After falling hard on my straight arm, I can't straighten the elbow

by Randy

During a wrestling match, I was lifted up and fell hard on the mat, with most of the other guy's weight on me. I landed most of the weight on my left arm, which was locked out straight. I could feel pain right away, and knew something was wrong with my arm, mainly in my elbow.

My inner elbow was swollen for about 2 weeks, and I havent been able to straighten it out or bend it all the way since the day of the injury. My range of motion with my elbow has grown to being fine all the way up to entirely straight and bent as far as it goes. Anywhere in this range of motion, my elbow feels fine; I have held 50 pounds with it, and had no problem, as long as I didnt try to straighten my arm or bend it to where my bicep was touching my forearm.

I got an X-ray, and the doctor said the bone was fine, just the tissue and stuff around it was hurt, and would heal soon. But, I havent really been seeing any improvement lately, 4 or 5 weeks after the injury.

Before my injury, I was doing intense workouts, both heavy weights and lots of calisthenics, and I noticed an occasional small ache in my left elbow, usually when I was doing homework at my desk, making me worried I was getting tennis elbow or something, though it never got bad. I don't know if that has anything to do with my injury now, but maybe it contributed to my lasting injury.

Anyways, do you have any way to get my arm to be able to straighten out and bend all the way? As I said, I am perfectly fine moving weights as long as I keep it within my range of motion with my elbow. Thanks!


Joshua Answers:

Hi Randy.

I'm unclear, it looks like you said both that you do and don't have full range of motion with the elbow now.

Tendon injury is FAR different from joint injury.

Read this
thread - Help Identifying Inner Elbow Pain Can't Straighten Arm - it talks mostly about the soft tissue side of things, and will be educational.

While you may have some Tendonitis dynamic at play due to being athletic etc, the description of the impact to the straight elbow is good information.

See: What Is Tendonitis

I would adjust the doctor's words to say 'the tissue -in- it' are hurt. Inside the joint. The tissue around the joint is unhappy too, of course, but that's all part of the Pain Causing Dynamic.

If you have bruised/inflamed the joint/joint lining of the elbow, that's a very specific animal. Quick results aren't to be expected, though you can do some specific things to speed the recovery up. Bone bruises are painful and slow to go away, even though there's not necessarily any 'injury' per see. They're just slow and painful.

Please clarify for me:

1. what is your current range of motion with the elbow.

2. Pain anywhere in the range?

3. Pain anywhere in the range with extra weight added.

4. Can you do a full push up? If not, what exactly is the experience consist of?

5. You were having elbow pain before the event. More details of how, where exactly, etc.

6. You said homework. Are you high school, college, or old man back to school and sports?

7. The more details, the better.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Comments for After falling hard on my straight arm, I can't straighten the elbow

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Apr 25, 2012
I have not been able to fully straighten my elbow for a while now and do not know why.
by: Davis

My name is Davis. I play baseball virtually year round. This fall after a game I tried to throw again for the second game and felt a good amount of pain from my elbow.

It does not hurt to fully extend or bend it. I have been working out as well as practicing every week day for a few months and have had minor pain sometimes in my elbow but nothing huge.

Recently I have noticed that I cannot extend my right arm fully to lock the joint in place like I can with my left arm. My coach does not know why I cannot straighten my arm but doesn't see it as a big deal. I would still like to know why this has happened and if I can fix it. If you can respond with anything it would be greatly appreciated


Joshua Comments:

Hi Davis.

Randy's question and my response is relevant to you so I put this here (and for Randy's benefit too).

Randy had joint -compression-. You have -DEcompression-. Meaning, as your arm whips around, the joint gets pulled apart and ligaments and muscles/tendons get pulled apart.

This causes irritation of a different kind, but results in the same limitation of elbow range of motion.

Your coach SHOULD think it's a big deal...if he wants you to survive as somebody with the ability to throw a baseball.

Ultimately, you can't straighten your elbow because the muscle and connective tissue are locked tight and won't give you the range of motion. There are other factors involved, of course.

Read Randy's question. Read Help Identifying Inner Elbow Pain Can't Straighten Arm.

Apr 29, 2012
Help straightening my arm
by: Davis true

Thanks but then how can I work my arm to be able to straighten it again?


Joshua Comments:

Read the page I pointed you to.

