When you have a broken elbow, you have more than just healing the bone to do, you have potential physical rehabilitation to consider as well. Your elbow is a moving joint and bone that is not rigid, like a femur is, for example. You need your elbow to have a full range of motion in order to effectively use your arm.
Elbow fractures are relatively common, especially those that involve a break in the bone just above or below the actual elbow and not in the bend. Regardless of how you injured your elbow, your most important thing to consider now is keeping the elbow elevated and swelling at bay, and as soon as you get that cast off, speak to your doctor about being referred to a chiropractor for physical rehabilitation treatment. You can also go to a chiropractor for rehabilitation treatments on your own.
Here are reasons why you might have physical rehabilitation treatment following a broken elbow. Discuss your options for aftercare with your doctor, or better yet, your chiropractor.
You might have weakened muscles following healing
Your muscles can atrophy after you have had your elbow and arm in a cast for so long. Your range of motion might be limited as a result of this weakness and you might not be able to fully extend your elbow either straight or down. Your chiropractor can measure the degree to which you can bend your elbow and can do physical rehabilitation treatment to help increase your range of motion and make those weakened muscles strong again.
You might have nerve palsy following your break
If you are one of the unlucky people who experiences ulnar nerve palsy — or an inability to move your forefinger and thumb due to nerve damage — from your elbow injury, then it can take some time to heal and get those nerves to come back. Hand exercises, along with other physical rehabilitation efforts, can help you get your nerve strength back with time, much faster than you might without physical therapy at all.
You will need time to heal from your injury, long after your cast has been removed. Your chiropractor can help you get your range of motion back and bring your hand strength back as well. When you schedule your consultation with your chiropractor initially, bring in any medical reports you have related to your injury, including X-rays. This can help a professional determine the method of physical rehabilitation treatment for you.