What's this arm issue after a fall?
December 6, 2019 5:14 AM   Subscribe

YANMD. A month ago, I took a nasty fall and hurt my left arm. It’s getting better, but what do you think I did to it?

I was carrying bags of groceries on each shoulder down a concrete sidewalk like I'd done a thousand of times before, but tripped on an uneven portion and crashed hard. Though it's not 100% yet, it's been progressively healing.

Immediately after: excruciating pain throughout my forearm and very little mobility. Went to urgent care to rule out a fracture, and the xrays came up clean. There was zero bruising, though slightly swollen from elbow to wrist.

For 2 weeks: It hurt a ton to rotate my arm (palm up, palm down), and pushing pulling anything - microwave door, car door, putting on a fitted sheet, pulling on leggings, turning a doorknob, etc. Would hurt especially towards my wrist and mid-forearm.

The next 2 weeks: getting mobility back, but still some pain and moving slowly. Resuming lifting light weights (previously lifted weights 2x a week) but with modified range of motion and by the end of it, getting back to normal range.

5 weeks out: I can *finally* put a little weight on it for a couple of seconds (high plank, pushup, etc). Previously couldn't put any weight on it at all. Pain is felt on the inside of my elbow.

I had meant to go to an orthopedist but needed a referral, and it was about 10 days before I could see my PCP. Things were improving so I decided to wait on it. I know YANMD, but what does this sound like?
posted by raztaj to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Dude, don't f**k around with this any more than you already have - this sort of injury can very easily lead to a permanent disability.
If your usual GP is not immediately available to see today, get with anyone else in his or her office or any related office - you HAVE to see someone about this today, and insist they make an urgent appointment to an orthopedist today as well... you have already waited way too long.
Asking randos on the internet to diagnose your f**ked up arm when you apparently have health insurance is just wrong. Get off your duff and take the initiative to keep this from getting worse.
My wife had a similar fall resulting in a break that was not immediately apparent on the initial x-ray, but a break it was, requiring weeks of diligent PT exercises to recover full strength and motion in her arm. If she had delayed in getting followup care or been less diligent with her PT work, we are both very certain she would have limited use of that arm today.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 8:23 AM on December 6, 2019 [7 favorites]

Nthing BigLankyBastard.

The length of recovery description of pain sounds like it could be a couple of ... not good things.

This is not a can-I-eat-it or how-many-Advil-should-this-weekend-warrior-take-on-Monday. This is a should-I-see-a-doctor and the answer is yes. You want to see a PT and you want that referral. Particularly if it ends up including some nerve impingement or a fracture.

No one here can diagnose this, you need facetime and sooner rather than later.
posted by mce at 9:19 AM on December 6, 2019

I'd go to the ortho. You might have had a hairline fracture or chipped the elbow bone and it didn't show up on x-rays right away. Or they didn't take the right x-ray. It might also just be a bad deep bruise. Those take a lot longer to heal up than you'd think. Go back to urgent care and get a referral to the ortho if your GP won't give you one right away.
posted by fshgrl at 9:21 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Agreeing with all the above. You need to see a doctor asap. You could have done tendon or muscle damage that could very well keep getting worse as time goes on. This needs to be kept up on. I was injured at work, and kept putting it off because "it wasn't as bad". Until it was. And ended up having surgery and a bicep screwed into my upper arm because it had shredded and apparently you can't just reattach a bicep where it's supposed to be.

So, yeah. Go get that taken care of!
posted by annieb at 3:24 PM on December 6, 2019

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