sustained a type 1 radial head fracture 8 weeks ago to this very day. I skateboard for fun, race mountain bikes, push weights twice a week, practice yoga and I'm generally very active. Although this injury was a big setback, I am happy to report back that my ROM is 95% back to normal and I will continue with PT sessions and home PT every day until I am 100%

My two cents of advice to all out there is to start immobilizing your elbow as soon as possible after injury. I removed my sling 24 hours after my injury and was banging on my orthopedics door soon after my visit at ER. Get an early prognosis and get your arm moving ASAP. After 2 weeks I started with PT and lots of soft tissue massage and joint manipulation. I found ways of doing this at home on my own and dedicate time to it every day. I have read a lot of stories of people wanting to get back to gym and there sport of choice. Put those ideas on the back burner an just put everything into get your elbow to function like it did before. Once you have full ROM back, then start playing and doing the things you love.

Three things I have learnt from this injury:

1. No Pain no Gain (when it comes to PT)
2. Don't try make videos of yourself while skateboarding, I will break bones.
3. Don't tell my wife that the pain in my elbow must be very close to pain while giving natural child birth. (she does not agree with me but to me it sure does feel like it during PT)

Come on people, get your head in the game, be positive and beat this injury.

Dec 31, 2012
Bruce, Type 1; Me Type IV NEW
by: Debi

There is quite a difference in a type 1 Radial Head Fracture and a Type IV. Type I fractures have been known to go unnoticed until the person was having difficulty recovering; and yes, even it took rehab to recover. But, some of us here are recovering quite well, albeit SLOWLY, and, we MUST follow instructions STOP AT POINT OF PAIN and DO NOT PUSH THROUGH PAIN with recovery of OUR injuries. I am not the only one here who had to have surgery and a radial head implant. I didn't just have a fractured radial head. I had a "Terrible Triad" dislocation. It is a Type IV. It was a complete dislocation involving the humerus and ulna, broke the proximal radial head in a spiral and comminuted (several smaller pieces) that were as my surgeon put it, "flung out into space" that she had to search for in the surgery. The little bone that is the hook on the ulna called the coronoid process was fractured off. The force of the fall tore the joint capsule. The surgery required the end of the radius sawed off to make it level, drilled to accept a titanium implant which was cemented into place, and then the bones of the radius, ulna and humerus all put back into place. The ligaments had to be surgically repaired. So, we're not just whiners. I'm very grateful that I had good insurance, the bills submitted to the insurance company totalled a bit over $60,000, a wonderful doctor in ER and a fabulous anesthesiologist in ER that gave me enough conscious sedation for them to reduce the dislocation and put me into a splint and sling that I had to wear for a week to wait for swelling to go down before surgery, a great surgeon, (for the surgery, I was thankfully under general anesthesia) and a wonderful physical therapist, and I have recovered well enough to use my left arm...but I have been told to NEVER do a pull up, or any kind of activity where I could have that joint pulled...like walking my dog...I have to hold the leash in the right hand. I cannot take a chance that he (52 pound muscular dog) might lunge and dislocate it. I still cannot pick up ten pounds with only that hand. IN TIME it will improve, but that is what it is going to take...per my surgeon, my therapist, and my regular doctor...it was a WICKED injury, and it takes TIME to heal, but that joint will NEVER have the strength it had. I cannot straighten it completely, cannot touch my left shoulder with my left hand, and may not ever be able to. BUT, I have worked very diligently to regain the range of motion and strength I have. And I am thankful, very very thankful for the success I have attained after this horrendous injury. But, folks, do as your therapist tells you...and understand physical therapy requires you working it at home, not just at the therapist's office..my injury required me doing some things every day, and some every other day. Best wishes to all of you! And have a SAFE and Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2012
Re: Debbie's story NEW
by: Bruce

Hi Debbie, I'm 100% agree with you. I was very fortunate to only sustain a type 1 fracture. My advice goes out to all those with type 1 and 2 (non operative) injuries. Debbie, sounds like you are making good progress, keep it up :)

Jan 05, 2013
Radial Head crushed in rt arm, fractured lt NEW
by: Marsha

In Aug of 2011 I fell down my steps and crushed the radial head in my right elbow, fractured the left. After my surgery it didn't take me long to get back to 100%. I had a great Dr. and my therapist was my black lab. I went to therapy one time and figured out I could the exercises at home with my dogs help. After two weeks when I went back to Dr. he was very impressed at my rate of improvement and how I did it. I did go to the therapist one more time to show her how I was doing, she agreed with the Dr. that I would not need to come to her. My question is am I able to go bowling or do pushups to exercise?

Jan 08, 2013
Marsha NEW
by: Anonymous

Surprised you even need to ask, since you have done it all so far on your own without guidance.

Jan 08, 2013
Marsha NEW
by: Anonymous

Oh, and one wonders what your definition is for 100%

Feb 05, 2013
Broken Radius NEW
by: Katy

Hello everyone, what a helpful page. Ive been searching everywhere for an answer!

I broke my left and dominent elbow on the 1st December 2012. Went straight to A&E and all they advised was a sling and pain killers - I heard the same story I've seen repeated, it will never be 100%

Approx 4weeks after the break, I could move my arm very well, although the strength isn't quite there.
But more worrying is a nasty grinding noise when I twist my arm, sometimes my elbow does lock in place, and snaps/clicks loudly.

My elbow is not in pain anymore, but does feel stiff and somedays I will get sharp shooting pains.

Really my question is: Does anyone else get this grinding noise, and is it anything to worry about?

Feb 05, 2013
Creaking NEW
by: Claire

Hey Katy,

18 months on I still creak and grind. Putting on my mascara is just about bearable but the sound is terrible. Also, cold weather has an affect on my creak ability.

If you are in pain I would get it checked out though.

Kind regards

Claire

Feb 05, 2013
Katy NEW
by: Debi

The cracking sounds (medical term is crepitus) do not seem to concern my physicians. Locking in place does sound like something they would want to investigate. Maybe there is some scar tissue developing that is causing that or some bone overgrowth? The shooting pain is definitely something to inform your surgeon of. It concerns the nerve. Could be it is getting impinged, or something else, but my therapist told me if I ever got numbness, tingling, or shooting pain to immediately inform my surgeon. I have been fortunate and not had any nerve problems. Best wishes; come back and let us know. We do care!

Feb 05, 2013
Katy NEW
by: Debi

Sorry, I was thinking you were the one with the crushing injury. I realize now you did not have surgery. I am still concerned. I even more so think it may be overgrowth of bone that is causing it. If you have insurance where you can go to an Orthopedic physician, that is what I recommend...at the very least mention the locking and the shooting pains to your family physician.

Feb 05, 2013
To Debi and Claire NEW
by: Katy

Hello...thank you for your advise and help. I think I will contact my Doctors about this.

I have to admit, I didn't feel the hopsital were at all helpfull.

It was only when I went to my local doctors to get signed off work, that he told what bone it was that I broke!

I will update you as soon as I know/learn any more about this horrible sound and locking xXx

Feb 07, 2013
Coronoid# also creaking 11months on NEW
by: Sueffun

I posted several times last year about my Coronoid# and eventually in October my Orthopedic surgeon decided to do an arthroscope to see what was going on. It had really bad crepitus and was getting quite stiff and painful.
He found a 10mm piece of cartilage floating around in the joint, the radial head had grade 2 chondromalacia and the coronoid was extremely rough. He ground down all the rough bits and took out the cartilage.
My elbow still has crepitus when i move it in a certain position, its a horrid sound and feeling and when i keep my arm still for a while its very stiff when i try and move it.
Not too sure where to go from here, there is no point in going back to the Dr as there is not much else he can do.

Feb 22, 2013
6 weeks post injury NEW
by: Anonymous

This page has been very useful for me and wanted to share my experience.
6 weeks ago, while I was heading to work I slipped on the ice and fell on my outstretched dominant arm. Got up, I could flex and extend it, but felt sharp pain when trying to supinate.
The diagnostic was cominutive fracture of the radial head with minimum displacement, confirmed by the CT 5 days later.
For the first 5 days, I wore my hand in the sling and tried not to move it.
After the CT results, the doctor took a conservative approach and that surgical intervention is not necessary.

First 2 weeks: The doctor reco was to apply ice, and begin moving it to avoid stiffness.
Started flexing and extending my arm. My ROM was improving.
At the end of the first week, I felt I re-injured my arm. My arm swell a lot, and my wrist and fingers got really stiff, I could not move them. I also got tingling sensations at my elbow, and sometimes the fingers and forearm color would worry me.
At the end of week two my wrist and fingers got better, although my wrist had only 50% range of motion.

2-4 week:
Doctor reco was to wear the sling only for protection, but remove it while at home or at my desk in the office. He checked my range of motion and showed me the flexing/extension/pronation exercises with the hand in neutral position. I felt extreme sharp pain when he supinated my arm, so he told me to avoid it.
Again I started the exercises, everything was going well until the end of the 3rd week, when I felt that I stressed my elbow too much and it got swollen again. Stopped all exercises, for an entire week and at the end of the 4th week I was having less ROM in flexing and extending than before. On the other hand, because I continued the wrist and pronation exercises, the ROM for these movements got to almost 100%, and I was able to use the mouse and keyboard.

4-6 weeks:
The doctor was not happy with the ROM. He told me that I should have exercised more, and if I don't move my arm, the joint can become extremely stiff and prevent any ROM. At this point I realized that I have overprotected it and needed to do something immediately.
Week 5: Started exercising my arm more aggressively. What helped me, was the reassurance I got from a colleague - "Although you may get a sensation that the bone will break if you flex it too much, you should continue the stretch". Went through a bit of pain, and managed to gain significant ROM when flexing and extending my arm.
Warm water helped as well to relax the tissue.
The swelling decreased, and supination came back naturally. Started to gradually use my arm in daily activities like doing doing my shoes or the shirt's buttons, or holding a pencil or a piece of paper.
Week 6:Had to reduce the exercises for a few days due to another sensation of pushing it too much, followed by swelling. Then I tried exceeding the limits again, and by the end of the week I was able move my arm almost normally, with some limitations at flexing and extension.








Feb 23, 2013
Can you Help me out with this question. NEW
by: Anonymous

I fractured my radial head three months ago by falling on my dominant hand. I was given exercises to do by the orthopedic surgeon after every visit. For the first week, my arm was in a splint and then a sling. I regained full rotation and full flexion but not extension. I am currently at 30 degrees. Has it taken anyone this long to gain full extension? I am working on stretching exercises currently. I don't have pain and can function normally. I don't have any problems with lifting weight. I was wondering how long can it take to gain full extension and is there something additional I should be doing to help me. I am a 55 year old woman so my age may be a factor in my recovery. Thank you for suggestions.

