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Healed fractured elbow and humerus but I am so tired

I'm in my 40's, fractured my elbow and humerus 4/30/2012 and was operated on the first week of May. I had edemea (sp?) and cupital tunnel syndrome. Last week, I began to feel no ulnar nerve pain and I've been going to PT. They're very happy with the pt and the fractures have healed although I still have to strengthen and my arm is stretching very nicely giving them every hope I will be able to straighten my arm in the near future.

Since the surgery, I have noticed severe fatigue. I thought it may have to do with the surgery and healing but it still persists. I wake up (sleep well, eat healthy, and am not depressed) and am good for about 7 hours. After that, I am wiped out.

Does anyone have any ideas? I would be most appreciative.
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First Helper User Profile Gaelic
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replied July 12th, 2012
Especially eHealthy
shouldbebacktonormal,

It is very common for patients to have a feeling a fatigue for quite a while after significant injury/surgery. This can lasts for months. Your body is using all of its reserves to heal and rebuild tissues.

Most people by the time they reach 40 are not really doing a lot of physical activity any more. Yes, a few people still run marathons, play competitive sports, etc, but the vast majority are slowing down and do not participate in regular physical activity to maintain a good physical conditioning.

So, again, you are using all of your reserves to heal. Before the injury, you were probably doing enough to get by, but not enough activity to maintain a high level of physical activity. Could you run 3 to 5 miles before the injury, play a whole game of soccer, hike 10 miles, etc? If not, your physical conditioning was just enough to get you by. Now, you are stressing your body above that.


So, first, you should probably have a check up by your primary care physician to rule out any conditions you may have. If nothing is found, then you basically need to build up your physical condition. Even though you feel tired, you will need to get out and do extra physical activity (walking, stationary biking, water aerobics are great). You need to get back into shape, just like an athlete does at the beginning of the season.


As to your injury, it is not uncommon after intraarticular elbow fractures to never regain full extension (straight out). The good thing, there are very few activities that require your elbows to be completely straight (military pushups, bench presses, etc). When you lift, push, carry objects, you have your elbows slightly bent. So, not being able to get the elbow out to zero degrees usually is not a problem. The functional range of motion of the elbow is from about 25 degree to about 125 degrees. That allows you to reach the two important areas of the body; the mouth and the private parts.


It sounds like your ulnar nerve is recovering, which is great. Cubital tunnel syndrome (compression of the ulnar nerve behind the elbow) is very common in elbow fractures.


But, again, you might want to see your personal physician, just to make sure there is nothing going on to cause your fatigue. If he/she says that you are okay from that stand point, then you are going to have to get back in shape, and that is actually going to take a bit of hard work. Especially since you feel tired. But, getting up and doing physical activity rebuilds the muscles, reconditions the heart and lungs, and makes it easier to do the needed daily activities, without feeling pooped.

Good luck. Hang in there.
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replied July 13th, 2012
Thank you for your reply. Before the injury/injuries I was a workaholic and although I'm not in bad shape and not overweight by all means, I wasn't in shape to run 3 to 5 miles or hike (without a break) 10 miles. I'm in a quandry as I believe I'm going to have to return to work in a few weeks and won't have time to get in shape.

Your advice has been very helpful. Thank you once again.
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replied July 13th, 2012
Thank you for your reply. Before the injury/injuries I was a workaholic and although I'm not in bad shape and not overweight by all means, I wasn't in shape to run 3 to 5 miles or hike (without a break) 10 miles. I'm in a quandry as I believe I'm going to have to return to work in a few weeks and won't have time to get in shape.

Your advice has been very helpful. Thank you once again.
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