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  1. #1
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    Recovery time for broken wrist?

    Broke my wrist in a crash two weeks ago (fracture to the distal radius). I'll be in plaster for another three weeks, but there was no displacement of the bone, so I don't have pins or anything. Can anyone with a similar experience give me an idea of how long it took to get back to mountain biking once out of plaster?

  2. #2
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    Depends On Your Comfort Level

    I rode while I had my cast on still. Started probably a week after I got it.
    Some of the jarring was uncomfortable but overall it wasn't too bad. I crashed hard once and the had me thinking twice about the situation but of course I got back on the bike a day or two later.
    A buddy of mine raced a few times in a cast.

    Now the broken ankle...that was no fun...
    *** --- *** --- ***

  3. #3
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    you should be ready to ride again in three weeks...then you will want to get a wrist brace with velcro. I fractured my pisoform, and I healed in 4 weeks with no plastercaster. Your injury sounds more severe. I wouldn't recomend doing your usual level (technical) of cycling with a broken wrist.

  4. #4
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    Hang on there! What does your doctor say?

    I had a similar break and was in the cast for 6 weeks (I rode the excersize bike at the gym a lot), then once the cast was off I still didn't get on the bike for like another 3-4 weeks... it was torture, but the doc says the first chance to heal it is the best chance... you'll be sorry if you push it too hard too soon and have lingering issues.

    Now I'm a middle-aged guy, so maybe you'll heal faster, but you better lean towards the conservative side of things and give it the time it needs to heal.
    I read that on the internet.

  5. #5
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    Doc not so helpful

    Only spoke to the doc when the cast was put on, and he talked about 2-3 months of physio. 3 months out does seem a bit excessive to me, but the doc didn't really want to give any more specifics than that. I can now do light physical actions with my hand, but certainly right now mtbing in the cast would be out of the question. OTOH I am considering a little road riding this week; I reckon that will be ok, and would save me having to take the bus to work, too!

  6. #6
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    Depends on how bad it was sprained in addition to the break.

    I broke my wrist badly 3 months ago. Two fractures with displacement, plus some hairline fractures. Have two ti screws in there now. My first ti I was back n the bike at just over 2 months, but road only. I am just barely getting on the trails, and still need to take it easy. The big problem for me is all the soft tissue damage from it gettin tweaked so hard. The bones are healed, but it is still weak and I do not have full flexibility yet.

    And I have a bill for $15,000

  7. #7
    The Pirate
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    I'm going to have to agree with Rich A. , check with your Dr. first. Wrist injuries are hell if you don't let them heal properly. If you start riding again too soon, you'll be more likely to crash again due to a weak/sore wrist. Land wrong and you'll set yourself back even further. I wouldn't start riding again until you can comfortably do a few pushups.

    I skydived for a few years, and for people with leg injuries (hip, knee, ankle, foot, w/e), the rule was if you can't run on it, or jump off a picknic bench and land on your feet, then you don't jump. It's a safety thing

  8. #8
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    Makes sense; guess I'll just have to see how it goes...

  9. #9
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    Well of course he couldn't be more specific. He/She has to wait to see how it heals and then they can let you know what the next step will be and how long that might take. It's not like we're all alike and heal at the same rate. Each case is exclusive unto itself and no matter what you hear here if you don't do as you doc says you could end up right back in a cast. Don't be impatient. Follow the docs instructions precisely for the best chance of the best recovery. Next time don't brake your bones.

  10. #10
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    Seems to me that the soft tissue damage wasn't great, but could have been a whole lot worse. Certainly there wasn't much swelling, and I didn't need to take more than a few ibuprofen; compared to when I destroyed my thumb in a road race crash and entered a whole new world of pain in it was nothing.

    Good luck with your recovery. $15000? Jeez! Thankfully I have state medical insurance, so cost isn't something I need to worry about...

  11. #11
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    I understand. However, for me it's helpful to be given some idea of how others have fared with recovery time.

    And wrt not breaking bones, if you have any advice about how to learn to "tuck and roll" I'd like to know!

  12. #12
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    i have broken mine 3 times and 6-8 weeks was the norm for the bone fuse back together. then you have to deal with the muscle atrophy once everything heals. i too rode with a cast (i dont recommend it), but only on the road. wrist hurt quite a bit trying to ride off road.

  13. #13
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    I've broken my wrist once, the two arm bones at the base of the wrist, very slight displacement (had to twist/yank/manipulate it back into position) It was a while ago, was in a cast for 6-7 weeks IIRC.