Feb 23, 2013
answering question to regain extension NEW
by: Debi

I am 59. I had a class IV injury, a complete dislocation at the elbow, comminuted (means spiral and fragmented)fracture of the proximal radial head, fracture of the coronoid process, and torn ligaments of the elbow capsule. I had surgery; a prosthetic radial head replacement. I went through physical therapy. The most effective exercise for extension was done every other day, beginning with half pound weight and working up to five pounds. Begin sitting with arm extended, elbow at the edge of a table or on the arm of a chair, to support the elbow, and well padded under the elbow for comfort; place a weight starting with a half pound about an inch before the wrist, and let gravity do the work. Keep the forearm turned on its side so the thumb is facing up toward the ceiling. Start with a the half pound weight for half minute and work up until you can stand it for five minutes; then up the weight. At home I do it watching TV. I filled socks with rice to the desired weights, tying two socks the at the top together so I could wrap them around my wrist then just drape the weighted ends. This done on a consistent and regular basis along with massaging the area on the underside of the elbow and around it before and icing entirely around the arm from upper arm to the forearm area for 10-20 minutes after doing the exercise helped me a great deal. I have more posts earlier in this feed if you will search them out that describes all the exercises I use. My therapist specified to only do one session on the day I do it, and not more often than every other day. You get more mobility by increasing the time and weight as your strength improves. You work it one day, you give a day for it to repair. You will be able to do more as you work it and see improvement. Do not "push through pain". My therapist explained that you are causing injury when you do. It's two steps forward and one step back. Better to go slow and consistent with gradual increase in the reps, time, and weight. Best wishes and be blessed.

Mar 21, 2013
Radial head fracture NEW
by: Jay Smith

It's been two weeks since I was told I had a crack along the radial head of the bone in my elbow. I was playing footy when my legs were taken from under me, I put my outstretched left arm down to cushion my fall and I was in agony. I was told to wear a sling for 2 weeks but after a follow up check a week later I was then told to take it out of the sling as the bone had healed very quickly. However it was still inflamed. I was not referred to physio but told to do my own exercises, I have always taken care of myself and I am a huge fitness fanatic which I feel has worked in my favour. After 2 weeks I now have full supination and most of the pronation back in my hand. I can extend my arm almost fully but not flex it fully yet, however this all still comes with pain. I am only 20 and by reading some of the comments here feel I have got off lucky. I was told I may not get full extension back, I refuse to agree with this, the key is to stick at it and you will see improvements. My elbow is still heavily bruised and inflamed so I still have a lot of healing to do. Don't do any exercises too early and take it easy trying not to push it too far too early.

Mar 21, 2013
broken radial head/ten foot fall NEW
by: Matt

I fell off a roof and fell 10 feet directly on my palm, then elbow, then radial head and broke it in several pieces. It has been 3.5 months. I don't have complete extension but the doctors are happy with what i have. It has a violent click about 6 times an hour that really hurts the Tommy John ligament which runs along the top side of the back of the elbow. It is still painful all the time.
I was at work so It is an L&I claim. I have been doing PT for about 2.25 months now. It has helped a lot, but still a lot of pain

Mar 26, 2013
Radial head fracture/replacement NEW
by: Maria L.

I had the typical slip and fall in sept 2012. I landed hard on cement on my non dominant arm. Instant pain. Excruciating. I went to ER where I was told a radial head fracture. I saw an orthodox two days later and It was confirmed and was put in a splint for ten days. After ten days, a sling for another two weeks. I was told at one month to start pt. I had no pronation or supination. I started 3x a week and within weeks my wrist was coming back. Extension on arm sucked. By December, my wrist still hurt so I had an MRI. It showed swelling but nothing else. So I kept going with PT. by January I had made progress but decided to see an elbow specialist. Some of the best are out of the kerlin-jobs clinic. I made an appt and kept with the PT. in the meantime, I had cats and and MRI on the elbow. I still have daily pain. Pain when arm is resting next to me. Pain in doing anything. Can't carry anything in this arm either. My elbow also cracks. Non stop. Finally saw an elbow specialist six months to the day of accident and not only is my radial head fractured ( I was told it was healed but there is a chunk of bone missing) but I have a tear in my forearm membrane, which has been the cause of all this pain. I'm anxious to see what I have to do next as I know I will be having a full radial head replacement as well as much more. It's frustrating as there is nothing out there on this stuff. Has anyone had this? I a at -40 degrees in extension which sucks. I feel like this will be forever

Mar 27, 2013
to Maria L NEW
by: Debi

Maria,
I had the radial head replacement, but it was a week after my injury. (July 11, 2012 injury, July 19, 2012 surgery) My posts here describe my therapy.
I am now 59 years old, and I do have pre-existing
arthritis, in many joints, and my doctor thinks I may have a bit in my elbow. I do have some pain all the time, but most of the time I can ignore it the way I do all my other joint pain. But, I do have occasional sharp pain with some movements that cannot be predicted, for the same movement another time may not elicit any pain at all, and the joint seems it will never allow any real weight bearing, which means I have had to adjust to not being able to use my non dominant arm for some things. I am a housewife. I am not able to do things like place a sheet of biscuits in the oven with my left hand. That is not that heavy, but the weight of an 18 inch pan full of biscuits extended out there from my left hand is more than I can comfortably bear. I am however getting closer to being able to pour from a full gallon pitcher. I still have to support the bottom, but I think it is getting a bit better, not so painful. I can almost do it. I can do it after two cups are removed. I have almost full extension, and can almost now touch the top center of my left shoulder with that hand. It's a stretch of about an inch to go to reach the center. At least I can now touch it. I can fasten a necklace in the back of my neck, which I could not do for quite a few months, and button a button down collar with my left hand. So, with most things personal care I am not feeling any problem. But I am not able to pick up heavy loads- forget helping to move a piece of furniture for example. I am thankful I have regained the function of that limb. I really missed it and had no idea how much I used it until I could not. God bless, and best wishes.

Mar 27, 2013
Maria / potential NEW
by: Anonymous

Maria, unfortunately the nature of this injury just requires time. Things do get easier but it's tough, sounds like your doing all the right things just stay positive.........X
Saw my consultant today! My radial head replacement was now 18 months ago, I am 15% off full extension, can stretch to 0% but cannot maintain it. They have agreed to try a MUA, manipulation under anaesthetic to try and help me regain the last 15%. the draw backs, they could break the bone due to the implant. I may be in cast for two weeks in full extension position to maximise the extension.
Has anyone experienced or come across this? Any advice would be welcomed...... Claire x

Mar 27, 2013
Maria / potential NEW
by: Claire

Maria, unfortunately the nature of this injury just requires time. Things do get easier but it's tough, sounds like your doing all the right things just stay positive.........X
Saw my consultant today! My radial head replacement was now 18 months ago, I am 15% off full extension, can stretch to 0% but cannot maintain it. They have agreed to try a MUA, manipulation under anaesthetic to try and help me regain the last 15%. the draw backs, they could break the bone due to the implant. I may be in cast for two weeks in full extension position to maximise the extension.
Has anyone experienced or come across this? Any advice would be welcomed...... Claire x

Apr 19, 2013
12 Weeks Post Op NEW
by: Debra

I fell and fractured my elbow. It was highly comminuted into the articular surface (sp?) I underwent surgery with pins and a Synthis implant. 12 weeks out, with limited therapy as I don't have insurance. I can't reach full extension. I do spider crawls, pendulum exercise and an over the door hand pulley every day. My arm is still so weak, I can hardly pick up a cup of coffee. Very depressed and frustrated over this injury. I am 54 and I still can't sleep on the injured side. What is the recovery time on this type of injury?

Apr 19, 2013
12 Weeks Post Op NEW
by: Debra

I fell and fractured my elbow. It was highly comminuted into the articular surface (sp?) I underwent surgery with pins and a Synthis implant. 12 weeks out, with limited therapy as I don't have insurance. I can't reach full extension. I do spider crawls, pendulum exercise and an over the door hand pulley every day. My arm is still so weak, I can hardly pick up a cup of coffee. Very depressed and frustrated over this injury. I am 54 and I still can't sleep on the injured side. What is the recovery time on this type of injury?

Apr 19, 2013
12 Weeks Post Op NEW
by: Debra

I fell and fractured my elbow. It was highly comminuted into the articular surface (sp?) I underwent surgery with pins and a Synthis implant. 12 weeks out, with limited therapy as I don't have insurance. I can't reach full extension. I do spider crawls, pendulum exercise and an over the door hand pulley every day. My arm is still so weak, I can hardly pick up a cup of coffee. Very depressed and frustrated over this injury. I am 54 and I still can't sleep on the injured side. What is the recovery time on this type of injury?

Apr 19, 2013
To Debra NEW
by: Debi

Debra, I am 59, and if you scroll back through last year you will find descriptions of exercises etc I had through physical therapy. I had surgery 7/19/2012. I continue to look for new entries to share my experience with others, and there are others here also who do. Recovery is a long process, and varies for each individual, but I do suspect it may take longer for us older. It sounds like you had a horrendous injury. I can relate. Mine was too. Be good to yourself. The hardest part is past you. It does get easier, but you must be patient, work every other day at the exercises and try to use that arm as much as possible for reaching up, out, behind your head, picking up small weight and embrace the smallest gains. Yesterday I was able to pour milk from a new gallon jug without aided support from my other hand for the first time! YAY! My surgeon told me by the time a year had passed from the date of surgery I could pretty much know then what I am able to do. But, I am still improving, although it seemed I would never be able to pour milk from a gallon jug again (my last post on here I could do it once two cups had been removed) Most important is not to push THROUGH pain. Stop at point of pain. "No pain no gain" is not true with this injury! You do damage to yourself if you do that. Patience and persistence. I still have a phobic fear of falling, but I don't burst into tears when I trip and stumble anymore, so that is better, too. When I feel bad I have to remember what it was like when I could not shower without my dear husband's help, or touch my nose, or put on a bra by myself, could not fasten a necklace; embrace the small victories, they keep coming. Praise God for His healing. And may our Lord bless you!

Apr 20, 2013
To Debra NEW
by: Mary

Debra, I too, am 59 (like Debi). I have to agree with everything Debi said. You WILL improve with the therapy exercises and through everyday use. Use that arm for anything possible. IT will take time...probably a long time, but most of your range of motion will return. I am 17 months from my radial head fracture (which is actually a break, not a fracture). I still carry heavy things purposely with my injured arm. I also still do a little therapy everyday or every other day. It can be discouraging and depressing, but don't give up or stop your exercises. I wish I had seen this website sooner than I did, but my mom was slowly dying at the hospice house, so I did not take the time to do a web search. Once I discovered it, I realized that I was not alone, and that my injury was similiar to others. People don't realize what a hard and long recovery it is for this injury. I think it is because we don't wear a cast or don't wear one for very long. I, too, believe in God's healing.
I wish you the best.

