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Arojekt
December 4th, 2006, 03:00 PM
I sustained an injury toward the beginning of my year round season. I dislocated my elbow, and I'm a freestyler (for the most part). My extension and contraction has been significantly reduced, although my physical therapist and I are trying to regain what was lost. I swim unevenly (you know what I mean, off balance) and I have lost strength in that arm. I have been kicking, and I still kind of stink at that - I never was a good kicker - but it's improving. My upper body has lost some stamina in races, due to the fact that I have been kicking since the beginning of September to just a few weeks ago, when I started using my arm.

Does anyone know how I could regain strength, flexibility, endurance, and mobility in my left elbow, after such an accident? Has anyone sustained a bad accident such as this?

Thanks.

--Arojekt.

scyfreestyler
December 4th, 2006, 03:30 PM
I don't "know" for sure, but my guess would be that it is simply going to take some time to regain your mobility and stamina. Your PT should have a pretty good idea of what you should expect on the road to recovery, what does he have to say?

Mswimming
December 4th, 2006, 04:24 PM
One of the reasons that I started swimming masters is an injury similar to yours. While mountain biking a few years ago I went over the bars and dilocated my left elbow and broke a chunk of the radial head off. I went through very painful physical therapy for about 8 months. After all of that, my Extention was only about 120 degrees (180 being straight) and my flexion was about 60. And I could only rotate my wrist a few degrees either way.

Eventualy I got a second opinion, and an MRI to find that the piece of bone that broke off was blocking my range of motion. I then had surgery to remove it and most of my range of motion came back fairly quickly. Now I can completely straighten my arm, but can only bend my arm enough to barely touch my shoulder with my thumb. And my wrist rotation is better but probably only 120 degrees of rotation where 180 is normal. And of course with the missing piece of bone in that elbow it is arthritic.

By the time I started swimming I could not make a muscle in my bicep or tricep from the atrophy. So my first month or so of swimming I just focused on swimming smooth and easy (and balanced). I found that paddles would really give me fits initially so I did not use them for the first 6 months at all. And there were days that it would bother me so much that I would have to get out early. It just took time. But in the long run my elbow is far better off today and feels a heck of lot better than when I began swimming. My doctor had told me that my Range of motion would only deteriorate over time and so far I have only improved it, if only slightly, with swimming.

The best advice is to be patient and take it slow. Focus on better technique initially rather than trying to swim fast. That seemed to work for me.

Kevin

Mswimming
December 4th, 2006, 04:33 PM
Also, after my surgery I used one of these.

http://www.dynasplint.com/elbow.html

This thing is nothing more than a mid evil torture device, but it works.


Good luck,

Kevin

laineybug
December 4th, 2006, 09:00 PM
Broke both my arms @ the elbow @ the same time about 11 years ago.
had numerous screws, pins and wires put in during a surgery that lasted about 6 hours. (I swear the x-rays look like a block and tackle in there)
Started PT the day after surgery-OUCH!! When I was healed enough from the surgery that I was allowed to lift some weight I could barely pick up a pound, so beside aggressive manipulation I did a lot of weight lifting during PT. Spent about a year in PT. I had a splint similar to that one that helped greatly, but I also had wrist weights that i used. I have much more flexion and extension in my left arm but it isn't 100%. My right, however, is not good. I can not touch my shoulder at all and when I was dismissed from PT I had about 110 degrees of extension. I think it has improved a little bit since then but not much because the bones over healed and its like I have a door stop in my joint. The breaks have shortened my stroke length considerably. Eighty degree, or less, water makes my elbows ache something terrible. When you get back to swimming you may have to modify your stroke, but you will see improvement in your strength and flexibility I'm sure. Follow the advice of your PT and doctor. You wouldn't want to do something that could damage your elbow and make matters worse.

best of luck and a speedy recovery, Lainey

Arojekt
December 5th, 2006, 01:20 AM
Thanks guys. Ironically, I did dislocate my elbow in a mountain biking incident. During my off-season, that is ... 3 weeks between July and August, I mountain bike to maintain my endurance and stamina. I also swim, just not as much. I got a new bike for my birthday... A nice GT Avalanche. Took it out for a ride. 2 hours out on a trail, the left-side crank completely tore off and I tried to stop myself with my hands, therefore flipping over and having my body weight crash down on the one arm that was supporting the rest of me, upright.

Like that brace, you guys showed me, I have used that before... only it was called a JAS Brace, but I don't think it matters. I don't feel a constant pain, it just hurts after a good practice. Not the soreness that one would be accustomed to, but rather a bony-ache if you would.

My doctor recommends that I stop swimming and rest up. I can't allow that, and frankly, I won't do that. I have been swimming since I was four, and I am in my Junior year of high school. I can't stop now. That's just out of the question.

Again, thanks.

--Arojekt.

dorothyrde
December 5th, 2006, 06:28 AM
Thanks guys. Ironically, I did dislocate my elbow in a mountain biking incident. During my off-season, that is ... 3 weeks between July and August, I mountain bike to maintain my endurance and stamina. I also swim, just not as much. I got a new bike for my birthday... A nice GT Avalanche. Took it out for a ride. 2 hours out on a trail, the left-side crank completely tore off and I tried to stop myself with my hands, therefore flipping over and having my body weight crash down on the one arm that was supporting the rest of me, upright.

Like that brace, you guys showed me, I have used that before... only it was called a JAS Brace, but I don't think it matters. I don't feel a constant pain, it just hurts after a good practice. Not the soreness that one would be accustomed to, but rather a bony-ache if you would.

My doctor recommends that I stop swimming and rest up. I can't allow that, and frankly, I won't do that. I have been swimming since I was four, and I am in my Junior year of high school. I can't stop now. That's just out of the question.

Again, thanks.

--Arojekt.


You should listen to your doctor. If you don't, you could limp through this season, not heal properly, and limp through next season. If you rest up, this season might not be salvagable, but next seasion could be great. You are just going to get stronger, not get weaker as you grow, and you probably have a lot more growth at your age. Plus, you could be causing something that will plague you the rest of your life.

Arojekt
December 5th, 2006, 12:19 PM
I don't care what happens down the road when I'm 35 or something like that. I care about the progress I make now.

--Arojekt.

laineybug
December 5th, 2006, 12:53 PM
I don't care what happens down the road when I'm 35 or something like that. I care about the progress I make now.

--Arojekt.

Ah youth!

Arojekt, we are not talking about when you are 35, we are talking about the rest of this year and next year as well as the rest of your life. If you don't follow your PT and doc's advice you may create problems that will keep you from swimming next year. For example, I was lifting more weight (a baby who weighed 8 to 10 lbs) than recommended. That may have been one of the reasons my bone didn't heal correctly and I am left with a right arm that I can not extend or flex normally.

Best of luck.

Lainey

Mswimming
December 5th, 2006, 06:08 PM
Lainey is right. Having limited range of motion is no fun and the critical period to regain it is now. The longer you range is limited the less likely it is to regain it.

You could get a second opinion and find a doctor familiar with swimming. But by all means do what it takes to get your ROM back, first. Don't sacrifice it for one sub par swim season.

Kevin