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Broken Humerus - Page 2

post #31 of 97
By the way; hope you get better soon and are skiing again before you know it.
My orthopedist told me that extra calcium supplements are useless because the blood has a specific limited capacity to transport calcium to the site of a break; once you get too much it goes out through your kidneys, and too much calcium going through your kidneys can be a problem too.
Also, there are enzymes which are responsible for the depositing of calcium into the new fibers which are growing between the parts, bridging the breaks and filling them. There's a limit to how much of those enzymes are created and how much calcium they can handle each 24 hours.
Or so my orthopedist told me...
post #32 of 97
Yes, but he has a good excuse for eating lots of feta cheese.
post #33 of 97
Thread Starter 
I've turned a corner over the weekend. Stopped wearing the sling for several hours each day at home where I knew no one would 'bonk' me and a lot of the slingitis has resolved. Saw PT this AM who also thinks biceps tendon is inflamed---it even feels like it pops in and out of place at times which is really uncomfortable when it happens. I suspect that it's doing that because other muscles around it are still not firing correctly. Bone pain is substantially better, but it took 4 weeks to go away, not 3. (Maybe because there were so many pieces?) At least I'm sleeping better. I can now see skiing in 3 more weeks as originally planned, but I think I may go without a pole on that side for a few more weeks---I'd hate to have a sticky pole plant and have my shoulder jerked around in external rotation. I'm seeing the doc tomorrow and getting re-x-rayed. I'm wondering if there is 'body armor' of some sort, in case I fell on that side to cushion the blow. ( Not that I'm planning to fall on it, but ya never know!) P.S. Spent the weekend in Mammoth. Family skied while I stayed in the condo and did taxes---TORTURE!!! My 10 year old son, bless his heart, went back to the scene of the crime. He text messaged me that he had 'stabbed the devil with his ski pole.' Turns out that the 'swale' I thought I'd fallen into during the white-out was actually a straight drop onto an icy cat track from about 8 feet up. Lucky all I did was break my shoulder!
post #34 of 97
Hi Doc;

Glad to hear you are starting to feel more like getting out. Take a look on the internet for motorcycle and motocross shoulderpads. Also, I think Tyrone Shoelaces plugged his gear in the worst wipe outs thread recently. He's really knolwdgeable and helpful and can recommend something. I'm pretty sure you can find something that is flexible enough to ski in and wear with ski clothes.
worst wipeout thread
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=22242&page=4
post #35 of 97
Champ Bailey played NFL football with some sort of brace to protect his partially dislocated shoulder last season. I know those devices exist....

(Your son is my new hero!)

- KK
post #36 of 97
Hi
I suffered the same fracture as you but falling while getting
on a chairlift. I found the exercises I was required to do to get
movement back in my arm quite agonising so I brought a wrap
around heat pack that is designed for horses legs and wraped
it around my arm full length while exercising. While it was not
an ideal fit it was excellent in killing the pain while exercising.
My injury happend near the end of the season but I would guess
a recovery of no less than 8 weeks. 5 years on I still notice a
tiny restriction in my arm movement but I have full strength
back.
post #37 of 97
Thread Starter 
Arrrgh. Saw the doc this AM---of course my first question was whether skiing mid-March was realistic. He looked at me like I was out of my mind and said, "maybe March 2009..." Tried to negotiate it 5 different ways and the answer was no, no, no. At least the x-rays show nothing going wrong at fracture site, but it looks the same as it did last month. He said that in this area the x-ray lags the bone healing and that right now the fracture site is like "bubble gum." Aw crud...
post #38 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by doogiedoc View Post
Arrrgh. Saw the doc this AM---of course my first question was whether skiing mid-March was realistic. He looked at me like I was out of my mind and said, "maybe March 2009..." Tried to negotiate it 5 different ways and the answer was no, no, no. At least the x-rays show nothing going wrong at fracture site, but it looks the same as it did last month. He said that in this area the x-ray lags the bone healing and that right now the fracture site is like "bubble gum." Aw crud...
DAMN Doc
That's terribe news.

But, I've not always obeyed my doctor's advice 100% of the time. Play it by ear and see how you feel when the time comes. Maybe you can at least travel and see some sights??

