Sometimes, we’ll become so familiar with something, we may no longer appreciate its significance. Perhaps it’s the convenience of home refrigeration. In real time even, we can converse with someone who’s thousands of miles away. So, have you become too familiar with your elbow?
Generally, the elbow is out of sight, thus out of mind. However, when the elbow makes even the slightest contact with a hard surface, we’ll suddenly remember its existence.
Immediately, it feels like the most uncomfortable feeling. Although we use the term elbow often, what exactly does this mean? Located between the forearm and upper arm, we’ll find the hinge joint called the elbow.
Formed by three bones, you’ll notice the single humerus bone, and it runs from the upper arm to elbow. As for the other two bones that run from your elbow to wrist, we have the radius and ulna bones.
With the presence of tendons, muscles, and ligaments, we’ll experience proper joint movements along with elbow stability. When the elbow functions properly, the arm and hand will experience full range of motion. If you notice motion impairments though, this is the opposite of a properly functioning elbow.
When any of the three bones experience a fracture (breakage), the breakage will negatively affect movement.
Possible Causes of a Fracture
- Falling directly on the elbow
- Vehicular accidents
- Hard object makes direct contact with the elbow such as a helmet or baseball bat
Are there any noticeable fracture symptoms? Yes.
Possible Symptoms of Fracture
- Redness or bruising of the elbow
- Inability to move elbow through full range of motion
- Swelling in the areas nearest to the elbow, or swelling specifically of the elbow
- Reduced sensation, tingling and even numbness of the elbow, forearm, fingers, or hand
- Persistent pain after an elbow injury
Before we continue, what’s one of the most important truths about elbow fractures? After experiencing an injury, don’t surrender to the following urge: I should ignore the pain.
We can assume that it will not rain today, and we can even assume that our loved ones should know that we love them. Here’s the reality: by not bringing an umbrella, you’ll get wet.
In addition, just because we assume that a loved one should know something, this doesn’t nullify our responsibility to say, “I love you,” “I appreciate you,” and “I’m grateful to have you in my life.”
Bodily injury is another area, which we shouldn’t make assumptions. Instead, we should do our due diligence through professional consultation.
Sadly, attempting a hug, brushing your teeth, dressing yourself, or holding a pencil will feel excruciating, but you don’t have to suffer in silence.
So, what can you do?
Care at Home
- To reduce swelling and pain, keep arms elevated
- To reduce inflammation, consider anti-inflammatory foods like garlic, lemon, and celery
- Every few hours (3-6), apply an ice pack, that’s wrapped inside a towel, for 20 minutes. To make this ice pack, place ice cubes into a sealable plastic bag, and wrap inside a thin towel
From this point, it’s important to seek medical attention at the nearest ER or Urgent Care. Realistically, the at-home care will not address the source of your problem: elbow fracture. Therefore, until you receive professional medical care, you’re merely providing temporary relief.
If the elbow fracture is severe, surgeons will likely recommend an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) to repair the fractured area. Can I help with your recovery? Yes! In your life, my purpose is to bring back normalcy.
Because of your limited mobility, my aim is to restore normal range of motion in the affected area, using different modalities, activities and exercises . When my rehabilitative process occurs without delay, the therapy will increase your recovery time.
After all, mobility is key for all sorts of daily activities like hugs, brushing your teeth, dressing yourself, or holding a pencil.
At Occupational Therapy Concept, You’re Family. For a Free consultation, give me a call at (718) 285-0884 for further evaluation and help with elbow pains.