Apr 30, 2012
Cannot find any hot-spot
by: Anonymous

I read what I should do but I cannot find any pea sized or smaller bump on my arm anywhere in my bicep or tricep. Not sure where else to look or how else to make this go away.


Joshua Comments:

There's no rule that there has to be a bump or lump in the muscle. But I guarantee you there's tight spots, and I imagine that there's tender spots.

On the off chance that you're soft as butter, then , pain is from nutritional and inflammatory issues.

Jan 31, 2013
Fell on straight arm during a volleyball game
by: Jessica

Recently during a volleyball game I fell on my arm which was out straight. Now I can't fully extend or flex my arm and it is painful. I haven't noticed swelling. Normally my elbows hyper-extend, and I can't get anywhere near that range of motion now. I have a hard time flexing it much past 90 degrees.

When I am not trying to "push it", my arm doesn't hurt at all. Also, I can't lift, or twist things with that had without pain. Immediately after the injury I felt a tingling numbness spread through my arm. What might be happening here? Thank you!


Joshua Comments

Hi Jessica.

-Probably- it's a scenario where you jammed your elbow and shoulder, and the elbow joint has swelling that is limiting range of motion.

Or it's out of alignment and can't swing through it's normal groove. I don't normally suggest chiropractic, but if you can find somebody knowledgeable with elbows it might be worth a visit. Having said, if it's in alignment but the bones/joint lining etc has some swelling going on, chiropractic isn't directly going to help that.

Tell me more about the tingling etc. That's likely a function of muscles having locked down tight and not let go yet, guarding and protecting the 'hurt' structures.

If you jammed your shoulder, that affected your neck too, so it's possible the neck/shoulder is contributing to that tingling. Again, not a big fan of chiropracty, but it's great for what it's great for. Might be worth it to un-jam anything that got knocked out of whack from the impact.

Jun 16, 2014
i fell on my straightend arm at cheerleading stunt practice.
by: Ellie-Mae

Ok so a week or two ago I fell on my straighten arm from the air (I'm a flyer at cheer) and I visited the hospital and had X-Rays done.

They told me I had sprained it and to leave it to rest for a couple days then I should be fine. But I still haven't been able to straighten my arm so it's locked or bend it fully to the shoulder there are a few healing cuts around my elbow as well, supports don't help and I'm starting to get really worried as I have a Cheerleading competition in a few weeks.

Does anyone know if it is a sprain or worse? And will/How will I ever be able to straighten it ever again?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Ellie-Mae.

1 So they just left you with a stuck straight elbow and didn't give you anything 'to do' about it (other than rest and anti-inflammatories.

2. Did they diagnose a sprain because they say ligament damage in the xray? Or because they had to call it something and that was as good as any since no fracture was visible?

The answer to that question matters.

3. Tell me more about the impact. You landed like a pushup, or like a hand stand?

4. Do you have a sense of what's stopping the elbow joint from bending? Probably the joint/joint lining itself is swollen, so it's essentially locked/stuck from the insides. Kind of like (this is a horrible analogy but it's all I can think of at the moment) the big board of a teeter totter soaked in water so it swells up and 'grabs' the metal rod that is the fulcrum point.

Do you think an arm bone is out of alignment/dislocated?

5. You're going to have to do some serious serious work if you want to be competing in two weeks.

A. Understand Process of Inflammation
B. Ice Dip like crazy. And I mean, like crazy.
See: How To Reduce Inflammation
See relevant story: Thumb Ligament Injury
C. Natural anti-inflammatories like tumeric.
D. Magnesium For Tendonitis

Answer my questions, keep me updated.

Feb 19, 2015
2 year old with a tight elbow
by: Ashley

My 2 year old fell and dislocated her elbow and got nurse maids elbow January 7 2014 they popped it into place and it would be back to normal.

It got tight and she couldn't straighten it. They said it could take time. Well after many doctors and patience she still can't straighten it and it is now mid June.

She seems to have adjusted to it as is always walking with a bent arm. She shows no pain unless it is stretched or bent further. How can I help her??

This can't be normal. Please help.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Ashley.

How's the elbow now?

If it's still not straightening, then there's a few things at play or possibly at play.