    The Doc. had me all set up for months of physio. until he learned that I was paying out of pocket (no insurance), then amazing, I got some Thera-bands, or whatever (rubber-bands with different strengths) and some detailed instructions on what to do after the cast came off

    I followed the directions to a tee, and let it heal up correctly, and now, there are times I have to remeber if it was the left or right wrist that I broke

  14. #14
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    I broke my wrist and found one of the 661 wrist wraps to be very helpful the first couple weeks back on the bike. Provides some extra cushioning and support for weaked muscles.
    Sanity is the trademark of a weak mind.
    Cycle CNY

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by boredwitless
    Broke my wrist in a crash two weeks ago (fracture to the distal radius). I'll be in plaster for another three weeks, but there was no displacement of the bone, so I don't have pins or anything. Can anyone with a similar experience give me an idea of how long it took to get back to mountain biking once out of plaster?
    I broke the Ulna, in the arm an inch or two below the wrist. Like you, no dispalcement / no surgury.

    6 weeks cast. 2 more weeks to go.

    It started to feel really good after 1.5 weeks. So I started to wrench on my bike, applied pressure to the bad arm and heard a crunch. Went back to being sore - I'm guessing I just gave up 2 weeks of healing time. Start healing from the beginning.

    It's torture, but I have to be patient.

    I wouldn't mess with the wrist. A few weeks now, may save you issues when you are older.

    P

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.P
    I wouldn't mess with the wrist. A few weeks now, may save you issues when you are older.

    P
    Sure; in general I'm fairly cautious so this would have been the plan whatever. Unfortunately this means no Interbike dirt demo/Turner Moab trip, so I'm wondering if Moab late November will be ok instead...

  17. #17
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    Sounds good; thanks for the tip

  18. #18
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    had a distal radius fracture 4 weeks ago.Fracture's near the palm. No screws needed. Was in a cast for a week and a splint for the other 3. Just go the all-clear from doc to resume and am going to do easy trails (bunny slopes) tmrw with my 661 wrist wrap pros.

  19. #19
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    Wrist guards

    As I read this thread I'm wondering why all riders don't wear wrist guards all the time. When I got back into riding I was coming off my bike enough that my wrists were sore all the time. Soon after that, I was at a skills camp and a guy gave me a set of wrist guards that I've been wearing ever since. I continue to come off my bike with some regularity but have had absolutely no problem with my wrists. The guards are comfortable to the point that I forget about them and they don't interfere with my grip or bike handling. Its kinda like wearing a seatbelt in that wearing them is automatic and I'm uncomfortable without them. Just a thought. Kind regards and a speedy recovery to the OP.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by remybigtime
    As I read this thread I'm wondering why all riders don't wear wrist guards all the time. When I got back into riding I was coming off my bike enough that my wrists were sore all the time. Soon after that, I was at a skills camp and a guy gave me a set of wrist guards that I've been wearing ever since. I continue to come off my bike with some regularity but have had absolutely no problem with my wrists. The guards are comfortable to the point that I forget about them and they don't interfere with my grip or bike handling. Its kinda like wearing a seatbelt in that wearing them is automatic and I'm uncomfortable without them. Just a thought. Kind regards and a speedy recovery to the OP.
    I did not know there were wrist guards available until I broke them wrists
    If I knew I'd have worn them for sure.

  21. #21
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    New question here. What are you using?

    Quote Originally Posted by remybigtime
    As I read this thread I'm wondering why all riders don't wear wrist guards all the time. When I got back into riding I was coming off my bike enough that my wrists were sore all the time. Soon after that, I was at a skills camp and a guy gave me a set of wrist guards that I've been wearing ever since. I continue to come off my bike with some regularity but have had absolutely no problem with my wrists. The guards are comfortable to the point that I forget about them and they don't interfere with my grip or bike handling. Its kinda like wearing a seatbelt in that wearing them is automatic and I'm uncomfortable without them. Just a thought. Kind regards and a speedy recovery to the OP.
    Hi remybigtime,

    Please share the name of wrist brace that you're using. Also do they support (limit the range of motion) of your thumb?

    Thanks!

    Michael
    If you can't keep the rubber side down......at least smile for the camera!

  22. #22
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    The wrist guards I use are made by K2. I just tried to find them with a google search, but didn't find exactly the same thing. However, the K2 Exo 8.1 are pretty close.

    http://www.shopwiki.com/detail/?q=Wr...tguards+-+Mens

    Probably lots of others out there that will work as well or better - though these suit me fine. I wear a L glove and an XL in these guards which go comfortably over my gloves. There isnt any restriction of thumb movement at any joint nor any support, except that the guard has a hard shell under the meat of your thumb.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by remybigtime
    The wrist guards I use are made by K2. I just tried to find them with a google search, but didn't find exactly the same thing. However, the K2 Exo 8.1 are pretty close.

    http://www.shopwiki.com/detail/?q=Wr...tguards+-+Mens

    Probably lots of others out there that will work as well or better - though these suit me fine. I wear a L glove and an XL in these guards which go comfortably over my gloves. There isnt any restriction of thumb movement at any joint nor any support, except that the guard has a hard shell under the meat of your thumb.
    Thanks for the info!

