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Thread: Broken wrist

  1. #1
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well Broken wrist

    How long until you were back? I know the broken ribs are 6 weeks, but what about a wrist with pins? The original diagnosis I got was 4 months until I could do anything.. a year until fully healed. Sounds like quite a long tim (the year.. the four months I can handle)..

    More details here:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/california-norcal/rider-down-stripes-breaks-paw-316892-post3286025.html

    Thanks!
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    Check out this link

    distal radius fracture--4 months later

    Rider Down thread from late last year.
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    Depends, my case is different, I only had a small chip but with a torn TFC.

    So.. Basically, I spent:
    1 week in a splint from emergency room
    4 weeks in a cast that didnt heal the cartilage/stuff
    then waited 2 weeks until surgery
    then 1 week after surgery in a splint
    3 weeks in a long arm cast
    3 weeks in a short arm cast

    and now im starting a few weeks of physical therapy to get my full range of motion back (Its still quite stiff when trying to move it)

    After that its building back my strength.

    WOW.. All because of one stupid incident. Good luck.

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    I broke my wrist the end of Dec. I had surgery having a ti rod and some screws put in. I was back on the bike about 4 months later. Didn't want to rush it. It all depends on your commitment and how fast a healer you are. As soon as you can (safely) start working on getting it back. Start with movement exercises and then go for strength. Do a google search and research thoroughly. The most important thing is be patient. Don't try and do stuff too soon (like ride the bike) because reinjuring it can make it faaaar worse.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjsca07
    I broke my wrist the end of Dec. I had surgery having a ti rod and some screws put in. I was back on the bike about 4 months later. Didn't want to rush it. It all depends on your commitment and how fast a healer you are. As soon as you can (safely) start working on getting it back. Start with movement exercises and then go for strength. Do a google search and research thoroughly. The most important thing is be patient. Don't try and do stuff too soon (like ride the bike) because reinjuring it can make it faaaar worse.
    Most definitely will not rush it. Do you have any recommended searches other than the obvious ones?
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    So...out of surgery

    How's it going, Stripes? I bet it's a shock but at least that part is over. Let us know how you're doing. And it sucks typing one handed, doesn't it? If you're like me it's your off hand. You'll actually be able to write with your "other" hand when this is all over with. I still brush my teeth with my left hand!
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    How's it going, Stripes? I bet it's a shock but at least that part is over. Let us know how you're doing. And it sucks typing one handed, doesn't it? If you're like me it's your off hand. You'll actually be able to write with your "other" hand when this is all over with. I still brush my teeth with my left hand!
    Ugh, I can eat (fork/spoon/chopsticks) now with my left hand. Brushing teeth is easy. Yes, my right hand is my dominant hand. I still need help tying my shoes and cutting food.

    Typing one-handed really sucks (I'm a 100wpm touch typist), but I'm managing for short periods

    The surgery itself:
    So, the "two and half hour procedure" actually took three hours ...
    ... plus an hour before to set up and start the IV and prep me ...
    ... plus an hour for me to come out of the anesthesia...
    ... plus an hour for the antibiotic drip to finish ...
    ... plus a half hour to dress her afterwards ...
    ... plus 45 minutes drive time both ways ...

    8 hours later, I have a 5lb ti external fixator. It's holding my radius together as I completely obliterated the distal head. The doc had to graph it back together with bone putty. I have no idea what it looks like because the doc wrapped me up really well. This will be a permanent part of me for the next 4-6 weeks

    I like my surgeon, Dr. Pang. He's called me the past two days to see how I'm doing. Not only did he rebuild me and make me better-faster-stronger, but he's called to check on me too :-)

    Saturday sucked, except for the percocet. The darvocet doesn't work, and makes me ill. Out of percocet, but I have industrial strength anti-inflam I take every 12 hours. I had an allergic reaction to the IV antibiotics, and my face felt sunburned all Saturday. I need to find out what that **** was, because it made the IV sting. I've also had to drink Gatorade a lot and eat fibre to remind my digestive system what it's supposed to do when done with waste. I think the sleepy stuff in my IV (versed) told my body to turn it off. Using my right fingers is still painful, but I wiggle the sausages all the time when I'm awake.

    My arm feels like it weighs a ton. Rib pain is a lot less, but there are times they still hurt. Hoping to take a walk around the block tonight.
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    Glad you're feeling better.