In the meantime we'll keep pinging back and forth and motivating you anyway
:
post #39 of 97
Thread Starter 
I have been known to disobey doctor's no-ski orders before---but he was so adamant. His reasoning was that I'll be off-balance, and that if I fall I'll tend to fall away from the injury and possibly give myself a new one which would double-suck. As you said crgildart, I'll have to play this one by ear. (My son has a GS race this weekend, and it's my turn to take him up. Supposed to get 4+ feet by Sunday night. I only got to use my new powder sticks 3 days prior to my injury. I'm bumming out...)
post #40 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by doogiedoc View Post
I have been known to disobey doctor's no-ski orders before---but he was so adamant. (My son has a GS race this weekend, and it's my turn to take him up. Supposed to get 4+ feet by Sunday night. I only got to use my new powder sticks 3 days prior to my injury. I'm bumming out...)
I'd have to agree with the prescribing Doc on this call. Powder skiing is out of the question, but a level 8 or 9 skier at 60% on a packed blue groomer wearing some addtional protection might be OK.:
I'd hesitate to drive in those conditions with my arm in a sling
post #41 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by doogiedoc View Post
Arrrgh. Saw the doc this AM---of course my first question was whether skiing mid-March was realistic. He looked at me like I was out of my mind and said, "maybe March 2009..." Tried to negotiate it 5 different ways and the answer was no, no, no. At least the x-rays show nothing going wrong at fracture site, but it looks the same as it did last month. He said that in this area the x-ray lags the bone healing and that right now the fracture site is like "bubble gum." Aw crud...
Well I hope you have learned your lesson now. Next time don't ask.

What are you doing to stress the bone? Any weights yet?
post #42 of 97
Thread Starter 
Yeah, you guys did warn me about that "don't ask don't tell" stuff. I have learned my lesson. I wasn't even contemplating skiing this weekend OBTW, just feeling sorry for my brand-new Gotamas that are sitting in the locker feeling neglected. As far as weights, I've only been allowed to do passive range of motion in PT, but arm pain has lessened to the point that I'm able to pick up things like a pair of shoes and pants etc. I have lifted no more weight than that however. I'm back at PT tomorrow AM and I'll see what she says. I believe the next step is "active assisted range of motion," but there was nothing on the PT prescription about weights yet. I don't have to wear the sling anymore unless my arm gets tired. (For you orthopods, my passive internal rotation is 60 degrees, external rotation is 50, extension is 150, abduction is 145. Functional, but not Cirque du Soleil yet. I DO have complete flexion/extension and pronation/supination at the elbow, so I am able to work.) As far as skiing, I also think that in a few weeks I could get out on blue groomers and with some armor be safe, but for now I guess I'm still stuck playing one-handed SSX on my son's PlayStation.
post #43 of 97
Thread Starter 

Progress Report

So I've graduated to "active range of motion" exercises which means that they've turned up the torture, basically. Fracture pain is definitely better, but now my issue has clearly evolved into a raging tendonitis of the proximal biceps tendon. When I lie on my right side and try to bring my arm around so that it's resting on my side/hip it is excruciatingly uncomfortable where the tendon crosses the top of the humeral head. Additionally, although I have tried to sleep on my stomach twice, this essentially still not possible. So I still have to sleep on my right side or on my back. After about two hours on my back, the head of the humerus must start poking up into the tendon---yeeouch. They've been doing iontopheresis (electrically trying to shove steroids into the tendon), and ultrasound/steroids which both seem to help a little, temporarily. It feels like this is basically what is holding me back right now. Bruising has almost gone---wife took some scary photos of it which I will try to post if I can swipe her camera from her. On a more positive note, my PT (who is an angel given how much time she spends working on me each day) was able to slowly and carefully get me to almost full range of motion today, although now it's pretty sore as a result. I'm also finally sleeping well enough to have had my first dream that I can remember since this all started---of course, it was a ski dream although I can't remember any real details. Wife says she heard me snoring for the first time in weeks! Maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel. Not sure that skiing in March is realistic, but I'm shooting for the first week in April which is spring break for us. Of course, I have definitely learned my lesson, and will not ask the surgeon for permission. I'm quite sure I'll know when I'm ready, and will go when it's time. Thinking body armor might be a really good idea---I also need to get a new helmet since I took a chink out of my helmet during the fall.
post #44 of 97
If you ski on April 1st you can wear a sling on your arm, and if anyone questions you about it, just tell them it's an April Fool joke.