Apr 21, 2013
to Mary NEW
by: Debi

Hi Mary, it's good to hear from you, and to share to buoy each other! I understand your confusion of the word fracture vs break. "Fracture" in medical terminology DOES mean break. The words that accompany the word fracture communicate the shape and severity of the fracture. Hairline fracture is not through the bone, and appears in an xray as a fine line. Once in a while a hairline fracture is not discovered until the body starts healing a few days and then the over production of bone in the xray makes it more easily seen. Even a hairline fracture is extremely painful, and often still needs support for healing. A Greenstick is also an incomplete fracture, but the bone is bent; most often seen in children because their bones give more. A Compound fracture is when the bone has broken and the skin has been punctured with it. The risk is "compounded" by the possibility of infection. A Transverse fracture is a complete horizontal break in the bone. An Oblique fracture is angled, curved or sloped. A Comminuted fracture is when the bone fragments into three or more pieces, and can go in multiple directions; usually from a lot of force. That's what my proximal radius did when I fell on that elbow. There are probably more, oh, one more I can think of is Impacted, also known as a buckled fracture when one bone end is driven into the other. This is a fracture seen in children...doesn't that sound horrifying!? I shudder at the thought! How wonderful that we have surgeons to piece us back together and our wonderful God to heal us! Last year on my wedding anniversary I was having my surgery. This next week I am going to take my severed and stretched wedding band to a good jeweler to see if it can be repaired so I can wear it again. My husband and I have matching wedding bands. They are beautiful and I have never seen any like them, although I am sure some exist out there. They are from Orange Blossom Company, with yellow and white gold. The white gold is the straight, and smooth outer edge and the yellow gold is predominant color of metal seen in the center. The edge of the yellow gold is milgrained, and then, inside the milgrain are scalloped edges. The rounded center of the bands were originally florentined, but both our bands have worn smooth and shiny in the middle, and we like them that way. When we went to look at rings it was so neat because we both spied the ring at the same time and said in unison, "I like that one!". The rings had to be custom ordered because the jeweler told us they could not be sized. So, I really hope it can be repaired by the most reputable jeweler we have here. This anniversary...I want my ring back on my finger! I hope no one begrudges me sharing this. Having my wedding band cut off felt like it wounded my heart. I want that healed too. Have a blessed day.

Apr 21, 2013
To Debi NEW
by: Mary

Your rings sound beautiful. I do hope you will be able to wear them again. For some reason, it was about a year before I could wear my rings on my hand of my injured elbow. The rings were too small, even though my swelling was over with. The doctors and therapists could not tell me the reason. Although I have lost over 25 pounds since my injury, I still have to wait about an hour before I can wear my rings on that hand in the morning. It's the craziest thing!!! How ironic...I broke my elbow on our 28th Anniversary trip. We were on our first day. Sometimes, things just don't go as we plan, do they? You must be in the medical profession. You have so much medical knowledge that I find helpful.


Apr 22, 2013
research and knowledge NEW
by: Debi

Hi Mary,
I am a sort of research specialist. Most anything can be ferreted out on the internet, but you are right. I had worked in the medical field for many years. I started in insurance follow up, and advanced to medical coding. The last five years I worked I was a certified professional medical coder. I gave up the profession in 2005 due to a combination of my disillusion with what the profession had become over the 15 years from when I had began and my chronic back pain from osteoarthritis. I worked in many settings and with many specialties, and one of them was orthopedics. When my surgeon told me she was going to do an implant I asked her which brand. She looked kind of taken aback and asked, "why?" My answer was, "because I have researched them and I want to know which it is, like in case of recalls, etc." She said the manufacturers name, then, and then turned and strode out the room. I came straight home and pulled it up and read everything on the site, including the instructions for how to do the procedure for the surgeon, the risks, and the expected prognosis, and the limitations. A GOOD doctor does not begrudge questioning, and I am probably, because of my nature, not the easiest patient for a doctor to encounter...because I ask questions they may not be used to getting. I want to have complete confidence in my doctors; I can only sing praises for everyone I encountered that cared for me. I believe I had an excellent surgeon, and physical therapist.

Apr 29, 2013
Radial Head Removed after fracture NEW
by: Joe

My wife had her right radial head removed after an injury during 2003. She is now into female body building physique shows. She started having trouble with the shoulder presses and bench pressing exercises. We saw a doctor who said stop all those pushing exercises, but provided no alternative exercises were given. She does not want surgery to replace the radial head. My wife is 52 years old and 4’11”. Do you know of other ways for her accomplish exercises for the shoulder a chest or something to help her with those exercise?
Thank Joe

Apr 29, 2013
To Joe NEW
by: Debi

Joe, the manufacturer of the radial head replacement I received stated the patient was to be advised that the joint was not for excessive weight bearing.

Excessive weight bearing means different things to different people. My PT said if it brought pain, to stop it, that was the deciding factor for how much was too much.

For a bodybuilder, pushing through pain is normal. There is an article on livestrong.com on bodybuilding after elbow replacement. Please look that up and read it if you have not already. It does state that surgeons do not recommend heavy lifting after surgery, so there may be permanent restrictions to bodybuilding.

I do not know of any other method than weight bearing to build muscle. I would suggest she seek a physical therapist to ask what recommendations they could give her.

I know this is not what she may want to hear. I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you. God bless.

Apr 30, 2013
radial head NEW
by: colin

Hello Linda,

September 2011, I was knocked of my cycle and suffered radial fractures to both elbows, the clicking, cracking noises have taken so far 20 months to die down.

I figured I would be back to normal within 6 months but it has taken a lot longer, I was told I may develop arthritis in the future also but I have now full movement and most of my strength back, at the time I could not even pick up the kettle.

I am now I would say about 95% back to where I was before the accident, so I would say persevere and use a sports hand grip tool and do some very light weights, massage etc. and you will recover. Good luck.

Apr 30, 2013
radial head NEW
by: colin

Hello Linda,

September 2011, I was knocked of my cycle and suffered radial fractures to both elbows, the clicking, cracking noises have taken so far 20 months to die down.

I figured I would be back to normal within 6 months but it has taken a lot longer, I was told I may develop arthritis in the future also but I have now full movement and most of my strength back, at the time I could not even pick up the kettle.

I am now I would say about 95% back to where I was before the accident, so I would say persevere and use a sports hand grip tool and do some very light weights, massage etc. and you will recover. Good luck.

Apr 30, 2013
radial head NEW
by: colin

Hello Linda,

September 2011, I was knocked of my cycle and suffered radial fractures to both elbows, the clicking, cracking noises have taken so far 20 months to die down.

I figured I would be back to normal within 6 months but it has taken a lot longer, I was told I may develop arthritis in the future also but I have now full movement and most of my strength back, at the time I could not even pick up the kettle.

I am now I would say about 95% back to where I was before the accident, so I would say persevere and use a sports hand grip tool and do some very light weights, massage etc. and you will recover. Good luck.

Sep 10, 2013
3 years after radial head injury NEW
by: Rene

I broke my radial head (left, non dominant arm) three years ago in a trip and fall accident. Initially was put in a splint type cast and scheduled for surgery. Within a couple weeks had 1st surgery. Dr put together the bone pieces with plate and screws. Was in physical therapy within four days. Months of pt and bone didn't heal. Pain was ever increasing. Was told by another surgeon that he recommended a radial head replacement. 2nd surgery one year after the first. Radial head replacement. Months again in physical therapy and was still having much pain and discomfort. Did not, after either surgery, get to a point where I could straighten my arm, touch my shoulder etc. Continued to have problems with pain and discomfort along with numbness in pinky and ring fingers (due to ulnar nerve damage) Had very limited use of arm. Missed 6 months of wok between the two surgeries. Then conferred with my surgeon about a possible 3rd surgery. One year after 2nd surgery, went in for 3rd surgery. This time removal of radial head with no replacement. Back in to pt for a couple months. Another 3 months off work. It's now been a year since 3rd surgery. There is improvement as far as level of pain. But the pain is still there to a lesser degree. Depending on how much I use my arm on any given day. If I have to use it more (say at work) then the pain is worse than if I don't use it at all or very little. Still unable to straighten arm. But I've resigned myself to that and realize I probably will not be able to again. Doctors of course have told me it will never be the same. My worry now is proximal radial migration, which the surgeons have told be is a possibiliy. I try not to think negatively, but with everything I've been through its hard not to consider the worst scenarios. Which i find myself doing. Right now I'm doing pretty well and still doing exercises to strengthen (lost a lot of strength) and still work on straightening (still hopeful). It's been a rocky road. Long, stressful and frustrating but still hanging in there.

Sep 10, 2013
Proximal Radial Migration NEW
by: Anonymous

What is Proximal Radial Migration? Are you telling us there is more to be concerned about?

Oct 12, 2013
Radial head replacement NEW
by: Anonymous

My teenager (16) had radial head surgery they replace with titanium now after 3 months doctor tells its recovering very well and after few minute he says she need surgery again since her bones arent grabing titanium well it seems lil off :(((( what do i do now i dont want my baby go through a second surgery. I asked doctor what if even after second surgery if bone doesnt grabs titanium he goes surgery only fixes this problem if not titanium might fall :( any suggestion

Oct 12, 2013
Radial head replacement NEW
by: Anonymous

My teenager (16) had radial head surgery they replace with titanium now after 3 months doctor tells its recovering very well and after few minute he says she need surgery again since her bones arent grabing titanium well it seems lil off :(((( what do i do now i dont want my baby go through a second surgery. I asked doctor what if even after second surgery if bone doesnt grabs titanium he goes surgery only fixes this problem if not titanium might fall :( any suggestion

Oct 12, 2013
Radial head replacement NEW
by: Anonymous

My teenager (16) had radial head surgery they replace with titanium now after 3 months doctor tells its recovering very well and after few minute he says she need surgery again since her bones arent grabing titanium well it seems lil off :(((( what do i do now i dont want my baby go through a second surgery. I asked doctor what if even after second surgery if bone doesnt grabs titanium he goes surgery only fixes this problem if not titanium might fall :( any suggestion

Oct 12, 2013
Radial head replacement NEW
by: Anonymous

My teenager (16) had radial head surgery they replace with titanium now after 3 months doctor tells its recovering very well and after few minute he says she need surgery again since her bones arent grabing titanium well it seems lil off :(((( what do i do now i dont want my baby go through a second surgery. I asked doctor what if even after second surgery if bone doesnt grabs titanium he goes surgery only fixes this problem if not titanium might fall :( any suggestion

Oct 12, 2013
To New Titanium Radial Head Needing 2nd Surg NEW
by: Debi

Dear Mother of 16 year old,
When mine was placed it was held by cement. But, I am 59 years old. Your son is still growing. His may or may not have had cement. The manufacturer of mine gave warning that the cement had been known to fail with excess weight bearing. Regardless, you certainly would want him to have another surgery if the implant is not seated firmly. I have read descriptions of the excruciating pain being like someone had slammed their elbow with a sledge hammer when the implant failed. Failed and the joint dislocated completely from within. You surely want to spare him THAT experience. I would also ask his surgeon if he plans to reuse the implant that is there. It's a trick question. The implant CANNOT be reused. (but how would you know that) When he tells you it cannot be reused then ask him to explain how this surgery will ensure success. Is he using another technique? Is he going with a different manufacturer? Have him explain to you the reasons why he does or does not. When he finishes explaining it all to you so that you understand what has to be done and why then ask him how much time is there to make the decision, and why. And then, time permitting, find another pediatric orthopedic surgeon and get a second opinion. Have that surgeon explain his findings and options of care and then you will have a clear understanding, and in doing so, you should have some peace of mind that you are proceeding with knowledge and assurance that this is the right thing to do for your child. God Bless! I will keep you and your son in my prayers.

