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I broke my humerus bone by throwing a ball.

Hi! I broke my right humerus bone on 9th jan and found out it was a spiral and butterfly fracture in the distal part of the humerus. The doctors first decided to fix it surgically but the next day they told me that it was inoperable and they'll have to wait for 2 weeks to decide if surgery was the right option. A functional brace was put on my arm and after 2 weeks the doctor told me that they'll let it heal naturally. I removed my brace after the 6th week but still wear it when I go out.

I want to ask If there's something wrong with my bones? I broke it while throwing a ball ( same action as a baseball pitcher). Should I get a bone density check? And how long will it take for my elbow to have full range of motion.

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replied April 1st, 2014
Especially eHealthy

You do not say how old you are or how active you are. I am assuming you are male, by your avatar.

Bone density in a healthy young male, who is pretty active, would probably be normal. However, if you are very sedentary or on the more mature side, you may have decreased bone density. But, again, it is not as common in males as it is in females.

If your surgeons note that you have osteopenia on x-rays, then a bone density should be done. (Osteopenia usually is not evident on x-ray, until about 1/3 of bone density has been lost.)

There have been cases of baseball pitchers breaking their humerus during throwing. In most of these cases, an underlying tumor was found, which is why the bone was weaker.

Thus, unless you have reasons to have osteoporosis (decreased bone density), your humerus should really be checked to make sure there is no underlying problem (such as a tumor, benign or otherwise).

So, it is rare for the humerus to fracture in the distal 1/3. The spiral pattern indicates that a significant twisting moment was applied to the humerus. A spiral fracture of the humerus is usually caused by falling on an outstretched hand, and while the body weight in on the humerus, a twisting moment is applied. Butterfly fragments are usually seen in the fracture pattern of a "three point bending moment".

Thus, you have a very complicated fracture pattern.

Surgical treatment of fractures in the distal third are risky because of the radial nerve. You do not want to injury the radial nerve, as that would cause significant problems with finger/hand/wrist function.

As to regaining elbow motion, that may take some time. And, it is not uncommon for patients to not regain full elbow extension (making the arm straight). However, the loss of 10-15 degrees in extension is usually not a functional problem for patients. There are few activities which require full extension of the elbow (military push ups is about it). Pushing, pulling, lifting activities are done with slight elbow flexion. So, again, it will take some time to regain elbow motion, and you may lose a few degrees of elbow extension. But, it is usually not a functional problem.

Again, it is not common for this complex type of injury pattern to occur in a young, healthy, active, male. If you have reasons to have reduced bone density, then it should be checked.

Good luck. Hope you are doing okay.
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replied April 23rd, 2014
hi on 15 march 2014 fell on my right knee but was able to see doctor after two days only he didn't do x-ray but request mri and than boom - on 19 march result came - not displaced patella fracture - he put t-brace on ( and tell me please x-ray after 2 weeks)but not right way probably - got presser and dull pain - take off and went to see another doctor - he put on the different brace and tell keep tree week - I again start developing pain - today went for third opinion - he did x-ray and told - brace must for 3 weeks but put it on even worsen than those two before . just came home took it off - immediately after pain disappear... don't want brace but in the same time very nervous - do I allowed to stay without ?! meanwhile 38 days already gone sense trauma...
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