In no particular order:

1. The joint itself is still swollen/inflammaed and not allowing movement.

2. Muscles are locked down tight to 'guard' and 'protect', and aren't lengthening. Thus, stopping movement.

3. When the joint was put back together, the bones aren't aligned correctly, and thus can't articulate correctly, thus stopping movement. This includes keeping inflammation and guarding and protecting in place.

1 can be dealt with slowly but easily.

2 can be dealt with, less easily but not technically hard.

Realistically, 1 and 2 go together to some degree.

3 requires a very skilled practitioner that knows what they're doing and can 'reset' the joint and then make sure its where it should be. Anybody can yank a bone back into place. But not everybody knows how to get it exactly where it needs to be.

And then you'll still have to deal with 1 and 2.

She's young, so hopefully 1 and 2 will go fast.

The thing to look out for is ligament damage. IF the elbow bones came out of joint more than a little, that means ligament got stretched.

2 year olds are still stretchy, so hopefully it's not a big problem. But it is worth it to make sure the bones are aligning in the joint as they should be.

Mar 10, 2015
Fell on extended elbow
by: Anonymous

A week ago I twisted my ankle and fell on my arm and hurt my elbow. The next day the area around my elbow was swollen and I put ice on it.

The swelling has gone down but I cannot extend my left arm all the way. Also when I raise it above my head and compare it with my right arm it seems curved.

I also cannot touch my left shoulder with my hand either. I can move my hand every other way but it will not fully extend.

Apr 11, 2015
Roller Skating is not my forte
by: AR

I went skating with a friend last night, and I am not very good at roller skating at all. However that meant that I was pretty good at gently falling and getting back up.

A referee at the skate rink showed ne how to properly skate and I was picking up speed and going a little bit faster than normal, I was also concentrated on skating and didn't notice I was falling. I did the cartoon character legs whip out from under me fall, and before I could stop myself landed on my right hip and my left fully extended arm. My hip and tailbone were fine after 20 minutes but after 13.5 hours my elbow is not. I remember putting weight on the arm straightened to get up, and I finished the lap I was doing and sat down. I didn't ice it at first, for some reason I had an instinctual reaction that that was a bad idea.

I researched broken arms and checked to make sure it wasn't broken, ruling that out quickly, before I noticed that I couldn't lean my head on my hand (elbow on table that is shorter than me, chin on flexed wrist) without immense pain. It seriously felt like the bones weren't in the right place to rotate properly. At this time I realized my arm wouldn't fully straighten. At first pain was centered more to the ulna and its connection to the elbow but it then spread to the radius too. I looked up symptoms of elbow dislocation and discovered that all my nerves and arteries were intact. There's no visible deformity or swelling and bruising. That night I had a friend's father, former paramedic, check it out and he assured me it was not dislocated, and it was likely ligament damage or strain, and to ice it. I have been icing it since.

I am ambidextrous, and play piano, and have only slightly more refined fine motor skills in my right hand/arm so I'm using it as a point of comparison. My right arm can extend from about -10* to 165* (hyper extended to almost flat) my left arm can go from about 30* to about 100* it is in constant pain, and shooting pain when I try to gently move it.

This goes from about 2 inches above the elbow to my wrist. And the area affected has been slowly decreasing. I took naproxen last night and immobilized it at 90* to sleep but it is still not capable of motion.

What's wrong and how long will it take to get better?


Joshua Comments:

Hi AR.

Basically, read through this thread and the links you'll find in it.

You may have actual damage, but most likely you just have a Bone Bruise.

Meaning, you landed on your extended arm, and the joint took the brunt of the force...meaning the bones of the joint smacked together, and now they're bruised.

There's more to it that that, of course, but that's the brunt of it.

Definitely start ice dipping as described in the How To Reduce Inflammation page.

Apr 15, 2015
basketball fall landed on arm can't open or close it now
by: Jumper

I was playing basketball and when I jumped to get the rebound my foot tangled with the other player and I fell straight on my side, I got back up and continued playing.

Although my arm hurt a bit it wasn't anything big but about 2 hrs later I couldn't open or close my arm, when I try straightening out or closing my arm I start getting pain in my inner fore arm.

Do I need to go to the doctor? or should I let time heal this?

We won the game by the way.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Jumper.

If it won't move because it's joint bruised and swollen, then there's nothign a doctor can provide.

