Physical Therapy, Mom-Style

My son has spent the past 4 weeks with his left arm encased from mid-hand to armpit, which has drastically limited his activities.  A broken elbow is a bummer if you are a soccer goalkeeper (but not such a bad thing if you hate folding laundry).  When the cast was finally removed on Friday, he was freaking out because of his lack of mobility in his wrist or elbow and near tears from the pain of trying to do so.  The physician’s assistant said that he could work on mobility at home and then go to a physical therapist, or he could go straight into physical therapy.

physical therapy

Since he added that here there wasn’t much the Boy could DO in PT until he had regained some movement, we left with a physical therapy prescription.

They showed us how to fit his articulated brace, and then they sent us home, without any actual follow-up instructions.

Being who I am, I hit Google and found follow-up instructions after cast removal (thanks to The Montreal Children’s Hospital) and handed it to my son. But before I did that, I wrote up some additional “physical therapy” exercises, all to be done with his recovering left hand.

We’ll call it functional therapy –  physical therapy, mom-style.

  • folding his own laundry. Yes, I fell for the “I can’t do it one-handed” while his cast was on, because honestly, when he does it with two hands it looks like he did it one-handed and blindfolded.  The movement would replicate the flipping motion recommended.
  • Vacuuming  (with the stick vacuum).  It can replicate the gentle elbow bends he needs to do.
  • Making his bed. (Because it too is on his daily to-do list but largely gets ignored and this is a good excuse.)
  • Dusting the furniture because it has a gentle side to side wrist motion
  • Cleaning the back windows for more side-to-side wrist motion
  • Washing the car (for similar motions)
  • Cleaning toilets because I’m sure he should exercise his shoulder, too (his arm brace lets his elbow bend in a chopping motion but it can’t turn other directions)
  • Washing and applying furniture oil to the heavy wooden front door (I don’t know how this fits movement-wise but he’s taller than me now so he can get the higher parts of the door.)
  • Picking up the crap in the kitchen. Because it’s good practice, left or right-handed.

I mean, SURE, he could sit in the media room and watch soccer while going through his exercises, but hasn’t he seen enough of the media room in the last four weeks? I’m certain I’m doing him a favor by reintroducing him to other parts of his home.

Now, in fairness, these chores are already on the joint chore list but I spread it out between he and his sister. But I have other plans for his sister this week, so doing all the work frees HER up. insert evil laugh

While the cast is off, the bone is still not fully healed so he has at least 2-4 weeks before he can get back to play. I figure by the time he gets to physical therapy his wrist will be nice and loose and he’ll have a lot more movement in his elbow, allowing him to progress with his recovery.

And I’ll have a clean house.

Problem. Solved.


  1. Way o go Mom

  2. Gmom Phyl says:

    The Physical Therapy in this list is cost effective, character building, and improves the quality of life at your house.

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