    The percocets could be part of the issue with your BM. Now that you're out of them, the issue will probably, um, pass in a few days.
    :wq

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    Hell of a way to get some Ti parts Anne.

    I'm with Nacho, opiates such as Percocet are known to, uh, plug people up. My wife is allergic to them and breaks out in hives, as we found after some surgery a couple years ago - this might be your issue too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chucko58
    Hell of a way to get some Ti parts Anne.

    I'm with Nacho, opiates such as Percocet are known to, uh, plug people up. My wife is allergic to them and breaks out in hives, as we found after some surgery a couple years ago - this might be your issue too.
    Yeah, I'm feeling a bit better today, now that most of the pain meds have run their course.

    I got a "sunburn" all over my face from the IV antibiotic, which is related to penicllian (which I told them I'm allergic to). I can't take most narcotics as they just make me sick to my stomach.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stripes
    I can't take most narcotics as they just make me sick to my stomach.


    I'm glad I don't have that problem. I was on this narcotic called Dilaudid and it was a lot of fun
    :wq

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stripes
    Most definitely will not rush it. Do you have any recommended searches other than the obvious ones?

    Hey stripes, hope you're doing ok. I just did a google search and found some pictures that explained things. "Prayer hands" are good ones I found and weight bearing exercises that stretch the wrist are good. Have a speedy recovery!

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    I was on Percocet for the first few days then Vicodin for a month

    And I got all stopped up as well but in the drug section of the supermarket there's enema kits that work as advertised. I got the cheapest store brand and...what a relief. You do what you gotta do.

    I wound up leaving all my shoes tied and put them on using a shoe horn (get it?). I still do that. When I was still in a lot of pain there came a time I began thinking of weaning myself off the Vicodin (it'd only been two weeks but I thought I'd just take the pain) the physicians assistant, who'd broken her wrist playing hockey, said she'd keep writing me scrips until much less pain would tell me it was time to stop. She said if I was trying to tough my way through the pain my body would be using energy to fight the pain and not healing as much. I guess some people have a problem with getting addicted to Vicodin but I don't have a problem with that at all. In fact, I weaned myself off (going half doses) after about a month and still have a full 40 count bottle sitting in my drawer untouched.
    Last edited by xcguy; 07-23-2007 at 08:41 AM.
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  14. #14
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    You used an enema kit and a ... a shoehorn ? I'm sort of scared by the shoe horn thing. My doctor just gave me a stool softener to supplement the oxy and percocets I'm taking.

    edit: wait, you used the shoehorn to get around tying your shoes with the broken wrist. Paragraphs, man, paragraphs! It's too early
    :wq

  15. #15
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    Nacho beat me to it.

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    Wait, you got it all wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by chucko58
    Nacho beat me to it.

    I used the EK to slide my shoes on easily and the shoehorn...wait, that's not it...hey, give me a break, I was on drugs!
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  17. #17
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    I'm so sorry to hear this, Stripes. You have been such an inspiration to me down here in SoCal. I broke my left wrist (both bones, clean thru + assorted chips) back in Feb. '05. Totally unglamorous crash-- after a good 12 mile trail ride I clipped a recycle bin and went down on the sidewalk less than 15 feet from my car.

    One challenge is not getting depressed. This sort of thing is always a bummer if you're an avid mtb'er-- mine happened exactly one week after I was unceremoniously dumped by the guy I was dating at the time. My job wouldn't let me work, I had to go on disability. And then it rained, rained, rained, rained. I was SAD.

    Family, friends and dvds help. I started back to the gym shortly after my break, but the cast was so hot, cumbersome and unwieldy that I gave up on even the stationary bike and leg work. When the weather cleared up I rediscovered hiking.

    When my cast finally came off, the whole hand (not just the wrist) was amazingly stiff and painful. I shunned Physical Therapy out of stubbornness-- instead squeezed sponges and foam balls and did a lot of prayer and reverse prayer hands to regain joint mobility. This phase took about two weeks, though of course your bones continue knitting for up to a full year, or so they say. I started riding roads & smooth trails about three weeks after the cast came off. Your injury is much more complicated than mine-- Bone putty? Yikes! Nevertheless, it'll probably be that you can start riding when it doesn't hurt too much to do so. You will know when you're ready. Unfortunately this can't be predicted well enough in advance to plan a big ride this fall. So make your wish list for next year. Daydreaming is fun! Getting back on the bike will be inexplicably scary at first, but you'll soon get over it.

