ZocdocAnswersHow can I regain full motion in my elbow?

Question

How can I regain full motion in my elbow?

I broke my humerus "Midshaft & Spiral" 8 weeks ago and spent 6 weeks in a splint. I was supposed to see a specialist a week after the break but due to not having insurance, I thought I could just ride it out in a splint til it healed but 6 weeks after the break I saw a orthopedic doctor and the splint was removed. I was told there was a lot of new bone growth and my alignment was only off by a little and that my free arm weight should fix the alignment. I have a few questions that I would really appreciate be answered. - How long do typical humerus midshaft fractures "spiral" take to fully heal. - I can't fully extend my arm "elbow does not allow it".. How would I help this so I would be able to lock my elbow? I read something about fluid buildup in the sockets due to immobility?

Answer

Thanks for the question. The typical unit of time for most orthopedic injuries is 6 weeks. While this does not mean that everything will heal to its original state within that time frame, the time span can be used as a good guide for when it is safe to begin returning to some activities. It is also a good guideline for some improvement in your symptoms, and future improvement can also be measured in that light. This is helpful for patients, as it allows the body a significant period of time for improvement. Each individual patient is unique, however, and so it is important to follow up with your doctor as he or she has recommended, as well as any therapists or specialists. Some of these may be involved with early returns to mobility, which can help to make sure that the healing process is unremarkable and that you eventually return to optimal function. Speaking with your doctor is also important if you have any changes along the road to recovery that are concerning to you. Appropriate physical therapy and rehabilitation can be very helpful in some instances, and your surgeon may have some recommendations about what to do. Please speak with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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