Oct 14, 2013
Need advice please NEW
by: nancy

I broke my radial head on my right dominant hand in 3 places and needed surgery sept 19th with 3 screws. I was in a splint for 2.5 weeks. Now splint is off and i start physio tommorrow, almost 4 weeks after surgery. my hand and fingers are swollen and i cant use my wrist. i have been trying to move my fingers for 2 days and can move more now but they are bent. my doctor said it takes 6-8 weeks for bones to heal. sometimes 3-4 months for some people. my question is, if that is the case, my bones will not be healed for physio and will physio make/take the radial head longer to heal? maybe it is a balance between physio and bones healing? why does this injury only need a splint for 2 weeks and not 6/7 weeks like other injuries? how will i know if physio is delaying the bone healing process? and do you think i am starting physio to late? and can you tell me the exercises i can do at home to help? great website and any info you can give me will be very much appreciated. thanks very much.

Oct 14, 2013
Need advice please NEW
by: nancy

I broke my radial head on my right dominant hand in 3 places and needed surgery sept 19th with 3 screws. I was in a splint for 2.5 weeks. Now splint is off and i start physio tommorrow, almost 4 weeks after surgery. my hand and fingers are swollen and i cant use my wrist. i have been trying to move my fingers for 2 days and can move more now but they are bent. my doctor said it takes 6-8 weeks for bones to heal. sometimes 3-4 months for some people. my question is, if that is the case, my bones will not be healed for physio and will physio make/take the radial head longer to heal? maybe it is a balance between physio and bones healing? why does this injury only need a splint for 2 weeks and not 6/7 weeks like other injuries? how will i know if physio is delaying the bone healing process? and do you think i am starting physio to late? and can you tell me the exercises i can do at home to help? great website and any info you can give me will be very much appreciated. thanks very much.

Oct 15, 2013
Type 1 radial head fracture 5 weeks out NEW
by: Anonymous

Had a fall on my road bike 5 weeks ago. Spent first 2weeks in splint with sling then encouraged to use the elbow as much as possible depending on pain. Had second follow up with hand and arm specialist today. Bone is healing well and about 15% from straightening fully. Accident occurred in September. Orthopedist said ill be back on bike by Thanksgiving, push-ups by Easter. Between now and then, he said my list of things that I cant do ( ie, lifting a pot, turning door knob) will get smaller but to expect pain to be on and off for 6 months. Explained that a fracture in a joint is very different than a fracture of other bones. He has had the same injury and indicated it does take a while. Very reassuring given my current frustration level. Feel very blessed that no surgery and slowly improving each week. Might help others to know that my pain actually got worse n weeks 3/4 post injury due to increased use after splint was removed. Again, reassured that this is normal. I was back to the gym after 2 weeks but many cardio and some very light weights. Im 42 and very active normally.

Oct 15, 2013
Type 1 radial head fracture 5 weeks out NEW
by: Anonymous

Had a fall on my road bike 5 weeks ago. Spent first 2weeks in splint with sling then encouraged to use the elbow as much as possible depending on pain. Had second follow up with hand and arm specialist today. Bone is healing well and about 15% from straightening fully. Accident occurred in September. Orthopedist said ill be back on bike by Thanksgiving, push-ups by Easter. Between now and then, he said my list of things that I cant do ( ie, lifting a pot, turning door knob) will get smaller but to expect pain to be on and off for 6 months. Explained that a fracture in a joint is very different than a fracture of other bones. He has had the same injury and indicated it does take a while. Very reassuring given my current frustration level. Feel very blessed that no surgery and slowly improving each week. Might help others to know that my pain actually got worse n weeks 3/4 post injury due to increased use after splint was removed. Again, reassured that this is normal. I was back to the gym after 2 weeks but many cardio and some very light weights. Im 42 and very active normally.

Oct 15, 2013
Type 1 radial head fracture 5 weeks out NEW
by: Anonymous

Had a fall on my road bike 5 weeks ago. Spent first 2weeks in splint with sling then encouraged to use the elbow as much as possible depending on pain. Had second follow up with hand and arm specialist today. Bone is healing well and about 15% from straightening fully. Accident occurred in September. Orthopedist said ill be back on bike by Thanksgiving, push-ups by Easter. Between now and then, he said my list of things that I cant do ( ie, lifting a pot, turning door knob) will get smaller but to expect pain to be on and off for 6 months. Explained that a fracture in a joint is very different than a fracture of other bones. He has had the same injury and indicated it does take a while. Very reassuring given my current frustration level. Feel very blessed that no surgery and slowly improving each week. Might help others to know that my pain actually got worse n weeks 3/4 post injury due to increased use after splint was removed. Again, reassured that this is normal. I was back to the gym after 2 weeks but many cardio and some very light weights. Im 42 and very active normally.

Oct 15, 2013
Type 1 radial head fracture 5 weeks out NEW
by: Anonymous

Had a fall on my road bike 5 weeks ago. Spent first 2weeks in splint with sling then encouraged to use the elbow as much as possible depending on pain. Had second follow up with hand and arm specialist today. Bone is healing well and about 15% from straightening fully. Accident occurred in September. Orthopedist said ill be back on bike by Thanksgiving, push-ups by Easter. Between now and then, he said my list of things that I cant do ( ie, lifting a pot, turning door knob) will get smaller but to expect pain to be on and off for 6 months. Explained that a fracture in a joint is very different than a fracture of other bones. He has had the same injury and indicated it does take a while. Very reassuring given my current frustration level. Feel very blessed that no surgery and slowly improving each week. Might help others to know that my pain actually got worse n weeks 3/4 post injury due to increased use after splint was removed. Again, reassured that this is normal. I was back to the gym after 2 weeks but many cardio and some very light weights. Im 42 and very active normally.

Oct 16, 2013
To Nancy NEW
by: Debi

Nancy, it sounds like your radial head fracture was at the wrist. Distal radial head fracture is at the wrist, proximal radial head fracture is at the elbow. I had a Type IV proximal radial head fracture. I found my physical therapist very helpful. In answer to your questions, 1st, no the physical therapy will not hinder or mess up the healing of the bone. 2nd, the reason you start the physical therapy before the bone is healed is to prevent the joint from stiffening. It is very important that you get clear understanding from your physical therapist what you can and cannot do. Ask your PT to tell you how you can tell what is "too much". Mine told me to NEVER push through pain. He said stop at the point of pain. Whatever movement I was doing was just done to the point of pain, then just repeat that movement...like two sets of 10. Amazingly, also, I was told to just work it every other day. And every other day when I would return, I was able to move a little further. It takes time; and every person's healing time is different. Doctor will give you an "expect to be able to resume by blah blah date." PT will tell you, "Listen to your body. Be dedicated and persistent, but understand your body is healing, slow and steady, we WILL get there!" And you will. Read everything on this site. It will give you a huge understanding of how differently people's bodies respond to treatment. Go forward with patience and confidence. And, always ASK those questions that come to your mind when you get with your doctor or therapist. I had to write them down to remember them when I got back with the therapist a few days later. Make note of new sensations, sounds like clicking. Mention them. They are sometimes valuable information to the therapist. Best wishes and prayers for a complete and successful recovery!

Oct 16, 2013
Re: Nancy NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi Nancy,
I had many of the same questions and issues as you. I did not have screws but I had surgery to remove bone fragment and smooth radial head. My fingers were bent and swollen, my wrist was swollen and I couldn't bend it hardly at all. I started physio about the same as you and it helped tremendously. The reason this type of injury is treated differently is because it's a joint and if you left it in a sling for 6 weeks the muscles would essentially freeze up and you would have a much more difficult time to return to normal. It will not interfere with the bone healing.The recovery takes time, persistence and patience. They will give you exercise instructions to work on at home but make sure they are aware of your wrist and fingers because they tend to concentrate on the elbow. They gave me putty to work my fingers at home and told me to try flattening my wrist on a smooth surface in very warm water which helps to relax the muscles. Sounds to me like you are on the right path to recovery.

Oct 16, 2013
To Nancy, a little more after reread your questions NEW
by: Debi

Nancy,
Don't try any exercises until you see the physical therapist; but you may put ice to help with the swelling. I was advised to try to sit on the sofa so I could lay my arm on its back (if possible) to elevate it. Take a bag of frozen peas or mixed veggies (or several of them)and slide it(them) inside a pillow case so that layer of fabric is between your skin and the bag. Fashion it around the injured area. Allow it to remain there for 10 - 15 minutes, no longer than 20 min. This will give you a good deep penetration of cold, but will not give you frostbite. And the peas will not thaw completely if you are using 1 lb bags. Then take it off and return the bags of peas to the freezer. Reuse them as needed. You can give yourself this treatment every hour if you need to; to help with pain, and to help the swelling. When you go to PT, he/she will determine your limits and will advise you what to start to do. Expect each time you go to get new exercises added.
also, when you begin to try everyday tasks and find you cannot do something, tell your PT when you return to them. They will advise you an exercise to ramp you up to the task. I highly recommend physical therapy to all who have these kinds of injuries. They work best for you individually when you give them feedback of what you have been doing, tried to do unsuccessfully, and you trust them. They are not wanting to cause you pain!

Oct 16, 2013
Reply Radial head replacement NEW
by: CB

If you are still looking for a second opinion on your teenagers radial head replacement you should look for a sports type orthopedic doctor, check websites etc. You want one that might be near your local college or athlete center in your area. I had a radial head replacement in 2009, and this year I had to have the replacement removed as the radial head had come loose and was causing new damage.

I knew something was wrong when I could not touch the elevator buttons without causing shooting pain going up through my arm. I am 50 years old and had never felt anything like it. I found a sports related orthopedic doctor, and then was informed that my injury had to be referred to another doctor 50 plus miles away. A specialist of specialists for the arm. Well worth all the trips. Luckily, my therapy appointments are much closer to home. Again research the therapist, too. I found a hand specialist for therapy.

My radial head removal has now left my bone lying free in my arm. Every situation is different so having the right staff on board is very important.
I had surgery on August 15th, and although I do therapy twice a week with a therapist, and daily at home I still have not been authorized to pick anything up or to grip anything. The range of motion is almost fully back from a range of 10 to 134 as of my last therapy appointment.

I hope that my next Dr. appointment in November will have me back to work at least part-time.

This is a hard injury to recover from, celebrate the small things. I told my therapist that I used the chip exercise... If I could use my bad arm to reach a chip and get it in my mouth I could have another chip. It worked.