    Stripes, I wish you a speedy recovery!

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    As my PT lady said, they're injury is not your injury

    Quote Originally Posted by LadyDi
    I'm so sorry to hear this, Stripes. You have been such an inspiration to me down here in SoCal. I broke my left wrist (both bones, clean thru + assorted chips) back in Feb. '05. Totally unglamorous crash-- after a good 12 mile trail ride I clipped a recycle bin and went down on the sidewalk less than 15 feet from my car.

    One challenge is not getting depressed. This sort of thing is always a bummer if you're an avid mtb'er-- mine happened exactly one week after I was unceremoniously dumped by the guy I was dating at the time. My job wouldn't let me work, I had to go on disability. And then it rained, rained, rained, rained. I was SAD.

    Family, friends and dvds help. I started back to the gym shortly after my break, but the cast was so hot, cumbersome and unwieldy that I gave up on even the stationary bike and leg work. When the weather cleared up I rediscovered hiking.

    When my cast finally came off, the whole hand (not just the wrist) was amazingly stiff and painful. I shunned Physical Therapy out of stubbornness-- instead squeezed sponges and foam balls and did a lot of prayer and reverse prayer hands to regain joint mobility. This phase took about two weeks, though of course your bones continue knitting for up to a full year, or so they say. I started riding roads & smooth trails about three weeks after the cast came off. Your injury is much more complicated than mine-- Bone putty? Yikes! Nevertheless, it'll probably be that you can start riding when it doesn't hurt too much to do so. You will know when you're ready. Unfortunately this can't be predicted well enough in advance to plan a big ride this fall. So make your wish list for next year. Daydreaming is fun! Getting back on the bike will be inexplicably scary at first, but you'll soon get over it.

    Stripes, I wish you a speedy recovery!
    I'm sure, Stripes, that you're grateful for any feedback you get but realize that your injury is not anyone else's injury. Yours is more like mine and PT was an absolute necessity and I couldn't get on the bike till two months after my cast came off and then it was Bigtime Baby Steps on the levelest path I could find just to put the rubber side down. Take the long view.
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    I had an external fixator for eight weeks last fall on my dominant wrist, followed by two weeks in a cast. My userid is qwas5 because it's easier to type with my left hand.

    For the record (and the search engines), I had a comminuted intraarticular dislocated fracture of the distal radius. The surgeon called it a "bad break", one of the worst he'd seen.

    Here are some thoughts and practical advice for you from my experience.

    1. Never turn down painkillers. I used Tylenol-3s and Motrin, but they only attenuated the pain.

    2. Get some pants or athletic wear with an elastic waist. Get some shoes or sandals with Velcro fasteners. Buttons are a challenge that can be overcome. Find a dental flossing gizmo that you can use with your left hand.

    3. Walking is good. I never met anyone being treated for a brutal walking injury in all the time I spent in waiting rooms. (Well, there was one person who fell on ice, so avoid ice.)

    4. Ask your doctor about contrast baths after the fixator comes off. The alternating hot and cold water creates a pumping action in the injured area that can be helpful. My physiotherapist provided details.

    5. If your doctor recommends physiotherapy (and I expect h/she will), go. I met with a physiotherapist while I still had the fixator on, and she made valuable suggestions. My physiotherapy was not easy or comfortable, but I believe that it helped with a speedier, more complete recovery.

    6. Ask your doctor if a dynamic splint would be helpful in your recovery.

    If it would be helpful, apparently sooner is better.

    My physio recommended two splints, one for extension, another for flexion. My surgeon concurred. They are not cheap. Check your insurance coverage.

    Search for 'dynamic splint'. I used Dynasplint http://www.dynasplint.com/. Another company is http://www.jointactivesystems.com/.

    7. If your doctor suggests elevating the hand, do it. My hand was swollen for months. I tried elevating it, but was never sure that I did it long enough. A related shoulder injury made it hard to elevate my hand.

    If my experience to date is any guide, you'll be fine, but you'll need to be patient. Good luck.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwas5
    I had an external fixator for eight weeks last fall on my dominant wrist, followed by two weeks in a cast. My userid is qwas5 because it's easier to type with my left hand.

    For the record (and the search engines), I had a comminuted intraarticular dislocated fracture of the distal radius. The surgeon called it a "bad break", one of the worst he'd seen.

