Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Joint

  I broke the radial head on my left arm four or five years ago while riding in the Fall. Was just riding along, went over what looked to be a small drop off a rock ledge into some fallen leaves and my wheel found a deeper hole than was reckoned.  Over the bars I went with out stretched arms.  Snap, crackle and pop.  At first I thought I broke my wrist as it hurt real bad, but it wasn't until after I realized that I couldn't bend my arm did I know that something was wrong.

I eventually healed up and my arm went back to normal.  Fast forward four or five years and I'm having an issue with it.  Could running a rigid fork be a spur in my saddle, so to speak?  Seems that every now and then my left elbow locks (but never while riding) - only for a second or two, but it's really freaky as it's totally locked out.  It's a weird sensation and is pretty painful for a moment.

I went to a sports physician and he was suspicious that it might be a piece of broken bone or ligament or tissue that's floating around as a result of the break that's getting into the elbow joint causing it to momentarily seize up.  So, to suss it out he ordered an arthrogram and CT scan of my elbow. 

Know your joints?  That ain't no elbow.
Basically the doctor stuck a needle in-between the joint and filled it up with a contrast medium that can be picked up by computerized imaging.  What's hoped for is that a foreign body floating around inside will show up in the contrast medium.  If that's the case, doc' cuts you open and yanks out the piece that's causing the problem.  Simple. Dimple. Pimple.

I had the exploratory procedure done yesterday afternoon.  The doctor was kind enough to freeze my elbow first.  Glad she did, because the needle inserted inside the joint to inject the contrast fluid was a big sucker!  Needles don't bug me, but poking them around a joint ......... essssssshhhhhhhhhh!

It was pretty cool though as I got to watch them do it and was able to see the live x-ray imaging used to make sure that the doctor got the needle into the joint.  Once the doctor had the needle inside she injected the fluid - it's the strangest sensation, like someone is blowing up a balloon inside your arm  - the joint gets really tight and it's difficult to bend.  Afterward they sent me off for a CT scan and for the next 24 hours or so my elbow is going to be stiff and swollen as it's filled up with the contrast fluid until it absorbs into the body.   Right now it kind of feels like it's been re-broke, but without the pain. 

Now I just have to wait for the results to see if I am going to need surgery or not.

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