Also, I use ice a lot 20 minutes every hour on the hour all day long. During ice time my arm is kept elevated. During the 30 + minutes of free time each hour I spend no more than 10 on light moving exercises with no more than the weight of my arm. At night my doctor provided a brace that is worn all night every night for the next 6 months or more in extension mode.

Good luck, but do not be surprised if it takes longer than anyone expected.

Oct 16, 2013
Reply Radial head replacement NEW
by: CB

If you are still looking for a second opinion on your teenagers radial head replacement you should look for a sports type orthopedic doctor, check websites etc. You want one that might be near your local college or athlete center in your area. I had a radial head replacement in 2009, and this year I had to have the replacement removed as the radial head had come loose and was causing new damage.

I knew something was wrong when I could not touch the elevator buttons without causing shooting pain going up through my arm. I am 50 years old and had never felt anything like it. I found a sports related orthopedic doctor, and then was informed that my injury had to be referred to another doctor 50 plus miles away. A specialist of specialists for the arm. Well worth all the trips. Luckily, my therapy appointments are much closer to home. Again research the therapist, too. I found a hand specialist for therapy.

My radial head removal has now left my bone lying free in my arm. Every situation is different so having the right staff on board is very important.
I had surgery on August 15th, and although I do therapy twice a week with a therapist, and daily at home I still have not been authorized to pick anything up or to grip anything. The range of motion is almost fully back from a range of 10 to 134 as of my last therapy appointment.

I hope that my next Dr. appointment in November will have me back to work at least part-time.

This is a hard injury to recover from, celebrate the small things. I told my therapist that I used the chip exercise... If I could use my bad arm to reach a chip and get it in my mouth I could have another chip. It worked.

Also, I use ice a lot 20 minutes every hour on the hour all day long. During ice time my arm is kept elevated. During the 30 + minutes of free time each hour I spend no more than 10 on light moving exercises with no more than the weight of my arm. At night my doctor provided a brace that is worn all night every night for the next 6 months or more in extension mode.

Good luck, but do not be surprised if it takes longer than anyone expected.

Oct 16, 2013
Reply Radial head replacement NEW
by: CB

If you are still looking for a second opinion on your teenagers radial head replacement you should look for a sports type orthopedic doctor, check websites etc. You want one that might be near your local college or athlete center in your area. I had a radial head replacement in 2009, and this year I had to have the replacement removed as the radial head had come loose and was causing new damage.

I knew something was wrong when I could not touch the elevator buttons without causing shooting pain going up through my arm. I am 50 years old and had never felt anything like it. I found a sports related orthopedic doctor, and then was informed that my injury had to be referred to another doctor 50 plus miles away. A specialist of specialists for the arm. Well worth all the trips. Luckily, my therapy appointments are much closer to home. Again research the therapist, too. I found a hand specialist for therapy.

My radial head removal has now left my bone lying free in my arm. Every situation is different so having the right staff on board is very important.
I had surgery on August 15th, and although I do therapy twice a week with a therapist, and daily at home I still have not been authorized to pick anything up or to grip anything. The range of motion is almost fully back from a range of 10 to 134 as of my last therapy appointment.

I hope that my next Dr. appointment in November will have me back to work at least part-time.

This is a hard injury to recover from, celebrate the small things. I told my therapist that I used the chip exercise... If I could use my bad arm to reach a chip and get it in my mouth I could have another chip. It worked.

Also, I use ice a lot 20 minutes every hour on the hour all day long. During ice time my arm is kept elevated. During the 30 + minutes of free time each hour I spend no more than 10 on light moving exercises with no more than the weight of my arm. At night my doctor provided a brace that is worn all night every night for the next 6 months or more in extension mode.

Good luck, but do not be surprised if it takes longer than anyone expected.

Oct 17, 2013
more info NEW
by: nancy

hi debi and anonymous,

thks so much for your comments. debi, the surgery was on my elbow but my wrist is sore, maybe it is sprained. I had an xtray on it and not broke but physio said maybe sprained.

also I am wondering if someone can give me an idea when I could return to work? I am right handed and do accounting work and have to write and type. I had the surgery sept 19th. right now I can hold a toothbrush but cant brush my teeth. I cant wash under my left arm and cant tie my shoes,

thanks nancy

Oct 17, 2013
Nancy NEW
by: Kathy

Hi Nancy,
Sorry I forgot to include my name on my original post, I'm the anonymous one :) everyone recovers at a different rate because there are so many factors to take into account. For me, I broke mine 10/31/2011 (you can read my December posts soon after) and returned to my administrative job on 1/1/12. In all honesty, i didn't think i would have normal use of my arm ever again and I wasn't sure even in December if I was going to be ready but once my therapy and healing started moving along well my recovery did also. My arm was significantly weaker and even after I returned to work I continued to see improvement in ROM and strength. I was 39 at the the time. Again, this was just my experience and everyone recovers at a different rate due to severity, surgery, age, etc.

Oct 17, 2013
fyi NEW
by: cb

sorry for all the duplicate posts. Either my computer or the site kept telling me that the information did not go through.

I wish everyone the best of luck with their recovery.

My original time off work for my non dominate arm trplacement of radial head was 35 days, but I was lucky in that I was able to return to work for half days.


Oct 20, 2013
Radial head Replacement NEW
by: cyndi

I fell from a horse and shattered my radial head. I have had radial head replacement surgery on June 10th, 2013. I am 4 months out of surgery and have been going to physical therapy 2xs a week for since last week of July. I have reached -25 in extension and -130 in supplication . I am at a stand still. They just ordered the braces for me Thursday so I do not have them yet if 8 weeks of the braces and therapy do not work Doctor is talking about either putting in a smaller radial head or removing it completely . Any suggestions

Oct 20, 2013
to Cyndi NEW
by: Debi

Cyndi, my narratives on this site begin August 13, 2012. I just want you to know everyone is different with their recovery. The brace that was ordered for me would not fit, and I never used it. If you will look through my posts I have described the exercises that I had to do for my PT. I suggest you compare them to what you have done and if you find some that you have not been prescribed ask your physical therapist if you can do them; and try them. My therapist kept changing and adding exercises, and bands to keep me moving along. When I left physical therapy he gave me graduated bands to continue exercising and working at it. It took me a long time to get close to full range of motion in a normal movement without concentrating to do it. I described how it was frustrating to seem that I had to "will" myself to get a cup I was holding to my mouth. At this time, I have good functional range of motion. I can manage very well. There are some things I cannot do. My therapist told me to never hold the lead when walking my dog in my left hand; I still don't have the strength in my left had that I had; and feel certain I never will. As far as having the surgery again, all I can recommend is talk to your physical therapist and see if he thinks you are not responding as you should. I found my surgeon was expecting a little too much too soon for myself. I felt my physical therapist was excellent. He was not who my surgeon recommended; but he was at the hospital nearest to me, still affiliated with the hospital that did the surgery; and if I went to him, instead of to one of those physical therapy outpatient centers, my visits were included as follow up to my surgery, so I had no co-payments to pay. It saved me a huge amount of money, first of all, but I truly felt my physical therapist was excellent. When my surgeon told me I was not as far along as she thought I should be and she wanted me to go to a hand therapist, I was incensed because I had been doing as my doctor had told me to do, and NOT doing what she had told me not to do. I decided I was going to just tell my therapist and ask him to give me more to do. He decided to contact my surgeon himself to make certain they were in agreement for what my physical therapist felt I could do; and we proceeded from there. A month later, my doctor could see I was improving. If your physical therapist thinks there is nothing else that can be tried; (he's not going to say 'I don't recommend another surgery'...they are not going to contradict each other)and if you have worked at it and know you have a problem, then, of course, you may need to have the surgery. I hope you have a surgeon you trust and a good physical therapist that you trust also.

Oct 20, 2013
cyndi NEW
by: cb

Hello Cyndi,

I totally understand how frustrating a -25 in extension is. I was at a - 35 to -40 for almost 4 years until my most recent surgery.
You may want to ask the surgeon why he is suggesting both of those surgeries, and if a MUA could help. I finally had to have my radial head replacement removed but that was after 4 years.
I understand that without the radial head my weight limit will be substantially reduced for the rest of my life. I will be unable to pick-up my grandkids, etc. I am extremely excited by my new range of motion though, so it will be totally worth it. Last measurement -10 to 134.

I did gain some ground when I was at a stand still back in 2009 by having a MUA surgery. Manipulation under anesthia. The scar tissue was forming quicker than I could keep my arm moving and keep it broke up. This surgery along with a full motion machine helped, but as I stated I still was stuck at a -35 to -40 but I was able to get to a 140 so I could handle telephones, etc.

Back in 2009 my surgeon stated that a MUA would only be helpful for a specific amount of time after the original surgery.

God bless.



Oct 20, 2013
Cyndi and CB NEW
by: Debi

CB I think your advice to Cyndi is great, and clearly, my experience is nothing like what you two have had. Best wishes, Cyndi. I just want to tell you that even with a successful radial head replacement and good range of motion, that arm is weak. It was a year July 17th since my surgery. I try to do things sometimes and realize I cannot do them. Example, tonite I picked up a 30 pound open bag of cat food with my right (good) arm. I thought I would use my left to support the bag underneath to pour it into a 5 gallon bucket. Wrong. I do not have the strength to do it. It took me until about May to be able to pour a glass of milk from a newly opened gallon of milk with my left hand without having to support it with my right. The manufacturer of the radial head warned against weight bearing. The surgeon told me the elbow is not a weight bearing joint, so not to worry. She obviously has not had the experience.
Every time I do something like I did tonight, I do not feel pain then, but the for the next day or two I will have an ache in that joint. The manufacturer did say the cement has been known to fail. So, just a word of caution. I sometimes think I MAY be able to do something, but when it comes to strength, I find I cannot. Best wishes to you both.

Oct 20, 2013
Debi NEW
by: cb

Hello Debi,

Believe me I know about items weighing more than you think. My physical therapist and I were just discussing the gallon of milk issue. I have not been cleared to pick up anything yet since the latest surgery, but was curious if she knew how much a gallon of milk actually weighs. A gallon of milk weighs about 8 pounds, but it is the holding it from a handle in the neutral position and then balancing it in order to pour that causes the stress on the elbow.

Watch the weight limits, and I would suggest getting annual checks on the elbow. Xrays etc. I did not, and by the time I had new symptoms (ie shooting pains when hitting elevator buttons) I was already doing new damage to the rest of the joint as the radial head had come loose and was grinding into the joint.

I really thought I was being very careful and using chairs etc, to support weight when pouring the dog food into containers. I even had help when doing a lot of shopping.

Good luck with your recovery.