One year I wore a sling, neck brace, bandage on my head with ketchup on it, and a big white rag wrapped around my leg while skiing on April 1st.
Some of the people who rode up the chair with me really thought I was injured!
I was finally confronted by Mountain employees who told me I couldn't ski there with all that junk, so I took it off and kept skiing.
I had further plans to gulp down a handfull of tic tacs and guzzle some apple juice with them - telling my companions that they were Vicodins and scotch; but when I was 'asked' to take off the props, the power of that illusion was gone.
post #45 of 97
Thread Starter 
I had a milestone over the weekend: I was laying in bed watching the boob tube and realized that I had gone a whole 10 minutes without any pain! Of course as soon as I started thinking about it, my shoulder began hurting again...
I am now able to lay flat in bed and lay my arm flat on the bed as well for several minutes at a time before it starts cramping up. Previously the only way to lay flat was with elbow bent at 90 degrees and laying my forearm across my stomach. I was briefly able to lay on my stomach with my arm next to me and my elbow bent up, but could not figure out how to stay in that position without shoulder pressing on mattress so had to give up for a while longer on stomach sleeping. I'm going two hours straight before I am awoken by pain. Seems to be more of a cramp now from not moving it than the intense acute pain that was there for the first four weeks, but still, six weeks of sleep deprivation and chronic pain is really starting to take its toll psychologically.
I've started taking Naprosyn prior to physical therapy appointments. Initially I was advised no NSAIDs because they interfere with fracture healing, but I can tell it's healed enough that the soft tissue inflammation was more the issue. The bruise finally went away, and I don't know whether it's the ultrasound/drugs, Naprosyn, no more bruise, time itself, or a combination of the above, but the 'rolfing' and range of motion exercises are getting less painful finally. I'm definately going to need a good chiropractor after this. My neck and upper back 'pop' back ( I assume I'm reducing subluxations) dozens, if not hundreds of times a day. Not painful, but very noisy and disconcerting. (Baja, know any good ones in L.A. South Bay?) I'm not really supposed to do any lifting of weights, but I have been caught 'accidentally' lifting milk bottles and such without any real pain! I believe April 1st is realistic to ski. My son's in a GS race this weekend, so I'll be up at Mammoth, and I'm sure it's going to be mighty tempting to sneak out on the hill when no one is looking...: I'll just drink a lot. Cheers!
post #46 of 97
How long before you can hold a bottle of beer in one hand and use a 'church key' opener in your other hand to get the top off?

It's not widely known, but THAT is the true milestone in recovery from a broken humerus.
post #47 of 97
Thread Starter 
I can already do that, so I guess everything else in the recovery is a bonus, right? The PT really was cranking the range of motion yesterday, and she was able to extend my arm so the biceps was almost touching my ear. Wow did I pay for that last night. Way sore, but it feels mostly like muscles complaining about range of motion they haven't seen for a while rather than fracture pain. I'm starting to chomp at the bit to do a little weight resistance, but apparently I have to 8 weeks until they'll let me do weights. Hurry up April 1st---I'm jonesing to get back on the hill...:
post #48 of 97
Actually, I believe the pain you felt is not in your muscles, but in the Periosteum (google it). This is the layer of tissue (actually, two layers) that covers the bone.
The periostium has all the nerves and blood supply for the bone. When you feel pain from a fracture it's the torn periosteum you're feeling, not the bone, which contains
no nerves.
When you get a 'bone bruise' you've mashed the periosteum, damaging the nerves but not breaking the bone. It's possible to have agonizing pain 'in your bones' without actually damaging any bone tissue - the pain is all in the periosteum.
The blood we see under our skin after a fracture is from the periosteum; that's why it takes a few days to appear, it has to migrate out through the other tissues to the surface. A muscle bruise would appear much sooner.
A lot of chronic pain comes from the periosteum, and since it doesn't appear on xrays, it's common for doctors to dismiss it, or suspect the patient of shopping for painkillers.

Your range of motion exercises stressed the periosteum, and that's where you felt the pain. An incompletely healed periosteum can cause pain for years after the bone itself has healed.
Without those exercises, the body can set up a defense mechanism to prevent further injury, leaving you with severely restricted motion after the bone has healed.
post #49 of 97
wow - just read through this thread. Funny at times, feeling your pain most of the time. I've had some minor (compared with you) but chronic shoulder pain for several years now. Can't imagine breaking a bone up there. The no sleep thing must have sucked (or still).

But I admire your good humer (the one good one eruh that's humor throughout.