If your cracked or broke something, then that's problematic.

If you have a slight hairline fracture, there's not much to do other than put it in a sling, and if it's bigger than that then PROBABLY you'd know it (broken/fractured bones generally HURT).

I can't tell from here of course, so it's your call.

How bad did you land on it?

How exactly did you land on it?

Does it hurt? If so, how bad, and what exactly does the pain feel like?

Is it swollen? How much?

Where exactly is it tender to the touch?

Sep 16, 2015
Elbow Pain
by: Jade


This morning I fell down 15 stairs on my butt hitting every step going down. I also, banged my elbows, they were bent. They have bruising and scratches.

The problem now is my right elbow, which already had a problem (tennis elbow) that was finally starting to feel better. Now I cannot bend my elbow all the way and cannot extend it all the way.

My fingers are fine and wrist is fine. The areas that hurt are the underside of my forearm (close to the bend in my arm), my bicep, my tricep (close to the elbow), and of course the lower part of the elbow. The upper bone still hurts when pushed on from the tennis elbow.

I have been icing all parts of the arm on and off, which seems to help a bit. Is there anything else that can be done?


Joshua Comments:

Just ice dip, that's good/enough.

If you want you can gently brush/rub the skin/arm from wrist to elbow, like pushing water up a hose, to push fluid and pain enhancing chemical out and get new blood/nutrition in.

Oct 27, 2016
Cant straighten my arm
by: freejumper

Hi, i wanna ask u about my elbow. i dont know much about those scientific stuffs which i read your replies from the comments.

So basically, i cant straighten my arm because i fell from free running.

i can say im a proffessional freerunner but people do mistakes. so i was running around the roofs and missed my steps. i fell on my elbow and it have scratches everywhere.

i went to see a doctor and got it xray but my bones were all good. so the doctor said i had to use the sling just to rest it and i dont think its helping.

so what if its because of my tissues or something (sorry i dont know much about tissues). what do i have to do if it was a tissue injury. what should i do now?


Joshua Comments:

Hi freejumper.

Now you read this entire thread and follow the links to those pages and read them.

You'll learn a lot, including what you should do right now to reduce pain and any inflammation/swelling that is preventing the joint from bending.

It's one thing if you have a bone bruise in the elbow joint. It's another if it won't bend because muscles are locked tight. It just all depends.

Read, do, then come back with questions.

Nov 15, 2016
One bad elbow~
by: Anonymous


Thanks in advance for the information!

For years even in grade school I'd have pain in my left elbow. Things like rolling out of bed and putting all of my weight on one side would cause a pop and arch of pain shooting through the elbow and the lower part of my tricep.

Fast forward a few years and after a few years in the military the issue came back during a one off pt test. I was already past the passing point so I did not think anything of it and moved on.

This time though the pain was worse but again faded after a few minutes. Fast forward another year or so and I fall on it. Since then it has been useless.

Push-ups are nearly impossible depending on the day and when holding a 90° position it slowly starts to burn and as I fatigue it's like the tendons themselves are on fire. If I were to push up it would most likely pop.

I went to the doctor but he saw no issues with the bones or ligament. They subscribed some pills that they claimed would give me really really bad mood swings and with my job I can't take time off or snap mid day cuz I'm on crazy pills.

Do you have any advice?

Thank you!


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

So your doctor gave you crazy pills exactly was that supposed to help?

Did your doctor do anything other than look at your elbow and watch you move it around?

Xray? MRI?

Did he check for range of motion, etc?

1. Do you have full range of elbow motion and rotating your forearm/wrist?

2. Did your arm get yanked on during birth or early childhood? (damage/stretching of ligaments holding the eblow joint together)

3. Any history of injury/damage to the elbow?

4. How/Where exactly does it hurt?

5. Does your elbow come out of joint/socket?

Dec 02, 2016
Oral surgery iv hurt my elbow painful to straighten
by: Anonymous

I had my wisdom teeth out 9 days ago and the spot where my iv was at the bend of my arm started to bruise about 2" by 1" 4 days ago and it hurts to straighten my arm is this normal, and when will I be able to straighten my arm without discomfort ( sometimes when extended the pain is in my upper forearm)


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

Sounds like the iv caused some bruising (which makes sense, as it's puncturing your vein [and valves inside the veins]).