Oct 21, 2013
weight bearing in elbow NEW
by: Debi

Thanks, CB, yes, I came to realize that I can pick up an object, say from a table or from the floor...with the elbow straight down beside my waist...but moving that elbow out from the body is where and when I quickly realize my limitation. My surgery was July 17, 2013. When I left physical therapy in November I was aware that I could only pour from a gallon jug if I supported the bottom with my right hand. My PT had me start with putting a cup of water into a gallon jug and pour it back and forth 10 times and gradually build that strength. I thought I would never be able to do it. It was in May...10 months after the surgery before I was able to successfully pour from a full gallon jug into a glass with no support from my other hand. Thanks for giving me the warning. I do realize I just do not have the strength, but, I sometimes think if I am using my right hand WITH the left I may be able to do something...another example that was sobering...we had moved and I wanted to move a chest of drawers across the room. I decided to remove the top three drawers with the clothes still in them, which was socks, slips, and underwear...leaving the shirts and slacks in the bottom two to then push it across the floor. I removed the three drawers and stacked them on the bed; made the move, replaced the drawers. The next day, and for several days after my elbow ached. I realized I had done too much...too late. Yes, our elbows are definitely WEIGHT BEARING when those elbows are not at our waists! Right now I am waiting for my husband's insurance to start...we've moved to another state and he changed jobs...have to wait three months for it to start. Actually, have to wait until after January because they had that "preexisting is not covered for a year". But the new law makes that not applicable come Jan 2014. Otherwise, between my hypothyroidism, arthritis, asthma, and the elbow I reckon we'd be paying premiums for a year for nothin'.

Oct 25, 2013
Redial head replacement NEW
by: Mother of 16 years

Thank you for your prayer & suggestions! I am going through second opinion . Too much bill from insurance since it doesnt cover 100% wish i was in europe :(. Thank you and thanks lord tho could be worse.

Nov 12, 2013
Range of Motion, how long does it take? NEW
by: Nancy

HI Everyone,

I posted a bit earlier. I am having problems with range of motion. I had surgery on sept 19th, then in a splint and sling for 2.5 weeks. I had a splint and sling for 10 days before surgery as regular surgeon was away and doctor at fracture clinic wanted to wait for regular surgeon to see my elbow. Then splint and sling came off Oct 8th and physio/range of motion therapy started Oct 15th. The splint was from just below shoulder to right below my finger nails(the first joint in the fingers). The surgeon wrote for physio, gentle assisted active range of motion therapy for 1 month after splint was off. It was gentle ROM and now I do not have my range of motion back as of Nov 12th. It was my right elbow that broke in 3 places, screws were used to fix and I am right handed. After the splint came off, it felt like my wrist was broke so I have been having problems with my wrist also. I had an x ray done and not broken but maybe sprained/scar tissue etc. I still can not pronate and supernate and I can not extend my arm straight or touch my shoulder with my right hand. I have some questions I am hope you can help me with.

What are the best exercises I can do for pronation and supernation? I have tried door knobs and a broom handle but not helping.

What are the best exercises for straightening the arm and flexing it to reach shoulder? Physio said to walk as gravity will pull arm down and that has helped some but still not straight.

It will be almost 2 months since my surgery, is there a time frame where ROM comes back? I have read it is about 6-7 weeks. Is this correct? Can ROM come back after 3 months?

Any help you can give will be appreciated.

Thanks

Nov 13, 2013
Another Radial Head Fracture Story NEW
by: joanne

Hello All,

I am so thankful I found this page. I am 36 and fell down 10 days ago. Slipped on water getting out of the shower and my left ankle broke and I fell on my right elbow with all of my body weight. I end up with a right elbow Radial Head Fracture. I went to ER and then Orthopedic 3 days later. The orthopedic put me in a splint and sling and wanted me to PT this week and then see him in four weeks. I went to another doctor and got a second opinion. He took the sling off immediately today and gave me a couple of exercises to do. Starting PT tomorrow 3 times a week for six weeks. VERY PAINFUL INJURY and this is my dominant arm so I am very frustrated. I can not bear any weight or lift anything (not sure if I ever will be able to). Trying to stay positive and greatly appreciate everyone who has told their stories. I am scared to death of sleeping tonight without my splint. Imagine I will wake up all night in severe pain. Amazing how a instant can change your outlook on life. I am so thankful for every single body part that I have right now. Hope to get this arm working!!

Nov 18, 2013
Dyma Splint NEW
by: Cyndi

Nov17th started wearing Dyna splint to help with extension. We will see how it goes. It is hard getting 8 hours out of the day to wear this

Nov 19, 2013
To Nancy NEW
by: Mary

I have forgotten most of my exercises. However,
for supination, let your forearm rest on a padded arm rest of a chair or sofa and hold the bottom of a hammer or heavey pliers. Let the top weight of the hammer or pliers lean out from your hand
away from your body while holding to the bottom. Do three sets of ten counts. Do three times a day. The only exercise I can remember for extention is to hold weights (build up in the pounds as you tolerate more) in your hand while that arm dangles down. Hold for one to five minutes at a time. I also always carried my pocketbook, bags etc. in that hand. I also carried a child's bucket of rocks from one part of the house to the other frequently. For many people, the ROM is a slow process even with much physical therapy (Professional as well as home exercises). However, if you will be consistent, and stick with your exercises, most of it will return...even if it takes a year or more. (Some people are blessed and fortunate, and it does not take them that long). This break will definitely change your life, at least for awhile. You WILL get back to normal or at a close normal. Don't quit, and don't give up.

Nov 19, 2013
To Nancy NEW
by: Mary

I have forgotten most of my exercises. However,
for supination, let your forearm rest on a padded arm rest of a chair or sofa and hold the bottom of a hammer or heavey pliers. Let the top weight of the hammer or pliers lean out from your hand
away from your body while holding to the bottom. Do three sets of ten counts. Do three times a day. The only exercise I can remember for extention is to hold weights (build up in the pounds as you tolerate more) in your hand while that arm dangles down. Hold for one to five minutes at a time. I also always carried my pocketbook, bags etc. in that hand. I also carried a child's bucket of rocks from one part of the house to the other frequently. For many people, the ROM is a slow process even with much physical therapy (Professional as well as home exercises). However, if you will be consistent, and stick with your exercises, most of it will return...even if it takes a year or more. (Some people are blessed and fortunate, and it does not take them that long). This break will definitely change your life, at least for awhile. You WILL get back to normal or at a close normal. Don't quit, and don't give up.

Nov 20, 2013
Thanks Mary NEW
by: Nancy

Thanks Mary,

From your comment it appears we will get our rom back even if it takes a year. I have been doing alot of exercises at home and going to physio alot but have not seen alot of improvement so I have been getting discouraged and sad. I will keep trying.

Thanks Nancy

Nov 20, 2013
Thanks Mary NEW
by: Nancy

Thanks Mary,

From your comment it appears we will get our rom back even if it takes a year. I have been doing alot of exercises at home and going to physio alot but have not seen alot of improvement so I have been getting discouraged and sad. I will keep trying.

Thanks Nancy

Nov 20, 2013
To Joanne and Newcomers NEW
by: Nancy

Hi

I just wanted to say that this site is very helpful and if you can read most of the comments it will help with this injury.

I guess we have to always think that things could be worse. We could be born with this injury and never get our ROM back.

All the best to everyone.

Nancy

Nov 20, 2013
Clicking NEW
by: Nancy

Hi Everyone,

Can you tell me what the clicking is? When I try to flex to try to get the right hand to my right shoulder, after I do this, I cant extend my arm again until a click happens and then something lets go and then I can extend my arm. Also when I do wrist and elbow exercises I can hear the click in my elbow and wrist. Is this normal? Is this scar tissue or tissue loosening?

Thanks Nancy

Nov 21, 2013
Range of motion NEW
by: Lynne

I also broke my radial head and coronoid on my dominant hand on 10/13/13. I'm 5 and a half weeks out from injury and still don't have full range of motion. I have difficulty with pronation and supination as well as flex ion and extension. I have been in pt for the last three weeks but the progress is very slow. I am unable to touch shouldered or even feed myself. I'm very nervous that I will not regain almost my full range of motion.

Nov 21, 2013
Range of motion NEW
by: Lynne

I also broke my radial head and coronoid on my dominant hand on 10/13/13. I'm 5 and a half weeks out from injury and still don't have full range of motion. I have difficulty with pronation and supination as well as flex ion and extension. I have been in pt for the last three weeks but the progress is very slow. I am unable to touch shouldered or even feed myself. I'm very nervous that I will not regain almost my full range of motion.

Nov 26, 2013
Numbness in thumb and1st 2 fingers while sleeping NEW
by: Nancy

Hi Everyone,

Now I am getting numbness in thumb and 1st two fingers while sleeping. It wakes me up many times in the night and it feels like my hand and arm have gone to sleep. During the day, I am usually okay and have no numbness once I am awake but today the numbness in thumb and fingers have continued. I sleep on my back and I try to keep arms straight but this makes problem worse. I was able to get back to sleep this morning by putting my arm over my head and resting it above my head. I have been doing more wrist and pronation exercises lately, could this be the cause? Too much exercise? or do you think the radial nerve or median nerve may be damaged? Could they be damaged by too much exercise? I had surgery on sept 19th and did not have this numbness until the last week. I really do not want another surgery to get rid of the numbness.

Any info is much appreciated.

Thanks Nancy

Nov 29, 2013
To Nancy NEW
by: Mary

I had ulnar nerve issues with my radial head fracture, affecting my pinky and ring finger. I went once a week to a neuromuscular massage therapist for 30 minutes. I cannot tell you how much that therapy helped me. I saw some improvement the first time that I went. She knew that I only wanted to work on this issue, and that is what she concentrated on. The cost was $35.00 each time.

Apr 04, 2014
Ouch all of a sudden NEW
by: Geniene

I broke my Radial Head 3 years ago. I have 80% movement. I haven't had any pain for sometime, but in this past few months it's been hurting. Can't lift with it, turning my hand sends me to the ceiling. It comes and goes.... :(

Apr 28, 2014
Frustrated NEW
by: Rene

These posts are great. I had posted previously about my three surgeries. It's been over 3 1/2 yrs since initial injury. Shattered radial head along with displacement, in a fall. 1st surgery surgeon tried to repair with plate and screws. Did not heal. 2nd surgery, radial head replacement. 3rd surgery, total removal of radial head. Third surgery was done in Oct 2012.

My previous post I indicated that there had been some minor improvement from the previous two surgeries. It's been over a year now since the last surgery and unforturnately the pain seems to be getting stronger again each day. Some days slightly better but overall getting worse. Have pain that radiates from the elbow to wrist. Still have the numbness and tingling that I've had all along. Numbness goes into pinky and ring fingers. Dull ache is almost constant. Am also getting shooting pains in elbow now.

I've made another appointment to be examined and see what's going on in there. I always have in the back of my mind what the doctors told me about the possibility of "proximal radial migration" when you have excision of radial head. It's actually more in the forefront of my mind, a constant awareness of that possiblity. Just a very scary thought, as the idea of a one bone forearm is a frightening prospect.

