Radial Head Fracture…..

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  • Radial Head Fracture…..

    I did mine in 2006. Totally smashed to pieces. 14 pieces of steel and titanium were put in to hold it all together. I spent 6 weeks with a back slab (half a cast) on and couldnt drive for another 2. I think I rode probably 4-5 months after coming off, but i needed a lot of intensive physio.
    Had another op to remove the metalwork and regain some extension in my arm still about 10-15 degrees from straight.
    I would try a ride round the block when youve got some strength back in it – see how you feel…..


    If minimally displaced it will be sore for two to three weeks. Assuming this and it being a stable injury not a big deal. Lots of painkillers and get the elbow going when you can – will stiffen quickly



    I did both of mine at the same time, back on the bike 30 minutes later after the ambulance crew said it was brusing….

    After fixed up properly, was 3 weeks before football and riding bike about 2 -3 months later (also broke my hand)

    Depends how bad and how much movement you have after a few weeks, take it easy and listen to your physio


    I was back at work after 3 weeks(need to drive and couldnt) and on the bike after 6weeks and windsurfing after 3weeks . The physio was painfull but almost got my arm straight(but good enough for carrying stuff)and almost rotates fully and other than a few aches is ok. Mine was a simple fracture after falling off my bike hope yours is as simple


    ….more commonly known as a broken elbow.

    Anyone else had one? and how quickly were you back on your bike?

    I fractured the radius head in my left elbow last week. Painful now but slowly getting on top of it with painkillers. Looking at a minimum of 6 weeks off the bike, but wondered if others who’ve had a similar break did manage to get it fixed and back on the bike in that time, or am I realistically looking at 2013 now?


    Rode into one of those ‘keep out 4×4’ forest gates about a year ago. Dazed a bit but rode home. Next day a ridiculously painful elbow. It was broke for sure. XR should minimally displaced radial head.

    Painful but no plaster, no days off work (radiographer), no physio. Mobilised to limit of pain. Did D2D 2011 after 5 weeks (not the best plan but determined to do it) didnt ride back end 2011 until early December.

    My unqualified adviced based on experience mobilse to your pain. Dont push it. Gently introduce riding road being easier than trails, trails being easier than knarly peak routes. Obvious maybe but take it easy and recovery will be much less arduous.

    If it displaced and needs surgery Thats a different type o gravy.

    Good luck!!!!!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    Did mine at Ft Bill back in 04
    Non displaced but locked up solid within 24 hrs.
    3 weeks later I could swim a bit
    4 weeks I could move it a bit
    5 weeks I straightened it half way up the Aguile de Midi in Chamonix
    6 Weeks day in Morzine


    Get some good pain killers.

    Premier Icon shortcut

    Did mine in May. The story for me was as follows.

    1. OTB onto pavement – thought ouch, eventually decided it was painful enough to warrant a trip to A&E – roughly an hour after the incident.

    2. At A&E after initially being brave during triage I decided i needed painkillers and a sling.

    3. Pretty much passed out during X-Ray because by now it really hurt.

    4. X-Ray suggested it was just a crack so got sent home. Told to lay off the bike for 3 or 4 weeks. And kinda did so. Couldn’t sleep for about 3 nights.

    5. Started riding just gently on the road about 3 or 4 weeks in.

    6. Went and sought advice from the Doc as it didn’t feel that great. Went onto Physio as I have BUPA.

    7. 3 Weeks into Physio we (Physio and I) decide it still isn’t right and there is definitely a problem. Referral on to surgeon.

    8. Surgeon gets further X-rays done and points out that the Radial head is (according to the X-Ray) displaced by around 5mm suggests surgery is probably the best way forward. After riding Mayhem and deciding this Summer was pretty cr@p I agreed and surgery was booked for 18th August to re break, screw it together and potentially have a bone graft. 8 to 10 weeks off the bike is predicted.

    9. Surgery happens, surgeon decides it looks ok and tidies up the cartiledge, removing loose bits etc. This is great – back on the bike in 10 days.

    10. I was back on the bike in 10 days and can finally do pretty much everything I was doing before the original incident including manuals (which still hurt a little but are at least straight).

    11. Discharged from Physio last week.

    12. First ride on the rigid 29er tonight was OK.

    My Lessons learned are:

    – Surgeon was less bothered by me actually riding but very bothered about me crashing hence the potential 10 week ban.

    – Don’t push on with painkillers – pain is there to tell you something take the hint.

    – If there are ANY problems 3 or 4 weeks in go and get a second round of X-Rays.

    – Physios get off on your pain! But are kind of good for you and often quite pretty.

    Good luck.



