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i can't straighten my right arm

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i can not straighten my right arm, i do not know what is going wrong. i am not old, therefore i do not think i have bone loss. i have not had any surgeries and this is really affecting my sports. should i go to the docter? i do not know that much about this and have never excperienced this before. what should i do? thanks for the help.
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First Helper User Profile Gaelic
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replied March 3rd, 2011
Especially eHealthy
Loss of elbow ROM
By not being able to extend the arm, I assume you mean your elbow. You do not say if you have had any trauma to the joint or if you are having any other symptoms (pain, catching, popping, swelling, etc). There are several reasons for not being able to extend the elbow and a good exam will differentiate between them. It can be as simple as being "muscle bound", lifting a lot of weights in a short period without doing the necessary stretching to keep the elbow flexors (brachioradialis and biceps) stretched out. It could be a loose body within the joint, that is catching and not allowing full extension. This usually has pain associated with it, but not always. Neuromuscular disorders would have other significant symptoms and tendon tears are usually painful. Since it is bothering your activities, and hasn't resolved, you should probably be seen by an orthopedic surgeon and have x-rays at least. Good luck.
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replied January 29th, 2013
Neuromuscular disorders?
Hi - what kind of neuromuscular disorders would cause this. I had botox injections that made me sick and one of the side effects I experiences was not being able to straighten my left elbow. Sad
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replied January 29th, 2013
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lotsoflove,

It depends upon where you had the botox injection. If the injection was in the area of the triceps, it may be a normal reaction to the botox.

But, if it was given somewhere else, then not being able to straighten the left elbow is probably due to something else. A systemic reaction to the botox would cause problems with all of the skeletal muscles in the body, not just specific muscles in just one arm.

You need to have your arm evaluated by a hand surgeon, neurologist, or a physiatrist (specialist in PM&R - physical medicine and rehabilitation). It needs to be determined if the problem is a muscle problem (the muscles cannot pull the elbow into full extension, or the flexor muscles are too tight to let the elbow extend) or if it is a problem in the joint itself. This would have to be determined with a thorough exam.

Good luck. Hope you find out what is causing your elbow problem.
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replied March 26th, 2013
Hi - I have the same issue that I can't straighten my right arm.
I can straighten my left arm, I have decent flexibility in the shoulder and a clear tricep at my left arm.
My right arm I can't straighten, have lack of flexibility in the shoulder, and I can barely see the tricep.
I do CrossFit and boxing and I believe I got the tricep at my left arm from all the left arms at boxing.
But to me it seems like its something wrong in my elbow that makes me not being able to straighten my right arm. But I also think it might be because of the flexibility loss. I could have gone to a chiropractor, would that be a solution?
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replied March 26th, 2013
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Klung,

Sorry about your problems.

You have to first figure out what is causing the elbow to not extend.

Have you had an injury to the elbow in the past (a dislocation, a radial head fracture, etc)? If so, then you may have residual lack of extension from the injury, which is actually very common.

If you have not have one discrete injury, you may have done some repeated small traumas from your fighting activites, which have not culminated in lack of motion.

There are also degenerative changes which can occur in the elbow. You do not say how old you are. But, the elbow is a very common place to develop small "joint mice", which a small loose bodies of cartilage, which can cause the joint to not go into full extension (sometimes this calcify, so they can be seen on x-ray). The usually collect in the olecranon fossa on the distal humerus.


But, again, you need to find out what exactly is causing the problem, before you can decide on how to treat it.


You might want to see an orthopedic surgeon. One who has fellowship training in hand/upper extremity surgery or an elbow/shoulder surgeon.


Good luck.
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replied September 24th, 2013
Hi Gaelic,

I have a similar problem. Three months ago I dislocated my elbow and I have been going to an acupuncture specialist but it is not really working: I am still unable to straighten it completely. It doesn't hurt really it is just the inability to straighten that annoys me.

Is surgery needed? Or is there any other way to rehabilitate its mobility?

Thanks in advance,

James
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replied March 27th, 2013
Hi again and thank you for quick answer. I am 17 years old and later evolved than other boys at my age. I believe the boxing haven't influenced my elbow, I haven't done it enough to mess it up. And I have really never had any injuries in my elbow.
But since I was a little kid back to elementary school I've maybe been thrown things like a small ball at a test, or a snowball etc, and when I throw something like that with full power it hurts crazy much in the elbow. I remember I couldn't do more than 2-3 throws because it did hurt too much.
Again thank you for quick answer!
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replied March 27th, 2013
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Klung,

Yes, since you are 17, you are a bit too young to have any significant degenerative changes in the elbow joint. And, if you have not been doing a lot of boxing/fighting, then it could not be the cause of a repetitive injury.


It is interesting that it has bothered you, just about your whole life.

If you had stated that the elbow bothered you a lot when you did a lot of pitching (pitching is in baseball, bowling would be in cricket), then one would be concerned that you had "Little Leaguer's Elbow", which is an overuse syndrome from repeated valgus stress, causing medial sided elbow pain.

But, you state that it hurts after just a couple of throws, so it is not an overuse syndrome.


You could possibly have an OCD in the elbow (most common place is the capitellum). An OCD is osteochondritis dissecans. This is an intra-articular lesion of the articular cartilage and the bone right underneath it (subchondral bone). OCDs are most common in adolescents, but they can occur at any age. They can usually be picked up on x-rays, but if the x-ray was done at a very young age (when the bone have a high percentage of cartilage in them still), the OCD may not be visible. An OCD would cause pain with any type of heavy lifting, impact loading, throwing, etc.


There are some other developmental and congenital problems which could be the cause of your pain.


But, the only way to know, is to have the elbow evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon. It would take a very thorough examination and probably some imaging studies (x-ray, CT scan (for bony problems), MRI (for soft tissue problems), bone scan (inflammation), or an ultrasound).


Good luck.
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replied August 9th, 2013
Similar to above
hey i cannot straighten my right arm.. i 17 so i dont think its is bone loss ... i havent played any sport in a while... when i tried straighten it the pain is too much so i dont bother, the pain is from the elbow ... it has gone worse last 2 days i woke up with this on tuesday and now its friday ,,, i have put ice on it which makes it a bit better (the pain)but still cant straighten my arm
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replied February 5th, 2014
Elbow Problems..
Hello, I am 18 years old and have been having problems with my elbows. I have had X-Rays done and the results show that nothing is there or causing any problems. Usually they ache for different amounts of time each day. However, today I am unable to fully straighten my left elbow. I don't know what caused this because I did not sleep on my sides and have not done anything to specifically cause my left elbow to not extend all of the way. At least, I didn't do anything to my knowledge.

What could this be?

When I go to the doctor, they think this is strange because I am so young. I do not play any sports and cannot think of anything I do on a day to day basis that would be physical straining. I took dexamethasone for 10 days, per request of my doctor, and it did not help at all. There is no swelling, inflammation or redness, nor has there ever been. My arms look perfectly normal, however they ache as if I was an older person with arthritis or something along those lines. They have bothered me for a little over a year, but it keeps getting worse.

Thanks.
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