    Michael
    If you can't keep the rubber side down......at least smile for the camera!

  24. #24
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    I broke my wrist this past summer (endo'd OTB). It was four months, a surgery and many physical therapy appointments before I got back on my bike. There were some extenuating circumstances. First of all it was a very bad fracture. It was a commutated fracture and so I had several small chunks of bone floating around in my wrist. Second, I now have a very cool looking Ti derailleur in my wrist. Seriously. It's about 5 inches long and is attached to my bones with 13 screws. Third, I'm an old bastard (50) so it takes a bit longer to heal.

    Personally, I wouldn't rush it. Listen to your Doc. They get the big bucks for a good reason. Sorry to hear about your injury. Good luck with healing.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vermont29er

    And I have a bill for $15,000
    Sorry to hear about the bill. Stories like this make me really happy to live in Canada. I broke my hand for free this fall.

  26. #26
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    OK, so I'm NOT a MBTR cyclist, but an unfortunate commute rider, with two (2) broken wrists after an event ride which ended badly with me colliding with the concrete...

    Just wanted to say that I found all entries here really encouraging, it's been 4 months since accident but I've got plenty of Ti in both wrists so I'll be fine once it all starts working again!

  27. #27
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    Geez two broken wrists at once! How did you manage to do anything for yourself? Could you get dressed, eat, anything? I broke my right wrist and hurt my left arm. Wouldnt let the docs look at the bad arm cause I was afraid they would immobilze me.

  28. #28
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    Who cares about getting dressed and eating. My buddy did the same when he was 18 and needed his father to wipe his butt!

  29. #29
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    I work as an assistant to a hand/upper extremity ortho doc and I might be able to give some direction. If you have a non-displaced distal radius fracture (good thing) we typically long arm cast for 4 weeks, remove/xray then you go into a short arm cast for another 2 weeks. Again repeat the xray and if everything is aligned and healed correctly, you make the jump to soft splint (wrist lacer style brace) for all activities and sleep for 4 weeks. Total time in hard cast is 6 weeks, recovery dependent on age and use runs 10-12 weeks.

    Hope this helps
    Regards,
    Chris

  30. #30
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    They only put me in a soft splint for 6 weeks, said it was just as good since I couldn't move my wrist with it on. Sure was glad not to have a hard cast. I was non displaced. Do you ever not use a hard cast Cday?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by boredwitless
    Broke my wrist in a crash two weeks ago (fracture to the distal radius). I'll be in plaster for another three weeks, but there was no displacement of the bone, so I don't have pins or anything. Can anyone with a similar experience give me an idea of how long it took to get back to mountain biking once out of plaster?
    My broken wrist needed surgery. Broken wrist, partially torn ligament, needed donor tissue... the entire smorgasbord. I was in a cast for 6 weeks, splint for 4 weeks and then therapy. I was off of the bike for 3 months.

    Follow your doctors recommendations - especially the first few weeks after the cast comes off. Your arm will be weak.

  32. #32
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    Broke Mine right after Thanksgiving

    Distal radial fracture, displaced. 1 plate and 8 screws. in splint for a week after surgery. Velcro splint for maybe 2 weeks while doing PT. 5 weeks after surgery, released from Doctor to do whatever I want, slowly. It's still weak and hurts some , but I'm back on the bike (slow and easy) plus working on the bowflex. PT was critical. Got it moving as soon as possible after stitches out.

    Rock

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock
    Distal radial fracture, displaced. 1 plate and 8 screws. in splint for a week after surgery. Velcro splint for maybe 2 weeks while doing PT. 5 weeks after surgery, released from Doctor to do whatever I want, slowly. It's still weak and hurts some , but I'm back on the bike (slow and easy) plus working on the bowflex. PT was critical. Got it moving as soon as possible after stitches out.

    Rock
    Rock sounds like we had similar of the same injury.

    I snapped my left (weak) side. I have a tendency to baby the the wrist and I have to force myself to use it. I waited a LOOOONG time before getting it fixed properly though. My main thing now is using it to carry stuff. Rooty rides can get to it now and then.

  34. #34
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    I had surgery 4 days after crash.

    There was NNNOOOOOoooo way I was using the wrist. I couldn't have waited. Right after I got up from the crash my wrist had a nice zig or zag in it. I tried to straighten it and heard and felt all kinds of crunching. Walked back to the car using Camelbak as a sling, and went straight to Urgent Care. X-ray, splint and drugs.

    I would say, today 7 weeks after crash that I'm at about 90% in day to day stuff, 60% on weightlifting, hard to judge with riding, I'm taking it slow. Every once and awhile something will hit me weird, but I'm basically healed.

