Broken elbow now can't straighten my arm after 10 weeks

Posted , 10 users are following.

In November I was kicked by a horse and it completely shattered my right elbow.  The open wound was exposed to all sorts of farmyard debris for a few hours before I was eventually airlifted to hospital. I was originally sent to Minors, but then an orthopaedic surgeon saw me and rushed me straight to theatre where I was in surgery for 3 hours. The consultant managed to "piece" all the bits of bone together using a tension band. I was in hospital for one night and placed on an antibiotic IV. I was then discharged with one week's worth of oral antibiotics.  I was told at this time that I would be able to straighten my arm but maybe not 100%.  Two weeks later, the elbow was so inflamed and hot, that I was admitted to hospital for a week and placed on IV antibiotics, and I also underwent two "wash out" operations, where more debris was removed from the wound.   Again, I was discharged but with NO antibiotics.  Two days later and the wound is severely inflamed yet again and I had to go back to my consultant for a 4 week course of oral antibiotics.   During this time I have been having physio but the elbow is locked and absolutely refuses to move past a 90 degree angle.  Then, last week, the wound become inflamed and sore yet again, and I was admitted to hospital where I underwent surgery to remove the tension band, as my consultant felt this was preventing the infection from healing.   I feel that if the consultant had cleaned the wound out sufficiently when I had the accident, then it would not have become infected.  Also, I am now being told that I may never be able to straighten my arm.  This means no horse riding, no driving, no yoga (which I was going to teach etc).  I cannot get myself dressed as I cannot raise my right arm, and I cannot do other self care things for myself.  My questions are (a) do I have a case for medical negligence regarding the infection and (b) is there a procedure whereby I can straighten my arm?  Many thanks and sorry this is so long winded! (PS, I have now been diagnosed with septic arthritis of the elbow),Lisa

0 likes, 17 replies

Report

17 Replies

  • Posted

    Geez reading your ordeal, how are you holding up ? With the timeline of your injury, has the fracture healed yet ? If so, is it mainly the mobility and the infection you are trying to overcome ?

    I myself fractured my right Elbow and underwent surgery to resposition the fracture of the Humerus from the Radial head trauma. I am having a difficult time regaining the fluidity of movement of the arm after 10 weeks. The information I have gained is that this will ease. Like yourself, I am very active; Aikido, Yoga, Callisthetics, weight's. All now on hold. It's so frustrating as just want to be moveing forward with my activities and Skills development. Since our injuries parallel I suggest perhaps for mutual support we can check in on each other periodocially for morale.

    Take care and Hope to speak soon.

    Blane

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Blane,

      Many thanks for your response to my post and I can wholly sympathise with your predicament - it's so frustrating isn't it?  I think what frustrates me more than anything, is the lack of information.  It is now almost 4 months since my accident, and, although the infection is getting better, I am still on antibiotics, and I still can't straighten my arm at the elbow.  I am having acupuncture and physiotherapy, twice weekly, and I also make sure I do my exercises several times a day.  Although the original prognosis was that I would never straighten the arm, I actually believe that it is getting slightly more flexible, but obviously only time will tell.  I have started to do some yoga, but obviously I can't do anything where I am putting weight on my forearms (the plank for example), and although running is painful (due to the repetitive jerking movement at the elbow), I am managing a lot of power walking.  What exercises are you doing? Are you doing any physiotherapy?  I would fully recommend acupuncture.  Let me know how things are going, as it is really a good idea to touch base with someone in the same situation.  Where are you based by the way?  I am in Cheshire in the UK.  Kind regards, Lisa

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi,

    I just wanted to find out how you 2 were healing up I am going through an ordeal with a Olecranon fracture that was fixed using tension band wire and pins I have made progress with extension but flexion stuck at about 100 also during therapy one day they pushed hard and now my pinky tingly i went for nerve test and my Ulnar nerve is blocked at the elbow so i was advised to stop therapy and now need to get a revision surgery. My elbow feels stiffer everday and now sore on the inner medial epicondyle area I am doing acupunture and ART and just workin on lightly at home until surgery just wanted to see how you healed up. Thanks

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Lisa, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I don't know about the infection and case for medical negligence. I have not been able to straighten my arm far past 90 degrees for over 15 years. What I can tell you is you will learn ways to do basic things for yourself. I can dress and bathe myself, drive, and even do light housework. It will be painful, I don't want to lie to you, there are days when the pain nearly kills me. But you will figure out ways to do things without excessive pain. I wish you the best of luck with everything, it takes a long time to heal from infection and swelling. Do the physical therapy, it's worth it. Good luck

