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  1. #1
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    Broken right wrist -- BTDT words of advice?

    Yesterday I was having the ride of my life, or at least since I started riding about 14 months ago. 102 miles on my new El Mar...first ride where I really started feeling "at one" with him. Riding better on trails an hour from us than I did months ago on my previous bike.

    But after maybe 16 miles I was feeling pretty tired and told DH that I would head back to the car to change while he and friends did a quick spin on the loop that I find the toughest for me.

    Turns out I would never make it to that loop to begin with. I went down on a totally non-technical corner with some loose dirt (overcorrected, I think). I was behind everyone by a bit. At first I thought that I maybe just sprained it, until I pushed up my sleeve. Oops...crooked!

    I started pushing my bike with my good hand. Shortly after DH backtracks and finds me. I told him "hey, I think I may be joining the Ti plate club." He was crushed! He has now been with 3 people this year when they destroyed wrists mtbing.

    We got back to the car and to an ER about an hour away...closer to home. Xrays confirmed bayonet fracture of distal radial and a relatively minor ulna fracture.

    Prior to reduction the ER doc thought it likely that I would need a Ti plate, since wrist fractures tend to not set well. After the fact I got the impression that my fracture was so straightforward and easy to set that maybe it would only need a cast once swelling is down.

    So here's my query: if the ortho doc gives me the choice, which is the wiser route for someone who is likely to fall again in the future? WWYD?

    BTW, typing one-handed and mousing with my left hand SUCKS!
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  2. #2
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    I don't know what a bayonet fracture is but I totally hosed the end of my radius and cracked my own ulna in a fall backwards off a ladder. The docs that looked at it said "if that was my wrist I'd have surgery and a plate" and that's what I did. Other "broken wrists" you'll read about are basically just fractured bones of the lower arm that heal with just a soft cast, but I don't call those "broken wrists" even though the person it happened to does.

    I've had friends who broke their wrists (remember, each injury is different) and if it involved the area that yours and my injury occurred, and they didn't have a plate inserted, they regretted it later. I didn't have a choice and had good insurance.

    It's years later and I don't notice the plate being in there at all. Read all about it here:

    distal radius fracture--4 months later
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  3. #3
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    Bayonet is overlapping bones.

    Ortho doc was very impressed by how well the ER doc reset my wrist. He'll do xrays again next Fri, once swelling is down. Right now he's pretty certain that surgery will be unnecessary. I trust his judgement. He's in his early 70's and head of THE Ortho practice in the area. He's seen it all.

    I expect it to be a while before I can ride outdoors, again. My friend broke her wrist in 7 spots 3 months ago and still can't put full weight in it. Glad it's almost Winter!
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomy29er View Post
    Bayonet is overlapping bones.

    Ortho doc was very impressed by how well the ER doc reset my wrist. He'll do xrays again next Fri, once swelling is down. Right now he's pretty certain that surgery will be unnecessary. I trust his judgement. He's in his early 70's and head of THE Ortho practice in the area. He's seen it all.

    I expect it to be a while before I can ride outdoors, again. My friend broke her wrist in 7 spots 3 months ago and still can't put full weight in it. Glad it's almost Winter!
    Seems like you already know the answer. You're not going to have surgery. Good luck.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

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    Good for you on likely not needing surgery. I broke my wrist on the day before thanksgiving and had surgery 7 days later. Mine sounds like it might have been a bit worse than yours. ER called it a Colles fracture. Ortho described it was as "shattered". But the surgery went well and I am already getting some movement back. Also the post-surgery pain was way less than the pain of the broken bones rubbing around in there.

  6. #6
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    OWIE!!! Yours sounds like what my friend with 7 fractures dealt with. Glad you're feeling better. What were the circumstances of your fall?

    I am SO ready to be out of this splint. It's starting to smell. As soon as I can I'm getting out for a run!
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  7. #7
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    Was going uphill. Stopped to wait for my wife and get a drink. Went to push off and the rocks under my right foot gave way and I tipped over. Wasn't even clipped in or anything. Just a stupid accident. Had to walk almost 3 miles back to the truck. And getting the splint off was a big plus. That thing sucked. New soft cast is much better. Doc said I can do some light range of motion exercises and squeeze a small Nerf ball. So at least I can do some things since surgery.

  8. #8
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    Yep, I ate it on the least technical part of my 18 mile day. I'm glad your healing is going well!
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    Thanks for the well wishes and I hope your healing goes as well. Let us know what the decision on surgery is. But don't be too afraid of surgery. Mine has worked out well so far. I'd rather have a few screws and staples than have to deal with the broken bones rubbing together inside a stupid splint.

  10. #10
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    I have had pretty much 0 bone/break pain, which I think is a good sign. I've been religious about taking pain meds on schedule. This AM I have taken nothing and only have very mild achey-ness. Finally the swelling is really decreasing, too.
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  11. #11
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    Here's my current status...bored almost literally to tears. And irritated by "nice" Dec. weather that I don't get to enjoy.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomy29er View Post
    Here's my current status...bored almost literally to tears. And irritated by "nice" Dec. weather that I don't get to enjoy.
    Yup.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomy29er View Post
    Here's my current status...bored almost literally to tears. And irritated by "nice" Dec. weather that I don't get to enjoy.
    I know where you're coming from. Short arm thumb spica and sling on right (dominant hand) since 12/3. Had to have a cast change today because it was actually too short and was digging into my forearm. Cast tech briefly mentioned long arm thumb spica Wouldnt have mattered much anyway.... shoulder is jacked so I can't lift my arm anyway unless I'm using my left arm to lift it Good luck on your recovery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NismoGriff View Post
    I know where you're coming from. Short arm thumb spica and sling on right (dominant hand) since 12/3. Had to have a cast change today because it was actually too short and was digging into my forearm. Cast tech briefly mentioned long arm thumb spica Wouldnt have mattered much anyway.... shoulder is jacked so I can't lift my arm anyway unless I'm using my left arm to lift it Good luck on your recovery.
    Oh, no! What did you bust? How long do you expect to be in a cast?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomy29er View Post
    Oh, no! What did you bust? How long do you expect to be in a cast?
    6-8 weeks for Scaphoid fracture. Also tore rotator cuff and labrum when I dislocated my shoulder. Spoke with surgeon today and decided to hold off on surgery. No use of arm for a month (has to stay in a sling), then return for further examination to determine if i need more healing time, start rehab, or surgery. I'm already completely sick of left handed typing and not being able to write

