Different subject. Does anyone have any idea whether a... - LSN

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Different subject. Does anyone have any idea whether a dislocated elbow can return to normal in say 6 - 8 weeks?


On the 13th of January 2020, I fell on black ice 6 doors from my own front door. I fell heavily on what seemed to be my left side but found on trying to move this was nigh on impossible, due to extreme pain in my left elbow. I knew something was seriously wrong as I could not put any weight on it at all and could not get off the ground. At the same time as this my legs went underneath at an angle and my right leg in particular was throbbing and tingling. A worker from a construction company working in my street lifted me onto a board and in the process injured his own back, hence he too fell on the ground and could not move. In the process of the lift though, I managed to straighten out my legs. Kind neighbours' and the remaining lads in the construction team, brought water and blankets to us both. Indeed, the gentlemen who moved me gave very precise instructions to his team on how they were to move him at one go onto a thick blanket to avoid the extreme icy coldness of the ground going through to his body.

Two ambulances were called but only one came after two hours of waiting. The man who was injured stayed cheerful and upbeat throughout, whereas I felt like drifting in and out of consciousness. However, the lads were marvelous they kept me alert until the ambulance came. I was placed onto a manga chair which they pumped up on alternate sides until I could stand up. However, the pain I had in my arm was just so bad that on a scale of 1-10 it was a 12. The paramedics gave me paracetamol to reduce swelling but not the pain. In the hospital I was given morphine and eventually I was knocked out to reset my arm. I was given a temporary plaster and sling, and on the next day I was x-rayed to see if they had set it in the right place. Then I was given a plaster to last a fortnight that was fixed at 90 degrees. Two weeks later I was given a brace type fitting that was left on for a further fortnight that could be moved between 90 degrees and 135 degrees. My students nicknamed me Robocop and Terminator.

I am now out of the brace but my elbow feels fixed at 135 degrees at its straightest. It also aches most of the time like mad and my wrist has limited movement too. So I am wondering how long it takes for normal movement to return to a dislocated elbow? It is still awkward getting clothes on and off, having a wash has been done at the sink for four weeks now and not in the shower as this is too risky for me and at the moment I can not tie my hair back. Even when at my computer at home or work, I have taken in a small cushion to rest my left arm on to work comfortably. I can't carry anything heavy so my right arm is getting over worked carrying files and papers to mark. Physio is due to start on my elbow and right leg soon as my right ankle now feels knotted, my calf feels knotted and my knee downwards has suffered some serious sensation loss.I generally feel fed up and just want to do the every day things with ease.

11 Replies

You need to get to a physio ASAP. If you can afford it, go to an independent one, rather than waiting for an NHS clinic appointment.

in reply to Lynora

I have just had a letter this weekend to say that I have been discharged from the fracture clinic now and referred to physio. I have no idea how long I will have to wait. But do you honestly feel that it would be quicker to go private?

I'm also having to miss off my compression socks, as I can't pull them on as I have minimal strength in my left hand too. In fact it is absolutely murder trying to use it for simple things like getting the lid off a jam jar or plastic lid off the cheese. I have resorted to cutting into packets as I can't get the plastic layer off. When it comes to filling up the kettle I use a cup to pour in the amount of water I want as the kettle and the tap together is like the krypton factor. My right hand is getting all the work and it too aches at the end of the day. I never dreamed that something like a dislocated elbow could cause so much upheaval for the things we take forgranted every day of our lives.

I will look up some private physios asap. Thank you.

I am supporting Lynora's suggestion of private physio if you can afford it OR trying to find out how long it will be for NHS one and decide on that basis. Have you got anyone at home, or a friend, who could help you with all the tasks that you are having a struggle with? We never appreciate how hard it is to lose the effective use of one arm.

My first Physio appointment is on Friday 28th so not too long to wait. Strange enough my right foot does not feel so knotted today or trapped, however, I still have the sensation loss in my right leg from the knee downwards. So at least this is some improvement. Fingers crossed for more improvements.

Oh that's good news, good to know things are happening x

More good news. In fact I feel like celebrating I have just managed to tie my hair back for the first time since the 13th Jan 2020. Yippee. My arm is going that bit further but unfortunately I still have 130-135 degrees as the straightest drop so that is not budging yet. I am praying physio will work for me.

It's these small things that we celebrate, fab news xx

Indeed, every time something happens to you, it is always the little things that are affected and when they return, we really appreciate them. Another bit of good news is, that I can type for a good hour to 90 minutes at the correct angle for my left wrist now, whereas when my arm was in plaster the wrist was fixed at an angle that did not allow the wrist to sit in an apple position. Likewise, I could still not use my left hand and wrist properly when the fracture clinic put my arm into a brace, as this too fixed my hand at an angle as well as my elbow. So for 4 whole weeks every bit of typing I needed to do was done with my right hand. Cooking on a Sunday was also impossible as I couldn't put the cooker rings on with one hand and ignite the gas with the other. I could manage the oven though So this meant 4 weeks of horrendous cooking from my cousin, who bless him tries his best, but he is not a good cook.

In just over the last week since the brace came off a lot of the small things have come back to me so I appreciate that but I still have a lot of pain in my arm, shoulder and wrist, I also feel a lot of strange tensions at both ends above and below my elbow joint, I have managed to tie my hair back by bending my head forward but I do feel a weird sensation from my shoulder and upper arm which has started clicking. Getting ready for work is still posing issues particularly getting on my cardigan or coat, I am also compensating a lot with my right hand and arm which at the end of every day aches like mad. I am now also able to carry a set of resources and one teaching file using both hands, but my left elbow still hurts even with this.

Last week was half term and during that week I took the opportunity to file and to properly track all the work done by my students on a paper tracker, this was the build up of work that had taken place from the 13th of Jan 2020, which was a full week covered by my colleagues and the rest was work done in the week I went back in to work from the 20th of Jan 2020. So last week was a really hard week and the work done was essential otherwise evidence of progress would have been none existent. This week, is the start of trying to get learners ahead and again it is difficult as not one of my 16-19 learners or adults over 19 are prepared to take ownership of their learning. So all the teachers in my college end up responsible for the lot and that includes all the donkey work of getting learner files ready for class and this is inclusive of all else that teaching has become.

In fact as I was working all of last week one or more of the assessors kept saying things to me like, sleep is good for recovery, resting your arm properly is good for recovery and you shouldn't be doing too much. I believe my colleagues are being very thoughtful and honest, but I confess that I am a workaholic and I am always looking for the best I can be as well as others, being the head of a three person team dealing with a specific area of teaching and with two members of my team being trainee teachers, makes me more particular than ever. So irrespective of my arm I have been pushing that boat. I just hope I haven't started to push it too early.

I feel for you as I retired from teaching last August. It is well known that teachers always go back to work too early because we bear responsibility to our students and colleagues, and we struggle on to give our best every day. We are also not good at taking well meant advice from our colleagues !

So very true. My physio appointment went well, but I have now been and done my exercises as requested twice over the weekend and my arm is aching even more, so I am hoping this will pass soon.

Oh I do hope so, but it's often the case after physio exercises , chiropractor treatment etc as your muscles are complaining about being made to work in a different way!

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