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Old 04-06-2011   #1
CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
Elbow Injury

Hey fellow boaters, I recently broke my radial head and was wondering if anybody out there has done the same. I had surgery and they are saying 6-8 weeks for the bone to heal. I hope to be back out asap.

What is healing time like and what can I excpect when trying to get back out on the river.

This is the worst time for this to happen!!

Any words of advice would be greatly helpful!


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Old 04-06-2011   #2
smauk2's Avatar
Near water (hopefully), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 770
I have no advice, sorry.

But your name, welcome brother.

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Old 04-06-2011   #3
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Sorry to hear about the injury. I had an elbow injury with a complex radial head fracture and then some. Mine was probably significantly worse than yours but it took a long time to recover. I was told that the elbow has a tendency to lay down a lot of scar tissue and therefore stiffen up.

Once you're authorized to start moving it, I would really take the stretching seriously to make sure you get back full mobility. A radial head injury means you will lose mobility in the flexion-extension range as well as supination-pronation. I was literally spending hours a day stretching mine back and forth. I would get an experienced physical therapist who is enthusiastic about doing lots of hands-on mobility work with you and who has some strong burly hands. I think this is really important - I went through a few PTs and was amazed at how much more mobile I could get after a session with someone who really knew what they were doing. I also got one of these JAS splits which helped quite a bit - hopefully yours will not necessitate dealing with that.

I did find that paddling didn't bother it too much once I was at the point where I could do it and the movement is probably good for the recovery. Feel free to PM me if you have additional questions.
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Old 04-06-2011   #4
Ashland and Lake Almanor, state of jefferson
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 81
6 weeks heal time if your young, 4 weeks of P.T.
3 months later good as new. dr. put me in crazy brace that pulled arm straight. your elbow locks up the fastest and getting it to move again was worst then folding it backwards. keep up with the P.T.
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Old 04-06-2011   #5
CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
kaya did you have pins put in or any screws?
Thanks for the info!
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Old 04-06-2011   #6
Ashland and Lake Almanor, state of jefferson
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 81
yes they screwed mine, with a plate. I tore everything out really bad. arm folded backwards, white bone popped out, it didn't hurt till i saw it. once EMT's cut jacket away and I saw it stickin out, oh boy..... i passed out cold....
pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lives forever. good luck and go slow the first few weeks.
I still wear arm brace when i'm riding toys, and get pain shots right into elbow now and way better than pills...

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