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Can’t Extend my Arm After Elbow Injury

Question

Dear TAI Experts:

I was playing basketball and banged my elbow on the concrete twelve days ago. I went to the hospital the next day to have x-rays. They thought I might have fractured my radial head so they gave me painkillers and a sling. I went back for a follow up a week later and they said it wasn’t fractured. Although I am getting better range of motion daily, I cannot fully extend my arm yet. My question is if I should expect to have full range of motion again?

Answer

Without examining your elbow I cannot comment specifically on your condition, but in general, a fall on an elbow can create bone bruising, muscle strain, or ligament injury that can limit full range of motion. As these tissues heal, motion should start to return within 2-3 months as long as there is no significant ligament damage or fracture, but a referral to a physical therapist would be good for exercise prescription and return to normal activities.

Chris Fletcher, PT, DPT

Can’t Extend my Arm After Elbow Injury

 


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