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Can't straighten arm

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About 8 or 9 years ago I fell of a skateboard and fractured my left arm. I was in a cast for a few weeks...and then when they took the cast off my arm was extremely weak and stiff. I went to the physiotherapist weekly to help strengthen it, but as I was only 11 I didn't do the exercises she gave me as many times as I should have. Now I still can't straighten my arm and it's usually carried bent when I stand. I play a lot of sport and feel my arm is getting in the way of things. Is there anything I can do to help this properly i.e operation/exercises?
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replied May 21st, 2009
Community Volunteer
Why not contact a Physical Therapist and see if there are exercises that you can do at this time in your life to help you...I would think that there is...If they can bring an older person back, then they sure can do this with youth...Good luck...

Caroline
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replied August 21st, 2009
I have the same problem.
I had an abscess I & D (inscission and drain) on my upper arm halfway between my elbow and shoulder.
After laying in a hospital bed for a week not moving my arm I lost full extension of my elbow.
It wasn't bad enought to catch the nurses attention or for me to worry about. i figured it would get better over time.
What actually happened was is got much worse with time.
My arm is now bent at an angle permanently and I can not straighten it completely.
I should have gone in immediately and had it looked at but I didn't.
I was laid off and lost my health insurance shortly after.
Now I need to try physical therapy to see if it will help.
I hope it does because with no insurance a surgery (if possible) would be difficult to finance.

I hope you too get some help and try physical therapy.
In my opinion it's the first step towards seeing if full mobility of the elbow can be achieved.
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replied October 15th, 2010
retarded elbow
Ive had the same problems. Here's my back story. I have grown up playing baseball and football. When I was 13(unlucky i guess), in 8th grade I was diagnosed with bone chips in my elbow. So they went in and did orthoscopic surgery to remove the chips. I did my therapy and got back into playing baseball again, but no football. It took me 2 years to be able to throw a baseball how I was accustomed to but there was one big problem. I couldnt bend or straighten my arm %100. Very difficult to have the right mindset when I could throw harder in little league as opposed to 10th grade. I eventuall got most my strength back but still couldnt bend,straighten, or turn my wrist up.
After high school I went on to play some college ball (as a pitcher). I spoke to our team doctor and he told me that it was a maricle that i was still able to throw with the velocity i was throwing with and that my arm hadn't torn off from all the physical strain put on it.
2 months later I tear my Labrum and call it an end to what used to be a dream.

Anyways the doc went in and repaired my shoulder, I think they actually gave me Brett Favres old one, but it still works. But my elbow still will not bend or straigten. I have about %70 of my motion.

My question is how can i get my elbow to cooperate with me? I have a hard time with a lot of exercises that require my elbow to do these things. What can I do?
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replied November 22nd, 2010
Straightening and bending arm
Well I would stretch it and if that doesn't work go see another doctor and if that doesn't help you may just never be able to straighten or bend your arm again
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replied November 22nd, 2010
Well I would stretch it and if that doesn't work go see another doctor and if that doesn't help you may just never be able to straighten or bend your arm again
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replied November 22nd, 2010
Well I would stretch it and if that doesn't work go see another doctor and if that doesn't help you may just never be able to straighten or bend your arm again
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replied November 22nd, 2010
My arms don't straighten! I guess I'm born with it. I have never broke sprained or fractured anything! I am a softball pitcher but I don't think that matters. Well it does for pitching it's hard for me to me tall and straight on top! If u feel my elbow it feels lite it just stops and that I need to do something to my bone! It's weird. But I swear I have never done anything to it. It doesn't affect me in throwing or swinging a bat it just affects me in pitching. An I do stretch. Just help me I have NO IDEA! Oh and I have seen a doctor he said that idk he said sumtin to my mom that didn't help I don't remember it was like 3yrs ago so like help me pls!!!!
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replied September 15th, 2011
Elbows Don't straighten
Hey you are not alone. Myself and my daughter both have the same thing. It doesn't affect much, maybe more prone to tennis elbow and impossible to dislocate the elbow, but other than minimal range of motion reduction it's not a big deal. I actually got turned down going into the Army for this, I had to get a medical waiver. I have played every sport, was in the infantry, did martial arts for 13 years, and although some adaption was required it was all good. I guess some of us are just special Sasa... Enjoy, it's all good.
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replied November 15th, 2011
I think I was also born with this because I can't straighten it and it does Affect me because I'm in gymnastics and it makes it a lot more difficult to do because I can't striaghten my elbow is there like any surgery that can fix this?
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replied November 16th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
Kelsey,

If you were born with a condition in which you cannot straighten your elbow completely, that is much different from someone who has sustained an injury to the elbow.