And it sounds like your body isn't dealing well with the stress/trauma of that pain/puncture. So it has kicked in a defensive mechanism of tightness and pain.

Dec 05, 2016
Inner elbow won't straighten after fall on ice
by: Anonymous

I have recently skidded off my bike on a icy day and landed on my left knee and both wrists.

My right wrist seems to be ok as well as my left, although i am getting a lot of pain lifting objects with my left hand and I'm also unable to straighten my arm.

The pain is coming from the inside of my elbow when i attempt to do so.

Have you got any idea what it is and what i should do. Also my arm hurts when i move it a lot and put weight on it.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonhymous.

You impacted your wrist and elbow joint(s). That's going to make them hurt, inflammed, have muscles tightned up to guard and protect, etc.

I'd read this thread fully and do what it suggests to do.

Jan 12, 2017
Fell Off Hoverboard My Elbows Broken??!
by: Kelly

5 days ago I fell off one of those 'hoverboards' and now I cannot straighten or bend my elbow, without tremendous pain.

I fell on to my right arm and now my range of motion is only about 90-160 degrees.

The morning after the incident I had a x-ray of my lower arm (at the time the time i thought all the pain was in my lower arm, rather than my elbow and upper arm). The X-rays seemed to be good, except the doctor may have seen a hairline fracture, but when she was touching my elbow it didn't hurt (though, I had taken a Percocet prior to appointment).

In the end they said I have a BRUISE, and it should go away soon. The pain has become worse, and much more sharp.

I am beginning to worry considering i am a competitive tennis player and season starts next month. I don't want to go back to doctor but i also don't want to wait a month and be told something worse.

Thanks to all replies!!


Joshua Comments:

Hi Kelley.

-MAY- have seen a hairline fracture?

If so, that's not great, but all in all it's 'minor', and will heal, and heal faster if your nutrition is up to snuff (I'd get the Tendon Pack from the Tendon Supplements page so your bones can heal faster/stronger.

If you (also) have a bone bruise (see link to that page in this thread) then the joint itself can be swollen and limiting range of motion/movement of the joint.

Nothing to worry about, though it can be painful and take a long time to recover if you don't help speed up that recovery.

Read this thread, and follow the links in this thread.

Come back with any questions you may have.

Also, how exactly did you fall/land on the arm?

Jan 16, 2017
Radius bone
by: Pam

I feel and broke my arm and my radius bone. My cast has been off for 6 weeks, and is healed with some fragments remaining.

I am going to therapy 3 days a week and still not able to get me arm straight. It is still bent. My upper biceps is very tight, and raised if that makes sense.

The arm muscle bicep is tight as well. They have worked on it and is between 41 to 45. How can I get my arm straight?

My strength is better, starting to be able to turn my arm up but still get some pain in my elbow.

Is there any hope that I will be able to straighten my arm?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Pam.

What do you mean 'with some fragments remaining'?

You were casted/immobilized for 6 weeks.

Connective tissue shrunk wrapped down to fit.

Imagine that your bent arm is tightly wrapped in multiple layers of tightly wrapped saran wrap.

It's a lot like that. You're going to have to stretch and massage etc to get your flexibility and mobility back.

And perhaps, a lot of stretching and massage, and a wee bit of 'forcing' it to lengthen.

Mar 04, 2017
Possible Tendonosis from a skateboarding fall a year ago
by: Anonymous

Hi, there. I was skateboarding with a few friends a year ago when I fell.

My left hand took the brunt of the force, however I immediately felt the pain in my arm (it was extended straight upon impact and I also heard a crack).

While I had trouble moving my entire left arm for the remainder of that week without it hurting, the pain gradually subsided.

Fast forward to today and I'm shadow-boxing when I begin to feel pain in my left arm followed by a burning sensation (possibly inflammation?)

I have not sustained any other injuries to my left arm since the skateboarding incident.

Is there any way to treat this?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

Of course there's a way to treat this. Lots of ways (but only a couple few that will be effective)

I'd start by reading this entire thread (and following the links and reading those pages too).

Jun 28, 2017
Similar problem
by: George


I was recently playing football (soccer) and landed on my left arm fully extended with all of my weight on it.

