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Injured forearm right below elbow; bad bruise or something more serious?


[Note: I thought I posted this query before, but I may have failed to submit it correctly.  However, if this query appears twice, I apologize for the redundancy]

59 yr old male here.  Twelve days ago I walked into some 2x4's hanging off the roof of my car (don't ask!), and the impact on my forehead knocked me to my gravel driveway.  I was focused on my injured forehead, but I guess I knew I slightly bruised the elbow I fell on (actually forearm just beneath the elbow, not the tip) as well.  However, it was not painful at all, and I don't think I felt anything other than some very mild discomfort the next day.  The next day, though, that forearm was sore and stiff, and the next day it was worse, very bad.  Not painful all the time, only when I bent it, for instance when I try to put in my contact lens or brush teeth.  Fortunately, since then there has been some improvement, as I can bend the arm more easily and further before it hurts.

But I am surprised it is still as bad as it is 12 days later, and I am wondering if I could have fractured something, like the ulna.  I was assuming there was no fracture because, for one thing, I assume with a fracture there would have been instant pain and it would have been constant instead of only when I bend it.  Also, I didn't fall from a great height onto concrete; I just sort of crumpled from standing height onto a gravel driveway.

There is definitely tenderness when I touch the area, but only a little swelling and no discoloration. Besides hurting when I bend upward at the elbow, it also hurts when I twist my forearm, though not as badly.  I can make a fist just fine, though this causes a little "bruise-ish" discomfort around my elbow.

I would go to my doctor (over an hour away, though, so multiple diagnostic/x-ray/follow-up visits become a burden) if necessary,  but I am wondering, if x-rays show it is a slight hairline fracture, is the doctor gonna do anything but say "rest it, and wait for it to heal on its own"?  If so, that is already what I am doing.  Is there anything thing else I could have done to myself here besides a nasty bruise?  If it is a bad bruise (and frankly it didn't even seem remotely bad at first!), what is the timeline for improvement?

I am no longer icing it; should I compress/immobilize it with an Ace bandage?  I did some of that, but didn't find that it contributed much to recovery, so I have stopped that practice.  I haven't been taking nsaids as I am less concerned with short term relief of discomfort and incapacitation, and more concerned about long term recovery.  While I am currently resting it as much as possible, at some point should I start bending that elbow so the muscle gets used to stretching again?

Thanks for reading this and offering any advice!

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