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    My olecranon was broken 8 months ago and last week the metal wire was taken out. I still can't straighten nor bend fully, but I've gone a long way. First few months I had crps in my palm (projected from the elbow), it was very black and swollen and I could barely move my fingers. A combination of things was very helpful, high dose liposomal vitamin c (there are studies demonstrating vitamin c efficacy in treating crps), shilajit (mumio), dr christopher complete bone formula, and more. In addition i fasted twice for 6 days around that time and it helped a lot (there are many testimonies on the power of fasting to heal bones). The hand also healed a lot during vipassana 10 day session when I had time during breaks to experiment with movement at slow pace. I took also sessions with body practioners like feldenkrais and osteopathy). Healthy nutrition i believe is key. By the way vitamin c is also very good for the type of infection described here.  I do nowadays a lot of yoga and swimming and it's very helpful. 

    I have recent xray of my elbow after the metals were taken out. Anyone here can analyze it? Thanks 

    I have 

    Moderator comment: I have removed the link(s) directing to site(s) unsuitable for inclusion in the forums. If users want this information please use the Private Message service to request the details.

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi there,

    I have an Infection due to hardware put in my elbow. On IV antibiotics for 6 weeks sad. How is your elbow doing now? Feels like my infection has gone to my joint as it won't flex more than 90 degrees or extend more than 100 degrees.

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi, my name is Shane I broke my elbow skateboarding and I am a carpenter and work with manufactured homes etc. I did not have to have surgery and was put in splint and removed splint after two weeks the doctor hadn’t followed up on X-ray with me and not assigned physical therapy or exercises until 11 weeks post injury I am now trying physical therapy but still cannot fully extend nor retract my elbow, I am told that scar tissue developed in joint.
    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Fasting has helped me, it induces regeneration of stem cells, also high dose vitamin c, and herbs such as shilajit and "complete bone tissue formula" by dr Christoperhs, and minerals like silica are very important for bone healing, one can purchase horsetail for example. Good luck.  

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi, I hope you have found the help you need to recover. I am 5 months post elbow surgery and am at about -5 extension and nearly full flexion. In the first two months post surgery, I had incompetent PT and barely improved. Once I had competent PT my recovery was much better. At PT they can get me to -1 so I’m hopeful eventually I’ll keep that which is good enough for yoga and other activities. Your physical therapist needs to get your arm to extend by manipulating the muscle. You can’t do this for yourself. It takes a lot of skill. Your job is to keep the extension in your exercises at home. Keep looking until you find a good therapist. Best wishes. 
    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking for help and advice. I fractured my humerous just by the elbow last October. I was in a full arm cast for 4 weeks then a brace for 2 weeks. My physio was messed up as they wouldn't touch me. Then finally my hospital booked me to start intensive physio at beginning of December. I've been going every week and regular exercises at home. They had to inject my elbow on 1st Feb with steroids and anaesthetic (thankfully the bone has healed) and next week they may have to inject my shoulder as I've still got frozen shoulder from wearing the cast. I've also been told I've now got CRPS. From where the cast was, my arm has increased in hair growth and darkness (is this a symptom of CRPS?) Also skin colour is strange. My extension has improved to 30 degrees but flexion is stuck at 90 with a push to 100. I can't touch my face, tie a pony tail and currently not driving sad. I've got to wear a brace at night that pulls on my arm to get it straight. Will my flexion improve and the CRPS symptoms especially the hairyness improve? (it's ok at the mo as i can wear gloves and cardigans). Currently been wearing t-shirts and cardigans all winter as I can't get in or out of jumpers. The consultant says I may have to have an op to release the elbow muscles/tendons. Any advice would be so much appreciated smile Thank you smile

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Elisa, I had some kind of CRPS after my elbow broke, my palm was black and swollen and I couldn't move the fingers. It felt like a string in a guitar was about to pluck. It got much better after using high dose vitamin c (there are research papers on this), fasting, shilajit (mumio), accupuncture, and special oils (like complete bone tissue formula by dr. Christopher and TCM oil), and Traumeel. It's difficult to tell what helped most, perhaps it was combination of things. I think fasting helped most, and vitamin C too. Fasting is known to facilitation healing of injuries, regenerate stem cells and more. Good luck.

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you. I've always fasted once a month just for 18-24 hours. I do find it very hard and it does mess up my mood. I don't have much knowledge or experience with the other things listed. But will look them up smile. Thanks.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      How long did you fast? Was it without water and food or just without food? I've heard stem cells only kick in on day 4 of fasting.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hi, Sorry for replying only now! Life is so busy, I wanted to reply but got sidetracked. I fasted twice for 5 days and then I went to vipassana 10 days and barely ate, it was the best improvement during this time. I also lied on the bed during the breaks and very gently allowed all of my body to start moving again, style Feldenkrais. How is your elbow now?

      Report Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up