Physical Therapy after elbow dislocation


Q: Dear doctors i have already asked this question once. I had a dislocation in my right elbow. It was fixed and a pop put for 3 weeks. After the removal of pop my elbow cannot straighten and cannot bend. I have started going for physiotherapy and the massaging is very painful. Is there an alternative to massaging in the physiotherapy. please awaiting your response.


A:    It is normal that after the cast removal, the elbow joint be stiff and painful with the movements and to the touch, that’s why is so important the rehabilitation after the immobilization. The longer the elbow is immobilized, the larger the flexion contracture and the more severe the pain. The first PT sessions are expected to be a little bit difficult and painful but the more movement and PT you do the more improvement you will get in the long run. It is a key concept in rehab post elbow dislocations that a short immobilization period (2-3 weeks) followed by and early, directed rehab process , allow early return to the daily living activities and sports participation. Unfortunately, there is no alternative better than Physical therapy and progressive mobilizations and exercises in your case. If the massage is hurting, the therapist should use first TENS or warm compresses to help you to manage the  pain, also you could take anti inflammatory medication (“motrin”, “aleve”) before the therapy session. Hopefully , progressively you will regain mobility and the pain will be under control with the future sessions.

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