Yup - I guess acceptance of waiting til next year is the best route. Just get it stronger so you'll have a good time for next season. Or maybe how about this ... head to S hemisphere this summer?
post #50 of 97
Thread Starter 
Please don't judge me for my indiscretion, but...I skied all weekend!!!!!! My son was racing super G at Mammoth, and it was so pretty out with the sun all shining and the birds all chirping and the snow was calling me with its siren song. The ER doc said six weeks and it has been seven---granted my ortho did say don't even think about it, but that's about as useful as giving that advice to a crack addict I suppose. Anyway, started out on the easy blue groomers for a while which was lots of fun. Unloaded at the top of Chair 9 which happens to unload at the bottom of Dave's run, one of the runs at the top, and it looked so good and the snow was so good and it was so smooth, so I had to go ski it. Of course, once I did that, then I had to go ski other stuff, and well, by the end of the day had skied about 12 runs off the top. Never fell once, so I guess I was sort of following doctor's orders in that regard...right? : I didn't use a pole on the injured side, just sort of did fakie pole plants to keep the rhythm going. Shoulder is feeling better now too---probably the psychological lift more than anything else. My BIG problem now, of course, is that although I was plastering on sunscreen, I am sporting a pretty obvious ski goggle tan, so I'll have a bit of explaining to do in physical therapy tomorrow...
Pictures to follow...
I reckon I should post this in the "I am more hardcore than you" thread as well!
post #51 of 97
Doog, buy some of that Liquid Tan for your goggleface, then kick your own ass for risking it.

A good stoke will do wonders to help your recovery. Just don't push it too hard. I don't want to hear about you in another thread titled "Out of control boarder took me out".
post #52 of 97
If anyone at PT asks you about your goggleface just tell them you were rollerblading or skateboarding; those aren't skiing, so the doctor didn't forbid them.
post #53 of 97
Thread Starter 
Hmmm---maybe I'll tell her I went snowboarding! The doc did specifically say that I shouldn't ski...
post #54 of 97
Welcome back. When I skied with my broken wrist (radius), I left both poles behind. It was a good exercise.
post #55 of 97
doggiedoc,
I'm wondering if you've used an icing gizmo called 'Cryo Cuff' I believe. I used one after each of three knee operations and really it was amazing. Years ago I even loaned it to someone on epic.

Basically it's a little water jug cooler like you might take to the beach and then a cuff part that's made for different parts of the body. You fill the jug with ice and water and then plug the hose into the cuff and the cold water flows into it. You can then disconnect the hose so your "free to move about the cabin". To recharge the cuff you just plug into it again and then hold jug lower than cuff to drain out. Then just refill.

I believe they make one for the shoulder. Really it was amazing and allowed me to take a 5 hour train ride several days after my operation. I always used to hate dealing with ice and even the concept but oh this changed my mind. I realized cold really works.

Of course I have no idea if it's effective for a bone injury but I wouldn't see why not.
post #56 of 97
Thread Starter 
The fateful moment at the bottom of Dave's..."Hmmm. Should I or shouldn't I???" Can you blame me? Look how nice it was!!!:
525x525px-LL-vbattach2905.jpg
post #57 of 97
Thread Starter 
I sent this one to my PT. I was going to tell her I just rode up the gondola, but then I realized I'm still holding my pole in the photo. Maybe she won't notice it...
525x525px-LL-vbattach2906.jpg
post #58 of 97
At least you're honest with them. I'll bet a lot of therapists get lies all the time.....

"I did all my exercises."
"I took it easy and didn't push it."
"I feel pretty good."
"I didn't ski, I skidded down the hill."

post #59 of 97
Thread Starter 
So we were doing the dreaded 'range of motion' hands-on exercises this morning and my PT commented how much more range I seemed to have today than last week. I, trying not to smirk too much, realized she hadn't seen the photo yet. Then in the middle of a maneuver, she stopped and looked at me and commented about how much sun I seemed to have gotten over the weekend. Then a dawning, knowing expression spread across her face as she figured it out. Oh, was I trying not to laugh! After lots of shaking of the head and wagging of the finger, she got a big smile on her face and said she wouldn't tell my doctor as long as I paid her a bribe. She said that I was doing so much better, and maybe the endorphins had something to do with it and that she personally would have been more lenient with restricting me than the doctor had been, and she was happy I hadn't told her prior to going because she would have been worried about me. Awwww shucks, it was a veritable love-fest. So the good news is that not only did I NOT get taken out by a boarder or damage myself by my indiscretion, but my poor judgment has turned out to be therapeutic! YAY there's hope!:
post #60 of 97
Well done my good man well done!!

Well recent thought on this seems to be you need to use these things and work on motion early so you don't develop scar tissue. Sounds good to me ... just be careful and don't fall!
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