Brief description I found online: Complications of Radial Head Excision: Proximal Radial Migration "In proximal radial migration, deformity is at wrist. Migration more than 2-4 mm is associated w/ wrist pain;
- elbow pain may occur if the proximal radius abuts the capitellum

◦Salvage = one bone forearm (radioulnar synostosis) to maintain elbow flexion/extension & wrist function albeit fixed in rotation"

As many of you have expressed, this injury is a tough one to recover from. Going on 4 years, in September, from initial injury (Sep 2010) and still dealing with the repurcussions. Sorry, don't mean to sound so negative, just am very frustrated at this point.

Apr 28, 2014
Frustrated NEW
by: Rene

These posts are great. I had posted previously about my three surgeries. It's been over 3 1/2 yrs since initial injury. Shattered radial head along with displacement, in a fall. 1st surgery surgeon tried to repair with plate and screws. Did not heal. 2nd surgery, radial head replacement. 3rd surgery, total removal of radial head. Third surgery was done in Oct 2012.

My previous post I indicated that there had been some minor improvement from the previous two surgeries. It's been over a year now since the last surgery and unforturnately the pain seems to be getting stronger again each day. Some days slightly better but overall getting worse. Have pain that radiates from the elbow to wrist. Still have the numbness and tingling that I've had all along. Numbness goes into pinky and ring fingers. Dull ache is almost constant. Am also getting shooting pains in elbow now.

I've made another appointment to be examined and see what's going on in there. I always have in the back of my mind what the doctors told me about the possibility of "proximal radial migration" when you have excision of radial head. It's actually more in the forefront of my mind, a constant awareness of that possiblity. Just a very scary thought, as the idea of a one bone forearm is a frightening prospect.

Brief description I found online: Complications of Radial Head Excision: Proximal Radial Migration "In proximal radial migration, deformity is at wrist. Migration more than 2-4 mm is associated w/ wrist pain;
- elbow pain may occur if the proximal radius abuts the capitellum

◦Salvage = one bone forearm (radioulnar synostosis) to maintain elbow flexion/extension & wrist function albeit fixed in rotation"

As many of you have expressed, this injury is a tough one to recover from. Going on 4 years, in September, from initial injury (Sep 2010) and still dealing with the repurcussions. Sorry, don't mean to sound so negative, just am very frustrated at this point.

Apr 28, 2014
To Geniene NEW
by: Debi

Geniene, I just saw your post; I am sorry, I thought I was getting emails when anyone posted, but I must have missed yours. I hope you have been to the doctor, please don't ignore it. Something is definitely not right!

Apr 28, 2014
To Geniene NEW
by: Debi

Geniene, I just saw your post; I am sorry, I thought I was getting emails when anyone posted, but I must have missed yours. I hope you have been to the doctor, please don't ignore it. Something is definitely not right!

Apr 28, 2014
To Geniene NEW
by: Debi

Geniene, I just saw your post; I am sorry, I thought I was getting emails when anyone posted, but I must have missed yours. I hope you have been to the doctor, please don't ignore it. Something is definitely not right!

May 13, 2014
Broken NEW
by: Anonymous

I did the same it took me 8 weeks to heal but during those keep it elavated

Jun 25, 2014
Question NEW
by: Brian

3 years ago I got my elbow crushed when I was a roughneck. I have had several surgeries (1. some kind of release they cut into the outside of the elbow, 2. radial head replacement and release, 3. they removed the prosthetic and then released both sides of my elbow and moved my ulnar nerve due to some nerve issues I was having.) So after 3 years and these surgeries with countless times going to PT, I still cannot extend or flex my arm all the way. I feel as though my loss of mobility was due to the brace they put me in after each surgery (seeing as how that is pretty much how my arm has stayed even through therapy.) I even almost, out of frustration, just had someone break my elbow for me so I could follow it up with no brace and see how my range of motion would do. No worries, I got talked out of it, nobody wanted to see my partial radius poking out of my arm. My question is, is there any thing I can do to gain mobility back even after 3 years? I am seriously going crazy not being able to workout the way I did. Doesn't help it is my dominant arm and I cannot even hold my phone up to my ear without lifting my arm/tilting my head feeling like an idiot. Is prolotherapy worth giving a shot? I mean it makes sense, but I do not want to shell out that kind of out-of-pocket expense if my case is too far gone. Being 23 with this kind of "handicap" (I use that term loosely,) seriously has me on the brink of insanity.

Jun 26, 2014
Commuted radial head NEW
by: Anonymous

I fell and broke my elbow dr said it was commuted(sp) fracture of the radial head been sux weeks. And pain is recurring again although it has never completely quit. Could it be getting worse?

Jun 26, 2014
to Anonymous with Comminuted Fracture NEW
by: Debi

Dear Friend,
A comminuted fracture is one that has broken into many pieces. Mine was such a fracture, at the proximal end. I had surgery a week later to have a prosthetic radial head replacement. How have you been caring for it? Is the fracture at the distal end (the wrist) or at the proximal end (the elbow)?
What medical care have you received for this injury thus far?

Jun 26, 2014
to Anonymous with Comminuted Fracture NEW
by: Debi

Dear Friend,
A comminuted fracture is one that has broken into many pieces. Mine was such a fracture, at the proximal end. I had surgery a week later to have a prosthetic radial head replacement. How have you been caring for it? Is the fracture at the distal end (the wrist) or at the proximal end (the elbow)?
What medical care have you received for this injury thus far?

Jun 26, 2014
to Anonymous with Comminuted Fracture NEW
by: Debi

Dear Friend,
A comminuted fracture is one that has broken into many pieces. Mine was such a fracture, at the proximal end. I had surgery a week later to have a prosthetic radial head replacement. How have you been caring for it? Is the fracture at the distal end (the wrist) or at the proximal end (the elbow)?
What medical care have you received for this injury thus far?

Jun 27, 2014
continued message to Anonymous NEW
by: Debi

Dear Friend with Comminuted Fracture,
I asked the question above because it sounds to me like you are questioning the pain during healing. I am asking how your injury has been treated because I cannot imagine a comminuted (which means at least three pieces of bone) being treated without surgery or a cast. I suppose it would be possible, IF the bones could all be realigned and then immobilized, somehow. Most have experienced pain for quite some time after such an injury. Even after healing has completed (which isn't complete for a year) one may experience different types of pain...arthritic pain is common, "weather joints", a type of ache that just seems to be always there, flaring up worse with weather changes. Being I am 60 and had "barometric joints" already before my accident, for me it's normal. I'm sure for a young adult in their 20's or 30's it's a cruel and rude awakening. Other pain I have experienced is SHARP pain with what seems like a normal movement, but not consistent, for the same movement has not caused the pain before, and may not be able to be replicated. Just inexplicable. And then there is pain that you may not feel at the time you did some physical activity, but the NEXT DAY, you hurt and ache terribly...and you know you have overdone it. You have strained muscles or tendons that have torqued that bone and now it aches. Healing from a horrendous injury takes time. Your age, the severity of the injury, the immediate care you received, the physical therapy or lack of physical therapy after the treatment to "put you back together" all effect how long it takes to regain use of your elbow or wrist. Pain is present with healing, but it is also a useful tool to determine limits to activity or alert you to a developing problem. Description of pain or sensations helps to identify where the problem lies. For example, tingling or numbness, painful or not, is a nerve problem. So is a burning sensation. Describing your pain to your physician can help them to determine if the pain indicates something alarming that needs to be addressed, or if it is normal to the healing process. Some word descriptors for pain or sensations that can be helpful are aching, burning, crushing, dull, intermittent, numbness, piercing, pounding, sharp, shooting, stabbing, throbbing, tightness, tingling, and when touched (they call that tenderness). My physical therapist told me to STOP any activity that caused pain. He told me when I was working on regaining range of motion to STOP at Point of Pain. He stressed do not "push through it". If you stop at the point of pain, and just continue to do repeat movement stopping just before you feel pain, you will be able to do a little more each day, and you will regain maximum recoverable range of motion in a few months. I hope this has been helpful. Please let us know how you are faring. There is a lot of support here. God bless.

Jul 08, 2014
Radial Head Fracture NEW
by: Luis - Philippines

Im 28 years old. I had a mt. bike crash last June 8, 2014 and suffered a comminuted radial head fracture. ( 3 pcs of bone ) and had ORIF last June 13, 2014. ( 2 screw fixation ) I was put in sling. On July 2 my sling and staples on the incision was removed and began physical therapy ( 3 sessions a week ) . Already had 4 sessions and there are small improvements along the way. The exercises were passive flexion and extension and stretching of the shoulder. Physical therapy is painful but needed to improve ROM and avoid frozen shoulder. Im trying to use the injured arm as much as i can ( bearable pain ) while at home to at least gain some strength. I do believe that my arms will get used to it and become normal ( no pain ) i hope to achieve full ROM soon and do the most important things in life which is family and love ones.

Jul 08, 2014
for Luis NEW
by: Debi

Luis, After the passive motion your PT will give you active exercises for ROM, (which I liked much better, because the passive is them moving your arm and they cannot feel your pain. After you achieve ROM with active exercises you will get exercises to build strength. I found it helped greatly to communicate with my PT the things I was trying to do that were giving me problem. He would give me an exercise to help. Best wishes! Work your exercises and follow the plan and you will see results. It seemed to me I could do a little more each day once I started the active range of motion exercises. I was in PT for four months twice a week after proximal end radial head replacement (proximal end is the elbow; distal is the wrist) surgery. Best wishes, and I will pray for your quick recovery.

Jul 17, 2014
For Debi NEW
by: Luis

Debi thanks. Lets us all pray together for our quick recovery. completed by 8th PT session yesterday and i can say that the passive stretching is still very painful like the 1st session. I agree that the active exercises are better since you can control it from 0 to moderate pain only. I'm now thinking twice if still pursue with the PT sessions or I'll just do my exercises at home. I feel like i can't endure the pain anymore during passive stretching. It felt like im suffering more pain than the improvement. I'm currently at about 94 flexion and 82 extension. I've heard of the JAS splint and it looks like its better than passive stretching. Currently looking on the net to see if I can find it here in the Philippines. How's your recovery/ROM so far? Did you get back to work already? I plan to go back to work this Aug. So far I can already use a laptop to type.

Best Wishes

Jul 17, 2014
Radial head replacement NEW
by: Cyndi

Radial head replacement. I'm one year out of surgeries. I still don't have full range if motion in either direction. Tried Dyna splint. Didn't see a big improvement. So I take one day at a time still doing exercises at home. I'm about 70 at extension and 80 at flex. Still pain on bad weather days or trying to do to much. But when u hurt stop and try again each day sees a lute more it's a slow process. Please be patient with yourself.

Jul 17, 2014
Radial head replacement NEW
by: Cyndi

Radial head replacement. I'm one year out of surgeries. I still don't have full range if motion in either direction. Tried Dyna splint. Didn't see a big improvement. So I take one day at a time still doing exercises at home. I'm about 70 at extension and 80 at flex. Still pain on bad weather days or trying to do to much. But when u hurt stop and try again each day sees a lute more it's a slow process. Please be patient with yourself.

