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Elbow fracture, cast removed, pain when bending hand. What steps can I take for complete rehabilitation of hand?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10363 Questions

I had a small chip fracture on elbow 3 weeks back.
The Cast was removed 3 days back.

Currently I have some pain in bending my hand completely
- probably due to stiffening of muscles.

Ex: When I try bending the hand completely inside very near towards my shoulder, it hurts near the elbow.
Also, the reverse motion i.e. fully straightening the hand towards outside hurts near the elbow

I can do bending of hand at small angles without pain - only bending my hand completely
towards outside or inside causes pain.

What steps can I take for complete rehabilitation of my hand
motion as soon as possible ?

1. What are the types of exercises I can do to strengthen my muscles and cause the elbow pain to go away ?
2. Besides exercises, what else can help ? - I am trying to keep heat pack (cloth dipped in hot water) etc near elbow for few minutes
3. I am also trying to do some massage using mustard oil. Is it ok. Is there any other oil which you advise ?
4. Do I need to focus on any particular foods during recovery period.
5. Can I get a rough estimate of range of time for full recovery - when I will regain my
complete range of motion for the injured hand. I can then plan my lifestyle accordingly.

Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
The restriction of movement that you are having is normal after removal of cast due to the stiffness.
1. The best way to get rid of this stiffness is physiotherapy.
To strengthen your muscles, you need to do passive extension and flexion exercises repeatedly under the guidance of your physiotherapist.
2. Doing hot fomentation and a mild pain killer like ibuprofen will be helpful.
3. You can use coconut oil or better alsi ka tel- Flaxseed oil on the area and massage it lightly.
4. In general a healthy nutritious diet will be helpful. Calcium and protein XXXXXXX diet is recommended for early recovery. Adding a multimineral supplement with antioxidants will be helpful.
5. The time taken depends on the regularity of physiotherapy sessions. Usually it takes two weeks for the arm to return to its normal range of movement.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Elbow fracture, cast removed, pain when bending hand. What steps can I take for complete rehabilitation of hand? 26 hours later

Thanks a lot for answering my query and sorry for the delayed response.
I will follow your recommendations.

I tried to find a good physiotherapist in my area but was unable to find
anyone close to my location till now.
Being a working professional, I am unable to spend too much time in
travelling to far off places for physiotherapy.

I will continue my search for a good physiotherapist in my area
but in the meantime I would request you to kindly suggest some exercise steps
if possible which I can do on my own till I find a physiotherapist

From my side, I tried to do some search on internet and found some elbow exercises.

Here are the links to resources I found on internet.
Can you please see if I can start off gently (based on my level of pain) doing them
till I find a good physiotherapist.

Range of Motion Exercises for Fractured Elbow

Elbow Flexion Extension

Elbow Supination & Pronation

I also found some exercises for tennis-elbow rehabilitation. Should I do those as well ?


1. Stretching and compressing a rubber ball in fingers

2. Tennis Elbow Stretches

Thanks a lot
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 10 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
You have searched well and you can do the elbow flexion- extension exercises and supination - pronation exercises at home.
You need not do the tennis elbow exercises as there is no tendon injury involved in your case.
Try these exercises only until there is a bearable pain. Start with passive exercises first with the help of another family member. You can start doing active exercises after 4-5 days.
Doing hot fomentation before starting exercise will be helpful.
Hope this answer is helpful.
Do accept the response if there are no further queries.
Wishing you a trouble free early recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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