When dealing with an olecranon fracture rehabilitation, and crucially the functional aftermath, you learn a lot of little things to make life better. As the rehabilitation of the olecranon fracture continues, I have come to realise little things that have helped me. Things that I wish I hadn’t done, or crucially, things I wish I had done more of/or for longer
This post is a collection of those thoughts and points that don’t really fit anywhere else on the site so far. It will be continually updated as I find new bits
- Don’t neglect the rhomboids – you’ll regret it if you do! Currently, I’m having difficulty finding that I’m constantly raising up my right shoulder, and this is partially as I have been concentrating on my elbow fracture rehabilitation and not also doing sufficient of the the shoulder exercises when doing my physiotherapy. Rather embarrassing as I was warned about this!
- When starting to move the arm again, look to mimic the movement of your good arm. Especially the position of the shoulder. This is something I wish I had done from early on in the rehabilitation, as it may have reduced the discomfort I have to the right shoulder now.
- Ice is NOT used to reduce the inflammation in an injury or joint. It is used to help pain relief. However don’t put the bare skin straight onto ice, or onto a ice gel pack – ensure that the ice/cold block is inside something. Even if this means wrapping the ice in a tea towel. By doing this, you are still able to get the benefit of the cold being applied to your injury, but you won’t freeze/stick yourself to the ice pack!!
- As things improve, discuss your fracture rehabilitation honestly with the physiotherapist and work on increasing and improving your exercises together. If the injury is Stiff, or sore, keep doing as instructed. If it HURTS, if there is actual pain, contact your physiotherapist to get more information. Maybe your fracture rehabilitation plan needs adjusting . Pain in this situation could mean you are doing too much, which is likely to slow your healing and fracture rehabilitation rather than improve it. DONT CHANCE IT! COMMUNICATE
- Don’t get the cast wet is easier than it sounds, particularly when you can’t fit clothes onto the arm. We ended up using a very effective way to walk down the road to go for a meal at the local pub – wrap it cling film/plastic wrap
- LISTEN to your physio team during fracture rehabilitation. I know that sounds daft, but sometimes the information can be counter intuitive when you want to get moving again. When I was advised to start pool physiotherapy, I gave it a go. The arm hurt, at the olecranon fracture site continuously for about a week afterwards. The physiotherapist advised to stop anything other than merely the stretches for another 10 days. This is REALLY difficult, as I wanted to get back to a normal life. However the pain did subside. The converse here, I’ve now been advised to start LOW LEVEL – 0.5kg weight training, but at this stage of healing, well into the 6th week post op, I have been told that pain 5/10 is safe. That makes it REALLY painful but inside the elbow, not at the olecranon fracture site. However shocking the pain drops off over a period of days. Its feels like you are breaking scar tissue, or something, but in a good way. 3 days since I was told its safe to start putting power on it, every day I’m finding the pain gets less, and that I can move further!!
- GIVE YOURSELF A GOAL – but make it reasonable. At the start of my rehabilitation I tried to do a 10minute walk every day, but that was quite tiring in the first week or so, but by week 2 I’d changed that rather than time, I was using a Garmin 920XT as a pedometer, and ensuring that I covered at least 10,000 step a day
- Keep going when things done quite work, the physiotherapy is hard, frustrating, and shockingly mentally tiring, just trying to program your body to do the movements it has forgotten