Shoulder pain - possibly bursitis, need some first hand advice

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After recovering from surgery, plate and screws from a broken radius back in January, I have now developed nasty shooting pain from the outside of my shoulder down toward my elbow.  Apparently my therapy should have included range of motion exercises during the time my wrist was basically useless.  I do have an appointment in 10 days with a specialist.  In the meantime I'm been told to use heat and ibuprophen.  Doesn't seem to help much.

The pain is getting worse.  I am struggling putting on shirts/jackets and having a very difficult time simply putting my hair in a ponytail.  I don't want to use my arm at all. 

What is anyone's experience with this?  It seems the more I use it the worse the pain gets yet if I rest it I lose even more range of motion.

What treatment can I expect?  How about time of recovery?  Full recovery possible?  What should I be doing prior to my doctor's appointment?

Thanks so much!

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  • Posted

    I had a plate & seven pins in my distal radius January 9th, I have had extreme pain & fluid in my forearm. I go to the ortho tomorrow as an emergency. I’ll let you know what he says. I’ve read online that you can experience a ruptured ligament or nerve damage after this operation. I’ve been desperate for answers & relief just as you have. Like you, the pain is unbearable & resting makes it stiff. I’ll let you know what they say. If they say they can’t help, I will break down. I’ve been to a GP & a rheumatologist, neither could help. I didn’t want to believe it was my plate & screws because of the recovery time but I have to face it. Hugs! 

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    • Posted

      Sounds like we had the same injury in January.  Fortunately my forearm is fine.  My pain is so far removed from the injury that I don't think it is from the surgery - but who knows.  I'll be anxious to hear what your ortho says.  Good luck.

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  • Posted


    I have had some experience with this type of injury, how did you manage yours? My friend is still recovering from her injury that is similar in nature 18 months on. Her injury was sustained via a workplace accident in childcare. The pain was very severe for her and impacted her normal activities of daily living. I empathise as have witnessed the pain assosciated with this type of injury first hand. Originally treatment included physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. Nerve medication such as lyrica.  Even though time has passed and various treatments implemented the lady still struggles from this injury. Please let me know if you find something that works. I agree with the more you use it the worse the pain and if you do not loss of motion. This was the same and resulted in a frozen shoulder. The only pain relief that seems to work and provide relief in the early days was a heat pack and rest yet this led to frustration, loss of motion and further injuries. It is definitely a tough injury and wish you all the best in your recovery 

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  • Posted

    Here's my update 6 weeks after posting.  I saw a shoulder ortho.  After manipulation (he sure knows how to hurt a girl!) he is convinced it is not bursitis but is frozen shoulder.  Gave me a cortisone shot which after 4 days was a tremendous help not only with the shoulder pain but with the residual swelling from my earlier injury and surgery.  I've also been in physical therapy for 2 1/2 weeks with great improvement with pain and range of motion. Religiously doing the exercises at home too. Hoping once the cortisone wears off I won't regress.  I can now put my hair in a ponytail with some discomfort but it doesn't bring me to tears. Can also take things in and out of oven without too much trouble. No longer wake up at night with shooting, searing pain from moving wrong and have more than one positions I can sleep in.  That is a huge relief.  I can also pick up my grandkids - just can't toss them in the air!  Still can't handle too much weight.  Still can't kayak, but have been able to resume (limited) other hobbies.  There's light at the end of this tunnel.

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