June 14, 2010,
T.L. asks from Fresno, CA on June 08, 2010
Crack in Elbow Joint???
Ok I need some help!! Two weeks ago I fell onto my arm. After a day of icing and whining, i took myself to the ER for some xrays. they told me I had swelling in my joint as well as a crack, to use a sling (if wanted) and it would feel better soon. when i asked the nurse how long it should take to start feeling better, she told me it could feel better by next day. that it really depended on how bad the damage was. so i used the sling for a little bit, but didnt want my arm to get stiff or weak so i stopped using it. I still cant use my arm to do much. no lifting anything with my hand, its hard to put my car into gear, wiping counters, sweeping/mopping, just about kills me. last night i went to bed with a very sore arm, very stiff like, i couldnt unbend it. its sore to the touch and throbbing pain in my joint. that pain has lasted through the night and is still very painful now. could something have been missed? im also 29 weeks pregnant. would they use the old xrays or would i have to get a new one. im a little apprehensive about getting another xray while pregnant...=/
So What Happened?™
went back to the dr today and they referred me to the orthopedic surgeon. they splinted me all the way to my shoulder until then, because of all the swelling and stuff. the dr didnt understand why the first dr i saw didnt refer me to an orthopedist in the first place....
L.D. answers from Las Vegas on June 08, 2010
You need to go to an orthopedist to get it re-examined and you will probably need to take another x-ray but I'm sure that you are not the first pregnant lady that the doctor has encountered with a fracture so he should know how best to handle the situation so that your baby will be safe from possible harm.
I have to tell you that I am really surprised by the treatment that you received in the ER. My son sustained a small elbow fracture last year and it has so far been the worst pain that he had ever experienced. He had to wear a cast for 4-weeks to stabilize his elbow and in order for it to heal, and we had to give him tylenol with codeine for several days (especially at night) afterward so that he didn't hurt so much. I'm absolutely floored that the nurse told you that would feel better the next day. That just seems pretty unrealistic. And did they tell you to follow up with an orthopedist within 3-days of your ER visit? That should have been done as well.
Go see that ortho doctor! And feel better soon. ;-)
S.B. answers from Dallas on June 08, 2010
I broke my elbow once. My BIL has also broken his, although these incidents happened several years apart we had the same experience. We both went to urgent care clinics. In both cases we were told just to use a sling for a few days and it should feel better. In both cases we went back a week later (I think he waited two weeks) because it was swollen, stiff and very painful. In both cases they found a more severe break after reevaluating our xrays. We were both given a brace/removable cast thing for our arm. As soon as it was put on I felt immediate relief. I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon as a precaution and he told me that elbow injuries can be difficult to diagnose and that he sees many many patients who were originally told to "rest" it and then it was later realized the injury was worse than originally thought. I would make an appointment and have it looked at again. Like the other poster suggested an orthopedic surgeon may be more qualified to evaluate your current xrays or offer a course of treatment with your pregnancy in mind. Feel better soon!
S.B. answers from Kansas City on June 08, 2010
when I had that happen they gave me a full arm cast. I'm so glad you went back to the doctor. I was a teenager and didnt want to go to the doctor, so I waited a few days, but I couldnt unbend my arm and finally went. I hope your new doctor knows what he's talking about.
L.A. answers from San Francisco on June 09, 2010
I'm glad to went to your doctor. I fell and broke my arm at the elbow a few years ago. I went to the ER where they put a splint on my arm to stabilize it, then a week later went to an Orthopedist, who left the splint in place because of the swelling. But for the fact I had a summer trip planned, followed by a planned surgery, he would have left the splint on a few more weeks, however ended up in a cast for about 6 weeks. I was surprised at how fast I regained strength and flexibility in my arm once the cast came off. The Orthopedist didn't believe in PT, but told me to get back to day to day routine and use my arm (which was my dominant arm) as much as possible. He assured me it would be "good as new" in no time and he was right. This all ocurred 8 years ago and is but a faint memory with no residual problems.
As far as another x-ray - they'll most probably drape you with a lead apron so only your arm is exposed. I doubt you're the first pregnant woman to need an x-ray. Also, fractures don't always show up completely on an x-ray when they're "fresh", so a second one may be necessary to really see the damage.
You'll be right as rain in no time. Good luck!
J.F. answers from Toledo on June 08, 2010
Make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. (don't let the word surgeon scare you) My daughter fell off her bike when she was 3 and when we took her to the ER, they said she sprained her elbow. Well, I wasn't satisfied with that based on her reaction. She is a "tough" kid and gets over bumps and bruises quickly, but not this time. So I contacted an orthopedic surgeon and took the same xrays from the ER visit to the appointment. Sure enough, she had broken a bone in the elbow. It was a small fracture, but still required a cast for 3 weeks.
C.W. answers from San Francisco on June 09, 2010
Your elbow needs time to heal. You shouldn't be using your arm. Keep it in a sling. Sounds to me like need to go back to the doctors and get it rechecked to see if you have made the break worse.
V.W. answers from San Francisco on June 14, 2010
I would recommend a second opinion and ask to use the same Xrays if possible. I cracked the cup portion of the elbow in a fall (landed on my hand) and did the same - waited a day before going to urgent care and was in a sling for about 10 days. Needed lots of physical therapy/excercise to finally straighten/stretch the tendons back to normal length. If you don't go for a second opinion, follow up with your normal doc and stop using your arm for awhile. Stretch/manually massage tendons to help with stiffness
B.C. answers from Norfolk on June 08, 2010
If you want the elbow to heal - wear the sling and let it rest. Trying to use it now is only going to slow the healing process. Once it's healed, THEN work on regaining muscle tone in that arm again.
M.C. answers from Washington DC on June 08, 2010
it could be that the crack expanded. I'd go back to the dr.