When I got up again it felt as though my elbow had gone to jelly. It hurt for the rest of the day, and by the next morning I could barely move it at all (range of motion was almost none, staying at an almost 90 degree angle).

I went to have an xray as a fitness instructor I know thought I may possibly have a fracture, but thankfully there was not, however there was a lot of swelling on the outside of my elbow (bottom of my tricep area) which they said was unusual.

Two days later I went back to the fracture clinic and the guy just moved my arm around a bit and said I was fine (the pain had almost completely gone and I could move my arm almost like normal).

However, I still now cannot put too much weight on it when extended (for example with bench press in the gym), and when I twist my arm/ wrist certain the very top of my forearm/ elbow aches/hurts a bit.

Can you suggest what the problem may be, or any solutions please?

Thank you


Joshua Comments:

Hi George.

If you didn't fracture anything, and you didn't rip or tear any tendons or ligaments (doesn't sound like it, maybe very minor)(tendon/ligament tears won't really show up on an xray)....

And if you landed with your arms fully extended, so kind of like in a push up position, then it's likely that your straight/locked elbow joint took too much force...and the joint itself is bruised, and/or inflammed, etc.

That will trigger swelling, pain, etc.

I'd ice dip it like crazy for a few days and see what happens.

Jul 07, 2017
I landed with my arms
by: Noah

I am 16 years old and my weight is about 150 lbs, I almost don't do any athleticism, or lift weights.

I was running in a tennis court, and tried to jump over the net, and my feet got trapped and when I landed, I landed with my two arms completely extended.

Now it really hurts, like inside my elbows and my wrists, when I try to fully open my arms, I do not have any pain in my shoulders tho, also I'm right handed and my right arm & wrist are the ones that hurt the most.

I didn't go to a doctor, but I didn't hear any cracking bones or anything, just a really big pain in my elbows and wrists.


Jul 20, 2018
I fail off my so on hoverboard
by: Clarissa

When I went down I tried to catch myself with my left hand and it didn't help. But now I can't even move my forarm and it really hurts bad. I can't twist be my arm. It hurts every little move. I know I have alot of pain in my elbow.


Joshua Comments:

Did you break a bone?

Aug 07, 2018
Can't straighten my arm
by: Anonymous

Hello! Almost four weeks ago I had an accident with my bike and felt on tarmac hitting my right elbow. After that the area around the elbow had been bruised and inflamed for almost two weeks and I could only flex my arm about 40 degrees or so.

Now the mobility of my arm has increased but I still can't straighten my arm, my range of motion stops at about 150 degrees. Can you give any advice?

Thank you!


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous. Probably the joint is still swollen so restricting movement of the bones as they're pressed into each other.

Should be advise in this thread and the link to this page in the first comment on this threadcalled 'Help Identifying Inner Elbow Pain Can't Straighten Arm'.

Sep 11, 2018
Fell off a chair can't turn my arm or straighten fingers
by: Linda

On February 3rd 2017 I fell off a chair. I wasn't sure but I guess I had my arm extended out to catch my fall. I dislocated my elbow and fractured my arm. They put soft cast on my arm. I had it on for 3 weeks.

It is now March 22nd 2017 my arm seems to be doing a little better. I still can't straighten it all the way and it's real stiff. I also can't turn my arm are straighten my fingers. Or make a fist.

And I also cannot put my hand straight onto a table. I was wondering how long will it take to heal? Because it's my dominant arm and I'm worried that I won't ever get it back to normal. I haven't seen a doctor since I left the hospital due to insurance I've been doing my own physical therapy at home.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Linda.

It's been a wee while since you posted this.

How are you now, what's happened since then?

Hopefully it's as good as new or at least pretty good, otherwise I have some things to say.

Sep 28, 2018
Fell off bike and can't straighten my arm
by: Angel

Hello all. I fell off my bike 1.5 wks ago and haven't been able to straighten my arm completely since.

I have gained mobility back, thank gosh, but my arm does hurt more than it did before in a way. The muscules feel like they are locking up on me perhaps. Like I have to twist my arm slowly and odd directs to get comfortable.

I did go to the ET orinially. Then my PCP the following wk. he said no more splint.

Oct 12, 2018
Fell on outstretched elbow, still not recovered 9 months later
by: Sunny


I'm commenting here because none of the docs I talk to seem to care.