    Did both at the same time just over 8 weeks ago. Overnight in hospital mainly because of head injuries. 4 weeks back on bike, 6 weeks climbing again. Overall it could have been much worse, was pretty surprised at the speed it took to get full movement back

    Premier Icon uphillcursing

    Never got full extension back. Has been “clicky” ever since.


    same as uphillcruising. I did mine 4 years ago and it was close to as good as new; did it again in mid July, back on the bike early August.


    I think mine was 5-6 weeks before I was back on the bike. Unfortunately I had a holiday in Morzine booked for 3 weeks after I broke it, so while everyone was riding bikes, I was walking around with my arm in a sling πŸ™

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    – Don’t push on with painkillers – pain is there to tell you something take the hint.

    My pain killer suggestion was only to allow sleep πŸ™‚ I had about 4 hr stints between the pills.


    I smashed my radial head at scouts playing British Bulldog when I was about 12. The doc removed the whole thing. Took ages to recover but now very good for scratching hard to reach areas of my back and spinning round at parties. Just joking…it’s suprisingly normal, gets a little stiff sometimes but other than that, fine for nearly 30 years.

    Premier Icon cb

    Did both of mine at Slickrock many years ago. Two GPs on the same trip said bruising and don’t worry. Riding two days later which was fine uphill – first bump however and you’d have probably heard the screams back in England. A few weeks off as I remember, which was longer than it should have been as they didn’t spot the second break for a fortnight!! My advice – ignore the slings if you can, I got more movement back in the “non-diagnosed” and therefore non-slinged arm.


    Thanks for the replies chaps.

    Mine is a simple break with little displacement. no cast, just a sling and lots of painkillers.

    bending my arm isn’t too bad, but a long way off straight still. rotating my wrist hurts like hell though.

    It has only been 1 week since it happened, and I’m already going stir crazy at home πŸ™‚ I get my car back tomorrow (I was in Belgium when it happened so needed to get my car shipped back) so might try a little drive up and down the street to see how it feels.

    As for the bike, reading the replies from those with simple breaks it looks like I might be back on by December (just it time for the ice and snow πŸ™‚ )

    Premier Icon bungalistic

    Fractured mine 3 weeks ago, no displacement and just had to use a sling for a week or two before some movement started to come back. Only took painkillers for first few days but ibuprofen have helped reduce the swelling.

    Went swimming last night and it felt just fine, really helped loosen up the joint a little too, could probably ride gentle road stuff now but will stay off the bigger stuff for a few more week still.


    how quickly were you back on your bike?

    About 2 minutes after doing it (not realizing it was broken πŸ˜† )

    I went over the bars on some roots about 2 miles into a 14 mile ride, thought it would be better just to keep going and finish the ride although when i got to the end i was riding one handed as much as possible so thought it might be more than just bruising. Went to work the next day and then finally went to a&e the next night after much nagging from the girlfriend 😳

    Mine was the same non displaced and was in a sling for about 4 weeks. Then a week or so out of the sling before i got back on a bike, although that was only gentle rides on the road. It was about 7 weeks before i got back out on the hills, thought i’d give it as much time as possible before doing anything too rough.

    2 years on i’ve got full movement but it still clicks a lot πŸ™


    Sounds like a good advert for elbow pads. Where all the injuries off road?


    What did you do guys do to keep mobility in shoulder etc.?
    I’ve just had surgery on my (not broken) elbow. Moving my arm around is rather painful but I can feel my shoulder stiffening up already so don’t know what to do!


    I did mine at ft bill at the end of august ,i just remember intense pain and feeling sick ambulance job straight to a&e where i got morphine and gas , xrays showed my radius dislocated quite a lot , 2 doctors ended up pulling and pushed it back to where it should be ,they wanted to send me to inverness for surgery but as I was only up there for weekend they let me go home to my local hospital ,, wrong decision by me !!!!
    So more xrays and a CT scan were done that showed lots of pieces of bone around the elbow and a fracture at the end of the radius , it took five weeks before I got a operation , and all they have done is remove what bits of bone they could and scrape the bone to allow more movement , its now 2 weeks after op I cannot fully straighten the arm , rotational movement hurts like hell both ways ,and my grip would embarrass a 3 year old , nhs is pants really I needed bupa to sort me out quicker


    Oh forgot to mention I was wearing 661 elbow pads the mould ed type when I came off so I don’t know how I managed it


    Fractured mine in 2 places in 2010. Was off the bike for 10 weeks. Could have probably ridden after about 6 but thought it best to let it heal up properly.
    Didn’t go in plaster – was advised that’s the old way for a radial head fracture, but for better healing and less restricted movement it’s best to go into a sling, lots of painkillers and let rest as much as possible.

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