Jul 17, 2014
JAS splint NEW
by: Mary

I had the JAS splint, and I thought it was a royal pain in the "you know what." I had ulnar nerve issues (running up to my ring finger and pinky finger) so my doctor took me off of it. My therapist said that she thought it had helped me, but honestly, I am not so sure.

Jul 17, 2014
ROM and other NEW
by: Debi

Thank you, Luis, and yes, I will pray with and for you! My first post here is August 13, 2012. You may wish to read through it, because I do explain several exercises there. Also, 8/24 and 8/29/12. I wrote quite a bit of detail explaining what I was doing in PT. If you scroll on down through November 2012 you will be able to read the progress I made and the progression of my exercises up until I finished in Nov. One thing I found when I was checking into my benefits coverage was that if I went through the hospital for PT it was considered part of my aftercare of my surgery. So, I had NO copay each time I went. If I had gone to a rehab center, or the hand rehab therapist my surgeon had suggested I would have had a $35 copay for each visit, which I could not have afforded even once a week. I went for 4 months to rehab. When I finished my PT gave me different colored bands to continue on my on at home. I did wind up having a balance to pay when I finished, but it did not break me. And I just sent in what I could until I paid it off. Now, my range of motion is fine, but the strength will never be what it was. I am limited to about 20 pounds on my left arm. Some actions still bring pain, like twisting motion. Wringing a mop, for example, I will wring it gently throughout the time I am mopping my floor. I have terrible ache for days afterward. Should be noted I have only mopped my floors about every 6 months since the accident! Gripping strength is shot. I for the most part cannot open jars. I cannot grip tightly enough with my left hand to open it with my right. I rely on my husband. I did check out some automatic mechanical jar openers at the time, but we have not bought one. I can nearly extend my arm fully, there is a slight bend at the elbow so that the bottom of my fist is level with the top of the fist of my right hand when both are fully extended. It was very difficult for me to get to touch my left shoulder with my left hand, but I do so now without difficulty, but there are sounds, called "crepitus". It's like a crinkly sort of noise. I have no trouble reaching behind my back to scratch with my left hand. I have about the same ability to do that as with the right. All in all, I have recovered well, just lost strength that I have never regained, and had to give up my house cleaning business, because, firstly, it took quite a long time to recover, and secondly, I have a phobic type fear now of falling which precludes me climbing onto step stools, and ladders are OUT. And, of course, I cannot navigate stairs carrying totes full of cleaners or vacuum cleaners, because I cannot hope to hold the left rail to catch myself if I were to lose my balance while carrying heavy items in my right hand. I walk with a cane. I have arthritis in my hip and in my feet, and did before the accident. The difference is NOW I have a fear of falling, so I use the cane to help with my balance...which, I probably should have been doing sooner. I hope my previous posts I referred to are helpful. I recovered from a Type IV dislocation and comminuted fracture of the left elbow that required a titanium radial head prosthetic replacement. I'm a pretty tough ole girl! But, since the accident, I'm RETIRED!

Aug 03, 2014
Soccer radial head fracture NEW
by: Rafael

Hi, I broke my radial head about 2.5 weeks ago while playing soccer. I got a hard sling at the ER and then recommended to an orthopedic, which later on decided to keep the same sling for 10 days.
When the sling was removed my arm was very sensitive and it hurt badly when moving it. Now it has been 6 days since then and I can not fully stretch my arm but I have seen improvement, also I can bend my arm and touch my shoulder with very little pain. I can move my wrist from left to right with no problem. I been doing therapy by myself twice a day, but I hope I will be able to fully stretch my arm one day and regain my strength.
I hope we all can regain movement without pain, and get back to how we were before the injury.
Thank you all for your comments, they have been of so much information.
We can do this!!!

Aug 03, 2014
Soccer radial head fracture NEW
by: Rafael

Hi, I broke my radial head about 2.5 weeks ago while playing soccer. I got a hard sling at the ER and then recommended to an orthopedic, which later on decided to keep the same sling for 10 days.
When the sling was removed my arm was very sensitive and it hurt badly when moving it. Now it has been 6 days since then and I can not fully stretch my arm but I have seen improvement, also I can bend my arm and touch my shoulder with very little pain. I can move my wrist from left to right with no problem. I been doing therapy by myself twice a day, but I hope I will be able to fully stretch my arm one day and regain my strength.
I hope we all can regain movement without pain, and get back to how we were before the injury.
Thank you all for your comments, they have been of so much information.
We can do this!!!

Aug 10, 2014
Debi and All NEW
by: Luis

It's been two months and seems like my ROM is not improving. Elbow is very stiff and I always hear popping sound when I stretch it. Not sure if its the bones crashing with each other or the ligaments. It feels really tight around my elbow. When I type, my arms stays on the bending position. I have to use my left arm to pull my right arm to extension. Is this normal? I live in the highlands and its usually cold in here. I'm afraid my muscles contracted too much that why i feel like this.

Thanks a lot for your response.

Regards,
Luis.

Aug 11, 2014
For Luis NEW
by: Debi

Luis, when did you begin range of motion exercises after the injury? Recommendation is to begin very soon after surgery/injury. The crackling sounds are usually from scar tissue developed in the cartilage.The sounds are not considered alarming. But, a stiff elbow, now that's a real problem.
Range of motion exercises are begun very early because the elbow tends to stiffen with lack of movement. I highly recommend a medical physical therapist. I did post exercises on this site, that I was given after my surgery, and I described how I did them and all the advice I was given by my physical therapist. A physical therapist will tailor exercises to you, taking in consideration not only your injury, but your age, your occupation, and then as you get into it and give feedback, they can make changes to your therapy to address any special needs or if you are having difficulty with the exercises.

Aug 11, 2014
Luis, added note to my above one NEW
by: Debi

Luis,
If you are still going to PT, be sure to tell your therapist about your concerns (I looked back and saw that you have been in therapy). Perhaps what you are feeling is not actually STIFFNESS in the joint, but tightness, which could still be from some swelling. At some point while I was in therapy my physical therapist massaged my arm one day, quite a bit, and that was helpful, although at the time I was getting the massage I could not decide whether I appreciated it so much, because it was somewhat painful to have it massaged so deeply. The best I can tell you is keep working through your exercises every day. The gains I saw seemed small to begin with, but one day added to another in time adds up to remarkable results. I worked my exercises every other day. I did the weight at the end of my wrist (socks with a cup of rice in the toe, tied together) every day for gradually longer periods of time to regain my extension. I would do that while relaxing in my chair watching TV. Sometime about now you should be having a recheck with the surgeon. You can ask him, but I honestly got the most empathetic and helpful instruction from my physical therapist. It was a long recovery for me. Compared to others, I really cannot say, because not everyone's alike, and our injuries vary in severity. I think it is most important after the surgery to have continued communication with your therapist, perseverance in your efforts, and a lot of prayer. You can research your concerns and see what you find on the internet, but be sure to bring that information and questions to your therapist. Then they can understand better what you are going through and be more effective in their help to you.

Aug 12, 2014
To Debi NEW
by: Luis

I began passive ROM 3 weeks post op. The PT is using hot packs both on the elbow and shoulder for 20 minutes. Then ultrasound in the radial head site for 5 minutes, then ice pack for 7 minutes. After that, passive stretching and bending of the elbow for 1 minute (3 sets) which really hurts. (greatest physical pain I felt in my life). Then will end up with an ice pack. I had 8 sessions then I stopped because I can't endure the pain. I'm doing home therapy now - holding a 4 lbs weight while standing. It seemed to help gain a little extension while holding the weight but when I remove the weight, it just gets back. I spend most of the time in work in front of a computer, so my arm is on 90 angle most of the day and while sleeping. Surgeon advice is just to continue with therapy. Latest results from x-ray last week was the fracture lines are still visible and no callus formation noted. I'm now 2 months post op. Was your orthopedist an elbow specialist? Sad to say that there are no ortho elbow specialist in our area.

Aug 13, 2014
To Luis NEW
by: Debi

When I had my surgery I had to have a titanium radial head prosthetic replacement. I had a Type IV dislocation that had not only many pieces, but had also broken the little curve of bone at the end of the elbow called the coronoid process that holds the radius in place. Yes, I had a surgeon that was actually a hand specialist that did the surgery. She wanted me to go to a hand specialist for the physical therapy, but the cost for my out of pocket was prohibitive. I found that my insurance included the physical therapy as follow up to my surgery if I went to the hospital and had the physical therapy instead of going to a free standing physical therapy clinic. For your extension sit in a chair as close to a table as you can get. Position your elbow at the end of the table, wrist facing upward. Place a folded towel under your elbow for cushion, but make certain your arm is not above shoulder level. In fact, if it can be more like the level halfway between your elbow and your shoulder, that is better. Do not use a four pound weight for this. I put rice in socks so they weighed one half pound each. I had six of them. Start with two half pounds. If you tie the opening of the socks into knots you will then have a long sock you can drape over your upward turned wrist. Do it about an inch or so before your wrist. Try to relax and just sit there with the weight for five minutes. Increase the time five minutes each day. When you get so you can do it for 30 minutes you can increase the weight by one half pound. When I was in PT my therapist had half pound weights and some cuffs with velcro fastenings that he would wrap just above my wrist loosely, and secure the weight on the underside so the weight would gently work. The socks and rice were my best idea to replicate it at home. He thought that was ingenious when I told him what I had done. I would do it several times a day. Hopefully you get some breaks at work so you can do the same. I'd stay away from applying heat. It makes the inflammation increase. Also, to replicate the icing I was getting in therapy I did this : Get three 2 lb bags of frozen peas. You will be able to use these just for this purpose, over and over. You do not want the bag to be in direct contact with your skin. Put them inside a pillow case. You can then wrap them around your elbow, then wrap an ace bandage around the ice packs to keep them secure. You can leave it on for up to 15 minutes. Then take it off and wait an hour. During that hour the frozen peas come out of the pillow case and go back into the freezer. At the end of one hour you put them back on. You can at least do this at night after you have done your extension stretch. Do it several times. The peas will deliver good deep cold to the joint. It will help relieve swelling and pain. I have other exercises described in posts on this site. Just go back to 2012 and look for my name in the posts. My accident was July 11, 2012. Go back to then and read my posts from then forward. Regarding the fracture not showing any growth, I recommend you to get a second opinion. You may still require surgery. I am not a physician, so I don't know that. But you owe it to yourself to try every possible avenue. Best wishes. I am keeping you in my prayers, Luis. I'm going to ask my church to pray for you, also. God bless you.

Aug 26, 2014
To Debi NEW
by: Luis

Debi, Thank you. Please extend my thanks to your church also. May God bless us all and give us strength and change our hearts to face and win over our circumstances. I'm only 29 years old and have a 7 year old daughter. I think I'm too young to get this disabling injury. I'm afraid that I may not be able to support my wife and daughter like I used to be due to this. I guess I'm just being impatient and afraid of the future. I'll do the exercises that you did from your posts. Do you have facebook? I would like to add you if you have. Again. Thank you and I hope we all get healed soon

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