In January I fell hard on my outstretched/locked right elbow while snowboarding. I heard three muffled crunches on the inner elbow. Immediately there was intense pain and sudden inability to bend, straighten, or otherwise use the arm. No swelling the next day, but my right hand was so cold it turned blue. I didn't go to the hospital because I figured it was just a sprain and hand was a normal-er color the next morning. I got x-rays 2 weeks later just in case, and they were negative. For 3 months following the incident my right hand was perpetually cold and often blue, which I attributed to massive internal swelling. I talked to 4 different PTs who all did a physical examination and heard my story, and all 4 said it sounded like a tendon or ligament tear. It took 3-4 months of daily exercises to regain my range of motion; during that time I was unable to bear any weight or pressure on my right arm. (Friends had to cut my food for me at dinner, and I couldn't brush my teeth with my right hand for fear of the tight band I felt around the pointy tip of my elbow snapping.) Anytime I bore weight in my right hand at a 90° angle, my elbow cracked audibly on the outside and I felt pain.

6 months post-injury, still living cautiously, I was loading groceries into the trunk of my car, being careful not to put too much weight on my right arm. I heard and felt a loud crack on the outer right elbow, followed by sharp pain. In the next 7 days I felt various types of pain and sensations, a different one every day: pins & needles, pickling, throbbing, pulsing pain, buzzing/vibrating, flashes of cold burns spreading throughout the upper forearm. And that cold blue right hand again. I had another X-ray done, and they mentioned stress fractures possibly from the initial fall, but told me those are insignificant and everyone has them. I even got an MRI to check the ligament and nerve, because every medical professional I talk to said it sounded like ligament tear and nerve damage. MRI came back negative save for "minimal posterior swelling of the soft tissue in the olecranon."

It is October now and I still cannot do anything that requires putting weight on my right arm. I still feel weird nerve-y things when I exert my right hand. I was an avid rock climber and have not climbed all year. I am scared to open jars for fear of another crack and weird nerve sensations. No one can figure out what's wrong with me, and docs don't really seem to care because the scans are all negative, I don't scream during physical examinations, and I don't look physically disabled. This morning I pulled on a set of aerial silks (not to pull up my body weight, but simply to get into position) and felt sharp, sudden pain in my right elbow. I think it might have cracked again, but I couldn't hear it this time because I yelped. I just want to know what is wrong with me so I know how to heal properly. I did take NSAIDS and ice the elbow, but I don't think it's healthy to take even OTC NSAIDS every day for an entire year, and it worries me that this thing has been swollen for almost a year now.


Joshua Comments:

Do you mean 'blue' like bruised color? Or blue like lack of circulation?

I'm hoping that you can't possibly mean like lack of circulation, becuase if multiple doctors let you just go home when your hand has significant circulatory problems....that's f'ing crazy crazy bad.

Let me know more about 'blue', and we'll go from there.

Nov 07, 2018
Response to Joshua RE: Fell on outstretched elbow, still not healed 9 months later
by: Sunny

Hi, Josh

Blue from lack of circulation. (I never experienced bruising or external swelling.) Thankfully it's not blue anymore, suggesting the interior swelling has gone down. I still feel pain anytime I bear weight on or exert my right arm at a 90-degree angle. The elbow also clicks when I straighten it. I still feel prickling and cold flashes (feels like Biofreeze or Icy Hot) randomly throughout the day. My PT referred me to an ortho to get a scan for possible pinched nerve, but ortho turned me away saying, "I'm not saying there's nothing wrong with you, I just don't know what it is, and your MRI, which is impossible to get wrong, is negative. Go see someone else."


Joshua Comments:

Wow. That's f'ing crazy. They just sent you a way with a blue extremity? That's lack of circulation, that's risk of permanent damage and/or gangrene! Crazy.

They were checking for pinched nerves when you had an obvious circulatory obstruction? Again, crazy.

So something decreased such that your circulatory system isn't so compressed the blood supply was some large amount of shut off.

Now, if was discolored from excess fluid/basically bruising, that's a different story. I'm guessing that's what it was, doctors etc just wouldn't (I say that with a large dose of optimism) send you away with a circulatory obstruction like that. Which isn't to say that they didn't......but if so they REALLY shouldn't have.

What did the mri say/show about the interior of the elbow joint?

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