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NismoGriff View Post
    6-8 weeks for Scaphoid fracture. Also tore rotator cuff and labrum when I dislocated my shoulder. Spoke with surgeon today and decided to hold off on surgery. No use of arm for a month (has to stay in a sling), then return for further examination to determine if i need more healing time, start rehab, or surgery. I'm already completely sick of left handed typing and not being able to write
    I went from being right handed to being ambidextrous. Practice writing with your left hand (hold your pen like a righty, not a lefty) and it will come to you. I'm actually neater with my left but a lot slower.

    I also can mouse at my computer equally with left and right and eat with my left. Still can't shoot a basketball with my left hand but you can't have everything. It took about three years for my right bicep to again be bigger than my left. Take the long view.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy View Post
    I went from being right handed to being ambidextrous. Practice writing with your left hand (hold your pen like a righty, not a lefty) and it will come to you. I'm actually neater with my left but a lot slower.

    I also can mouse at my computer equally with left and right and eat with my left. Still can't shoot a basketball with my left hand but you can't have everything. It took about three years for my right bicep to again be bigger than my left. Take the long view.
    I am REALLY getting good with the mouse. Could always eat with either hand. Writing...bad!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomy29er View Post
    I am REALLY getting good with the mouse. Could always eat with either hand. Writing...bad!!!
    I have two mice set up at all my desktops now (three, don't ask). I reach for either one with either hand at all times. Writing--I could always write backwards with my right hand so learning to write with my left wasn't so hard!

    My business required me to sign a ton of checks monthly and I went to my bank and signed a new signature card with my left so they knew it was me.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  19. #19
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    I'm sure I'll adjust better with time. After my conversation with the surgeon yesterday I am frustrated about "no use of the arm". It's not that I'm frustrated that I can't use it really... It's that I am afraid certain things I do are bad for my shoulder. I am experiencing pain with certain actions that I don't consider "using the arm" and I don't know if that means I'm preventing healing. I hate soft tissue injuries, they're too fickle. I've been dealing with TFCC tears in both wrists for a number of years now. I go through 6-8 weeks of being in a cast and some PT and they are good for a year or so. Last fall, it was both wrists at the same time. Now soft tissue injury in a much larger/critical joint and I'm really concerned. I can't deal with another chronic problem.

  20. #20
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    I get that. I badly sprained my left ankle trail running 2 Summers ago and it was really off for about 2 years. For a while I figured I would never have the strength or ROM to ever consider running off-road again. Now my almost 12 year old DS wants to start trail running in the Spring and I am happy that I think it will be doable for me to join him.
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  21. #21
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    After 1 week of cast (preceded by 8ish days of splint) my ortho says healing and alignment still look good and in 3 weeks I'll go back in for a short arm cast or maybe even some "fancy splint," as he put it. Not sure how long I'd have to wear that...2 weeks, perhaps..?
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomy29er View Post
    After 1 week of cast (preceded by 8ish days of splint) my ortho says healing and alignment still look good and in 3 weeks I'll go back in for a short arm cast or maybe even some "fancy splint," as he put it. Not sure how long I'd have to wear that...2 weeks, perhaps..?
    Good to hear that you are healing well and fast.... looks like we'll both be in cast through the New Year. I can handle the scaphoid fracture and the associated cast. Actually, other than the inconvenience of not being able to remove it for showering I find a cast more comfortable than any splint/brace I've ever worn. It's been 12 days since since I went down and I still have to take pain meds every 6 hours to be somewhat comfortable. I've moved to sleeping in a recliner since that is the only way I can get comfortable sleeping with the sling on. Felt bad yesterday, a couple of my coworkers felt the wrath of my lack of sleep... I later apologized, lol. Hope you continue to make good progress.

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    Oh, yeah...it's made me cranky, too. Fortunately my DH is entirely accommodating. He kind of has to be, as he was the one to encourage mtn biking in the first place.
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  24. #24
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    Cast. is. off!!! Now for 10 days in a splint. I wonder if I will ever have my wrist back...it is so weak/stiff/sore. My ROM is nil.




    Tomorrow I can at least return to running. I'm dreading the realization of the fitness I've lost in 5.5 weeks of 0 activity. And my Fall was already pretty weak with about a month of lower back garbage followed by a cold that kicked my butt. I have 2 half-marathons in early April that aren't going to run themselves and several centuries in early Summer to get back into shape for, so I have no time to waste! I miss my mountain bike and haven't been able to touch my "new" Mukluk, but I can't begin to envision riding either anytime soon.
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    Glad to see you're "free". It took me a couple weeks of therapy to get good ROM after getting both casts off last year. I'm still my current one. Going Monday for a nerve conduction test on my shoulder, hoping they have to remove the cast for the test and I can convince them to let me wear a brace for the last 3-4 weeks. Good luck with the remainder of your recovery.

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