    Rock

  35. #35
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    I ended up with three plates in my right wrist and only one in my left. Needless to say, the left is no problems now, but the right is still giving me some trouble. I'm seeing the surgeon again in a weeks time, so we'll see what happens.

    Have just bought an indoor wind trainer, one of those stands you can place your bike in, as I am suffering seriuos withdrawal from not riding!

  36. #36
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    One of my teenage sons "greensticked" a wrist as a 10yo. It seemed to heal well enough
    but it's been broken twice since then.
    Kids are different in that they are still growing and their frame isn't as strong as an adult.

    I probably would ride with a cast too if I could get away with it but it's as dumb as it gets.

    Find something else to keep the cardio fitness up until you can safely get on the bike.

    If an adult does damage second time around it may be more serious.

  37. #37
    rollin
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    Hard cast...

    Where the fracture is (articulating surface of wrist) its hard to not cast the arm due to all movement that takes place there. Obviously if a bone is broken it cant heal, or heal entirely if there is movement. Sometimes we will see a patient who had an older fracture that was non-displaced and has begun to heal slowly over time...in that case we will give them a soft splint which should help immobilize and speed up recovery. Typically those are the young patients who heal pretty quick.

    Long story short: Distal raidus fractures are tough, lots of movement doesnt exactly promote new bone growth...easiest non-surgical option would be long arm, then short arm casting followed up by soft splint, if the fracture has good anatomical alignment. If the alignment is off, its surgery for you pal!

    Regards,
    Chris

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by washedup
    i have broken mine 3 times and 6-8 weeks was the norm for the bone fuse back together. then you have to deal with the muscle atrophy once everything heals.
    This.

    I broke a bone in my hand (4th metacarpal) at work using an industrial-type drill. I was re-drilling a hole in a railroad tie (don't ask) and there was a metal stump in there. Let's just say the drill bit came to dead stop and the drill, itself, kept spinning. Broke a bone and shredded my wrist.

    The bone took ~6 weeks only because of the kind of break it was (spiral fracture). The wrist took a while longer. But when they finally took off the cast/splint I could barely move my hand or wrist without being in excruciating pain. They diagnosed it as RSD (look it up, not fun).

    But that was 4 years ago and I'm back to 99.9%. Rarely I'll get some pain right where the break was.

    Anyway, my advice is this: let yourself heal completely. But as soon as the Dr. gives you the green light start moving it and exercising it. It'll probably hurt (a lot) but the longer you wait the worse it gets.

    Good luck.

  39. #39
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    Hope

    Quote Originally Posted by Big L in NYC

    But that was 4 years ago and I'm back to 99.9%. Rarely I'll get some pain right where the break was.

    Anyway, my advice is this: let yourself heal completely. But as soon as the Dr. gives you the green light start moving it and exercising it. It'll probably hurt (a lot) but the longer you wait the worse it gets.

    Good luck.
    Thanks Big L in NYC!!!!

    Funny, I really appreiciate everyone else's pain in a different manner now!

    Am trying my best to be patient, albeit hard! Am seeing the surgeon on Monday, we'll see then!

  40. #40
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    If you want to get answers from an orthopaedic surgeon, post your question on-
    http://orthospace.com/community/view...001f4b6ff43f6f

  41. #41
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    I broke my wrist in a similar way in a snowboard accident in '08. I was trucking back to normal again after 4 or 5 total weeks i think.
    but hey, everyone is different

  42. #42
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    Thanks!

    I'm having the plates removed from my right wrist in a week and a half and hopefully that will allow things to go back to normal.

    :-)

  43. #43
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    I'm recovering from a broken wrist right now. I went over the bars while practicing the course of a DH race. Went to the doc on Monday, he said, and I quote, "You'll be out of action for about 3 weeks." I have the sinking feeling that's a little too optimistic. I count myself lucky though. It's my left hand and I'm right handed, and I can still work. Given the blessing of the doctor I even plan to continue teaching my spinning classes while still in a cast! Better than what my wife had to go through when she shattered her ankle last year!

  44. #44
    Sweep the leg!
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40hills View Post
    Hang on there! What does your doctor say?
    Make sure you're talking to an orthopedist. 10 years ago I broke both wrists in a motorcycle crash in late August. Right wrist has two plates and more than a dozen screws, left wrist has one plate and ten screws. From December to April I did extensive therapy to regain my range of motion and strength. The next May I was healed enough to do 2-3 hour road rides while pulling my 2 yr old daughter. I'd consider my wrists at 100% today.

    As for you, it'll be 6 weeks before the bone calcifies. The orthopedist will cover the soft tissue, tendon and ligament damage you may have suffered. Take it slow. You don't want to take two steps forward only to take one step back.
    Authorities speculate that speed may have been a factor. They are also holding gravity and inertia for questioning.

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