Most Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell you that physical therapy for a broken elbow can aid in restoring elbow range of motion, strength and overall functional use of your arm. An elbow fracture can be a painful injury.
In addition, it can also lead to lowered mobility in your arm, shoulder or wrist. Most Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell you that an elbow fracture also can limit your ability to work, perform household chores, or take part in recreational activities.
Overall, physical therapy has a main objective to help restore joint mobility and strength, as well as your range of motion so that you can return back to routine or near-normal activity.
Symptoms Of An Elbow Fracture
Notable signs of a broken elbow include:
- Pain in the elbow, upper arm, or forearm
- Swelling around the elbow
- Bruising or discoloration around the elbow
- Loss of motion around the elbow or forearm
- Deformity (such as a lump or bump) near the elbow or arm
A majority of Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell you that if you think you have suffered an elbow fracture, you must seek medical attention instantly.
If you don’t report to your doctor or local emergency department in a timely manner, you may end up causing permanent damage or loss of function in your arm and hand.
Causes Of An Elbow Fracture
The elbow is a joint where the arm bone (humerus) meets the bones of the forearm (radius and ulna). The bony aspect of the ulna is known as the olecranon process.
Most Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell uThis is generally the bone that you feel as you’re leaning your elbow on a table. The bones of the elbow are connected together by ligaments on the inner and outer part of your arm.
It may also seem quite apparent, but the most common cause of elbow fractures is trauma to your arm near your elbow. This can mainly be because of falls on your elbow or outstretched arm, automobile accidents, or sports-related injuries.
Most Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell you that injuries that generally happens instantly, are often because of a blunt force impact that fractures either the radial head (located at the top of the smaller forearm bone), the distal humerus (the lower part of the upper arm bone), or the olcrenon (ball of the elbow joint), compound fractures and dislocations can also happen as a result.
An X-ray is used to diagnose an elbow fracture. The X-ray can help display the placement of the bones and can help your doctor determine the best way to fix your fractured elbow.
Occasionally, a type of X-ray known as computed tomography (CT) scan may be used to get a better view by creating cross-sectional images of the joint along the length of the injury.
Treatment For An Elbow Fracture
After a diagnosis of a fractured elbow is developed, your doctor will reduce the fracture. This is typically the process where your elbow bones are put in the correct position so that optimal healing can take place. Reduction of a fractured elbow can be done manually.
If the fracture is a bit more extreme, your surgeon may suggest an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF).
Most Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell you that this involves an incision to manually realign the bones, followed the insertion of screws, plates, or wires to hold the bones in the correct position.
After your elbow fracture is lowered, you may also need to wear a brace or a sling. Every once in a while, a cast will be applied, although it is felt that immobilization of an elbow fracture with a cast may cause drastic stiffness and permanent loss of mobility.
Physical Therapy For An Elbow Fracture
A big problem with an elbow fracture is stiffness that limits the range of motion. Sometimes, this stiffness persists long after the fractured bones have healed.
As a result, your doctor may have you begin physical therapy right after the injury to help welcome early motion to your healing elbow.
Your Palmdale Physical Therapist may work with you to help you regain normal use of your elbow and arm. He or she may use a variety of physical therapy treatments and modalities to assist in helping you quickly return to usual activity. Some impairments that you may work on in physical therapy may include:
Range of Motion
Most Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell you that one of the main goals of physical therapy after an elbow fracture is to restore normal range of motion (ROM) to the elbow. The elbow is a complex joint that gives you an opportunity to bend your arm or turn your hand over.
Restoring the full ROM of the elbow and forearm is paramount to regaining normal use of your arm. As a rule, the early introduction of ROM therapy achieves not only better but faster results.
A Word From Verywell
Overall, physical therapy after an elbow fracture can be beneficial in easily starting early mobility. Moreover, it can also help you bring back normal strength and function in your arm while assisting in managing the pain and swelling that you may have.