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Undiagnosed Arm Pain

Printed From: CyberPT - Your Online Physical Therapy Resource
Category: Patient Forum
Forum Name: Arm, Elbow, Wrist & Hand Injuries/Conditions
Forum Description: Patients can post questions and experiences about arm, elbow, wrist & hand injuries/conditions.
Printed Date: May 28 2020 at 3:52pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.03 -

Topic: Undiagnosed Arm Pain
Posted By: D Binny
Subject: Undiagnosed Arm Pain
Date Posted: Dec 12 2015 at 12:10pm

Hello all,
First, thank you all very much for taking the time to read the post. I thank you in advance for all responses.

One month ago I was hit by a car from behind while riding my bike. It was a hit and run and unfortunately, I suffered a concussion and do not remember exactly how I fell. Immediately I knew there was damage to my arms, but because I am uninsured I waited two days to see if the symptoms would get better on there own. Upon realizing that medical care was necessary, I went to the closet non-emergency room immediate care clinic. After reviewing the X-Rays for both arms they told me that my left arm suffered a complete level 1 Radial fracture, but they told me that my right arm was fine.

( After the discussion concerning my diagnosis I was unbeknownst to me brought a different patient's prescription and discharge papers. On my way out the door the doctor asks me where I was going, so I explained that the nurse discharged me and with a look of fear he explained that there had been a mix up and that she had mistakenly discharged the wrong person. Long story short, I question the professionalism of the clinic that I went to ).

Now one month later I still have significant pain and weakness in my right arm, centered in my right forearm and elbow. The pain is not persistent, but simple things such as turning a doorknob clockwise or pushing in a thumb door latch are very painful. Upon clockwise rotation I have sharp pain in the muscles of my forearm just below the elbow. No point in particular seems sorer then any other when probe my right arm with my left, but even typing this now there are some pains shooting up the top of my forearm near my right elbow. There is almost a burning sensation that occur in my upper forearm sometimes on rotation as well. If I lie on the ground flat on my back with both arms extended, palms up by my side, and try to rotate my right palm clock wise so that my thumb approaches the floor I get a sharp pain just below the elbow on my forearm which at this point is now pointing towards the ceiling with my palms turned up. These symptoms do not appear to be getting better.


As for my left elbow, the swelling and bruising has diminished completely and the pain has diminished somewhat, but I feel a looming stiffness in my elbow developing upon extension. I can only extend to about 85%.

I was given no physical therapy recommendations nor any information as far as far as what I should expect during the recovery process. I am writing today in the hopes that some of you fine people can point me in the right directions of what steps I should take as far as physical therapy goes. Are there any resources for exercises that I can do to at home to help reduce the stiffness and improves flexibility in my left elbow? As far as the pain in my right elbow goes, are there any simple range of motion tests that I can do to try to pin point what the issue is? I ask the same question about what exercises I can do to help work out the pain.

As I mentioned earlier, if I could afford it I would be seeking professional help, but because I am uninsured and broke ( the accident also put me out of work for the last month ) I am here seeking your advice.

Thank you all again for your replies - I wholeheartedly appreciate them.
All the best,


Posted By: Ask a PT
Date Posted: Dec 16 2015 at 10:08am
Hi - for your L elbow I would do some manual therapy/massage to the muscles around the elbow to assist with increasing tissue pliability and joint mobility. I would also have my patients hold a weight lying in bed with arm straight out to the side and elbow off of bed to stretch the elbow into extension. They can hold for 2-3 minutes for 2-3 x's.
As far as the R elbow goes it sounds like you might be experiencing either medial (inside) or lateral (outside) epicondylitis. Is the pain located on the inside or outside of the elbow? 

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