Give me your tips for broken elbows please

(22 Posts)
Cupidity Wed 16-Jun-21 11:18:49

Dd managed to break her elbow yesterday. She's got a week in a full arm soft cast that absolutely can't get wet (although I have ordered the waterproof sleeve), and will then have a month in a hard cast.

I've managed to book her into the hairdresser on friday to just have her hair washed.

I know it's going to be hot and itchy in the cast so will be hanging out in cafes with aircon to try and keep her cool.

But what else should I know? Any hints, tips, etc very gratefully received.

OP’s posts: |
Beebumble2 Wed 16-Jun-21 12:57:49

Oh poor girl, a horrible injury. A pillow placed along side her in bed, so that she doesn’t roll onto it.
The arm is attached to lots of muscles/ tendons that go across the back, so back support when sitting might help. Hope it heals soon.

Cupidity Wed 16-Jun-21 17:06:13

Luckily she has a double bed, so she's got plenty of space to spread out. I did prop it up on pillows last night, but she's used to moving around a lot in her sleep.

Will look at some back support whilst sitting options. Thanks @Beebumble2

OP’s posts: |
Champagnecharleyismyname Wed 16-Jun-21 17:09:12

My daughter broke and dislocated her elbow in gymnastics.

Best thing we did was physio after as it was locked in a bent position. She took a while to get the mobility back.

Cupidity Wed 16-Jun-21 17:16:20

@Champagnecharleyismyname that's amazing, hadn't thought of recovery physio but she'll definitely benefit from that. Luckily I know an amazing one so will get her seen sometime in the summer.

What kind of things did your dd do to keep entertained? School don't want her in till she has the hard cast on and its quickly becoming apparent that actually most of the games we have involve quite a lot of using your hands (baking, throwing dice, art). We have netflix and prime but apparently she's already bored of watching TV, and we're only on day 1 <sigh>

OP’s posts: |
Champagnecharleyismyname Wed 16-Jun-21 17:20:44

We watched lots of box sets together, Friends from the first episode and Pretty Little Liars.

Friends came and bought her lots of sweets.

She went back to school with a hard cast on and could choose different friends to stay in at break with her. She enjoyed the attention.

First couple of days were very painful for her but no pain with the hard cast and she loved choosing a glittery cast.

minipie Wed 16-Jun-21 17:22:19

Hair washing will be fine once you have the waterproof sleeve, just make sure she keeps her arm away from the water.

The itching was definitely a problem for DD. Possibly worse for her because she needed a operation to reposition bone fragments and so had a healing scar. We did resort to piriton towards the end when she couldn’t sleep.

For entertainment- drawing? Reading? In our case DD was back to school almost straight away so I didn’t have to entertain her at home and luckily it was her non writing hand.


Sometimesonly Wed 16-Jun-21 17:26:15

Physio is so important. I broke my elbow (but in several places and it required surgery) and I couldn't straighten it after it came out of plaster. After a lot of physio I could straighten it a bit but I still can't fully use it. I really wish I had persevered with physio more but I was pregnant and had other things on my mind! If your dd didn't need surgery then she will probably be alright but still - find out about physio!

MacavityTheDentistsCat Wed 16-Jun-21 17:28:58

I second the physio. That's super important.

Also, don't let her poke anything down/up the cast to scratch any itching. That's an infection waiting to happen! My DD used to lay an icepack on her cast when the itching got bad. That helped sometimes but I'm not really sure whether you're supposed to do it hmm.

MacavityTheDentistsCat Wed 16-Jun-21 17:32:31

Just Googled: ice on the cast is OK. It's recommended for swelling but DD did it for itching too.

All the best to your DD flowers. It will be over before she knows.

AdaColeman Wed 16-Jun-21 17:44:11

Oh dear, poor girl, it's a horrible injury.
I agree about the pillow along side her to support her arm. Also I used a V shaped pillow for my back a lot, as it seemed to stop me rolling around, and I often slept sitting up.

I think it's an injury where slow and steady gets the best long term results. YY to physio, I also found that therapeutic putty was a great help in recovering the fine movements in my hand.

Some ideas to help keep her entertained, jigsaws, chess, snakes & ladders, puzzle books, sudoko, map quiz books from the Ordnance Survey.

Hoping she makes a good recovery.

minipie Wed 16-Jun-21 18:44:53

DD did this age 5. The main issue was itching (may have been worse for her as she had an op so the healing scar itched) and we did end up using piriton some nights when it was keeping her awake.