Unfortunately, there are a few thing that can cause this. One being a congenital dislocation of the radial head. Another is a congenital radioulnar synostosis. And in a few cases, patients, for some reason, develop soft tissue contracture of the elbow.


As to treatment for this, if the patient has a functional range of motion of the elbow (25 to 125 degrees of flexion, and about 45 degrees of both pronation and supination), then you probably will not find a surgeon willing to do anything surgically. As the chances of making the problem worse is a greater risk, than the few degrees of range of motion to be obtained.

Surgery of the elbow almost always causes a decrease in range of motion. So to try to surgically fix a small amount of decreased elbow motion is fraught with problems. But, if you have a significant reduction in motion, then you might try speaking with an orthopedic surgeon, who is well versed in the treatment of elbow problems.

But, a diagnosis as to why you have decreased motion in the first step.

Good luck.
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replied April 20th, 2012
Arm straightening exercise - been working on it for a few years
I have been using this one exercise to get my elbow straightened out. Been working nicely. Others have reported progress as well.
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replied January 21st, 2013
Fractured elbow
I've got the same issue. I fractured my right elbow when I was 13 on rollerblades. I'm now 29 and still can't fully extend my arm. However I'm very active. I been breakdancing 13 years now and at time I feel as if my elbow hyper extends because it wants to straighten but the pin in my elbow won't allow it. It's extremely frustrating. I thought about looking into surgery to see if there's an option for getting the arm back to 180 degrees. However I highly doubt it.
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replied January 21st, 2013
Especially eHealthy
bboyfifo,

In almost all cases, where there has been a significant injury around the elbow, the patient will never regain full extension of the elbow (actually, full extension is known as 0 degrees, with full flexion usually up to around 130 degrees or more). The loss of full extension is usually due to the formation of scar tissue around the elbow joint.

However, there are very few activities which patients do which require full extension of the elbow. Most physical activity is done with the elbow in slight flexion (pushing, pulling, lifting, etc). So, in most cases, the patient is not hampered by the inability to fully extend the elbow.


Also, if you are not significantly hindered by the lack of full extension, you most likely do not want to risk losing more motion by having further surgery. Surgery around the elbow usually results in the formation of more scar tissue. So, if you can function adequately, most surgeons would not even offer you any surgical intervention. It is just too high of a risk of making you worse.


Good luck.
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replied December 29th, 2013
broken wrist
ok mines is similar to everyone. see I am from Liberia when I was around 4 or 5 my sister said that I came home crying a complaining about my arm being that I couldn't really talk good and be able to properly express what was wrong they assum I broke it on the playing ground took me to a family doctor who pulled it and I placed some stuff on it. my pain and everything went away so they assume the problem was over with but what ended happening was my wrist was bending slowly. when I was 10 we moved to the U.S. where there is more to do and we had money so now I could get the proper care. I went and got a surgery did physical therapy but my wrist is still the same I cant do push up. it scares me a little because I really want to join the army and I believe ill be denie because I cant pass physical. my question is should I go to do another surgery and take off from work..?? or just keep doing the same basic jobs because I cant do some things that ill like. I cant catch with my right arm neither put too much weight on it.
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replied February 9th, 2014
Help with an elbow that won't straighten.
I used to pitch baseball a lot. My elbow got to the point were it would only straighten to about 45 degrees. Any type of repetitious activity would cause my arm to quickly tire. I used to try to stretch my arm constantly without positive results. After I discovered the concept of trigger points, I started to stretch my arm while rubbing all around the elbow. I would do this about every two hours when possible. After about a month and a half of doing this, I was able to fully straighten my arm. Anyone having this problem should look into trigger points. Not sure if this is a valid medical thing but the rehab worked for me.
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replied March 15th, 2014
Arm hasn't straightened for over 30 years
Injured arm swimming over 30 years ago when I was 13. Wouldn't straighten. Got better once and being a kid away at camp, I went swimming again and it has never gotten better since. Played tennis and many other sports with no problems, but after 30 years of being at an awkward angle, has caused many shoulder problems. Several dislocations, and weakness that allowed a gentle fall to cause a separation. Despite all this, I am still swimming without pain, but looking for a way to stop the continued decrease in range of motion that I have noticed over the years.
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