We didn’t do physio other than keeping her generally active (swimming, bike riding, climbing 😬 etc) once the arm was strong enough. Dr said at her age general activity was as good as physio. For about a year her arm wouldn’t fully straighten but now it will, just as much as the other arm.

bunnytheegghunter Thu 17-Jun-21 07:03:57

I broke and dislocated my elbow when I was 8 years old I had a soft cast then a collar and cuff for a couple of weeks. I had to have 10 weeks of physio 3 times a week to help. My arm is fine and I have full use and motion. I can't remember doing much while it was broken. My mum said I spent that summer sat in the house as she wouldn't let me do anything 🤣

StandardLampski Thu 17-Jun-21 08:00:07

I currently have a daughter with a broken elbow...junior school age
Writing hand too 🙄 no school required. School have enlisted people to help or are letting her use the laptop.

Far too much tv, she is bored with it. Lots of reading. Learning to write with her left hand ! She is doing pretty well, am impressed!

I'm washing her hair for her, with a plastic bag over it. She can now mostly dress herself, velcro shoes / sandles hqve been handy.

She had a back slab and now a hard (purple and glittery!) Cast for 3 weeks. Pain went after a few days. Been asked not to run, and to wear a sling around other kids to make them more aware. Other than that she doesn't need it any more.
Review soon. Getting itchy, and missing sport .

Bored...but with moments of jubilation in being able to achieve something 😆

Hope pain and time passes quickly for you daughter!

Nordicwannabe Fri 18-Jun-21 07:57:46

Poor her flowers

If you have a hairdryer that blows cold, that can help with the itching. (the hard cast is made up of layers of mesh, rather than the solid plaster you used to get)

Another vote for physio. We followed the same doctors advice as minipie that normal movement is enough at this age but that's caused ongoing problems. It was enough to get it straightening again and full use, but it turns out she got into habits of over-using stronger muscles to compensate for the weaker arm and 3 years on, we have started physio to resolve pain coming from that.

Don't be too worried at how little it bends once it comes out of the cast! It will get better. But also be aware that if it's her writing arm, she will have trouble with fine motor (ie neat writing) for quite a long time. Do warn her new teacher next year. But that will get better too.

It's so tough doing it at the start of the summer, but she can still do lots of playing and running around. Best wishes.

Nordicwannabe Fri 18-Jun-21 08:01:33

Oh, and if one plastic sleeve doesn't work well, try a different make. We had to try a couple until we got one which fitted well. But then you can even go swimming (which is great, because it's physical exercise, makes them happy, cools them in hot weather, but no risk of bumps!!)

minipie Fri 18-Jun-21 09:40:17

Oh @Nordicwannabe tell me more about the over compensation? Worried we are storing up problems now.

LeroyJenkinssss Fri 18-Jun-21 10:04:05

Ok it really really depends on the type of break. And on your dd’s age. In young patients with minor breaks they do remarkably well. Physio definitely isn’t a must and it would be better to be guided by how she is after the cast is removed. Have you seen an orthopaedic doctor yet?

Ifihadapoundd Fri 18-Jun-21 11:44:53

I know this sounds silly, but was your DD in pain with her elbow? My DS bumped his elbow and it is very swollen but he isn't in pain and can move it and things.

Nordicwannabe Fri 18-Jun-21 13:09:11

DD broke hers badly, and needed to be operated on. Willing to believe that physio isn't necessary for all LeroyJenkinssss, just our experience.

minipie - will pm you with the details

Cupidity Fri 18-Jun-21 13:18:30

@LeroyJenkinssss it's a break in her humerus just above the joint. She didn't need surgery so I'm assuming it's not too bad a break. But we see the orthopaedic team on Tuesday so will see what they say then. She's 11, I'm hoping it will heal quite quickly as she's currently having a massive growth spurt so her bones are in the zone for growing <wishful thinking maybe>

@StandardLampski hope your dd recovers quickly.

@Ifihadapoundd we initially assumed she'd dislocated her shoulder as she they looked very lopsided but pain wise there were no tears when she did it, she just went quite pale and clammy initially. I'm feeding her calpol and neurofen but she doesn't seem to be too bothered by the pain. I'd definitely suggest going to get your ds checked out at minor injuries or A&E asap. Even if it's just a bump, it won't do any harm to get it checked out.

We just had a lovely trip to the hairdressers. It was nice for dd to get out of the house and she loved the massage chair whist they shampooed and conditioned her very long hair. She had a bath this morning using a plastic sleeve which was a success.

OP’s posts: |
minipie Fri 18-Jun-21 14:33:21

Thank you @Nordicwannabe. DD’s was also a bad break with an op and screw needed.

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