    Here are some thoughts and practical advice for you from my experience.

    1. Never turn down painkillers. I used Tylenol-3s and Motrin, but they only attenuated the pain.

    2. Get some pants or athletic wear with an elastic waist. Get some shoes or sandals with Velcro fasteners. Buttons are a challenge that can be overcome. Find a dental flossing gizmo that you can use with your left hand.

    3. Walking is good. I never met anyone being treated for a brutal walking injury in all the time I spent in waiting rooms. (Well, there was one person who fell on ice, so avoid ice.)

    4. Ask your doctor about contrast baths after the fixator comes off. The alternating hot and cold water creates a pumping action in the injured area that can be helpful. My physiotherapist provided details.

    5. If your doctor recommends physiotherapy (and I expect h/she will), go. I met with a physiotherapist while I still had the fixator on, and she made valuable suggestions. My physiotherapy was not easy or comfortable, but I believe that it helped with a speedier, more complete recovery.

    6. Ask your doctor if a dynamic splint would be helpful in your recovery.

    If it would be helpful, apparently sooner is better.

    My physio recommended two splints, one for extension, another for flexion. My surgeon concurred. They are not cheap. Check your insurance coverage.

    Search for 'dynamic splint'. I used Dynasplint http://www.dynasplint.com/. Another company is http://www.jointactivesystems.com/.

    7. If your doctor suggests elevating the hand, do it. My hand was swollen for months. I tried elevating it, but was never sure that I did it long enough. A related shoulder injury made it hard to elevate my hand.

    If my experience to date is any guide, you'll be fine, but you'll need to be patient. Good luck.

    Sounds like you and I had similar breaks. I had a t-fracture on the distal head of the radius, broke the scaphoid pretty bad, and did a clean break on the ulna. Multiple fragments: some large, some small.

    In my surgeon's words: "you really know how to break a bone."

    1. I'm taking anti-inflam (industrial strength) every 12 hours, and darvocet when I'm hurting.

    2. I've had to make a lot of temp modifications, including the flossing sticks, a luffa on a stick, pump soaps, elastic shorts (thank heavens it's summer), and anything requiring two hands, my husband has been kick-butt in helping me with (tying shoes, putting on the bra, washing my hair, opening things, cutting things). I'm constantly amazed at how well I can do things with my left hand: using silverware, chopsticks, typing.

    3. I walk the track every night Last night I worked up to 1.25 miles.

    4. Ok, will do. I see the doc today.

    5. As soon as I can go to PT, I'll be there. Right now my PT is move my fingers all the time (they no longer look sausages--they look like deflated sausages ). Trust me, as long as I'm awake, these fingers are moving.
    The thumb is wrapped up pretty good along with the rest of the arm, so I can't really move it around.

    6. Whatever my doc tells me to do, I'm doing it.

    7. My hand is evelated 95% of the time, otherwise, it hurts. I've been told to elevate it, and it's not a problem at all
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    I'm sure, Stripes, that you're grateful for any feedback you get but realize that your injury is not anyone else's injury. Yours is more like mine and PT was an absolute necessity and I couldn't get on the bike till two months after my cast came off and then it was Bigtime Baby Steps on the levelest path I could find just to put the rubber side down. Take the long view.
    I'm very grateful for any feedback I get, but my injury and healing process is going to be different because of the type of break and how many bones are broken.

    Here's what my days are like.
    Sleep, usually 10 hours, preferably in a row
    Take meds at scheduled times.
    Take painkillers when necessary.
    Eat healthy. Lots of fruit, veggies, and milk. Absolute minimal junk food.
    Talk calcium supplements per doc's advise, and glucosomine.
    Watch DVDs. Read. Call people and take visits when up to it.
    Walk around the track nightly.
    Do as much movement on my injured hand that's recommended.
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  22. #22
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    Update, with pics and X-rays

    My check-up went well today. The doctor has decided that recovery has progressed well enough that it's time to remove the sterile wrappings. It's a good news, bad news situation as that means that my husband and I (mostly my husband) will have to clean the fixator pins twice daily with a solution of soapy water and hydrogen peroxide.

    Looking at the x-ray, you can see what an amazing job the surgeon did reconstructing the head of the radius. You can see the two screws and the external fixator so you can understand why my arm feels so heavy. By the way, there appears to be really cool 3-D modeling texture around the arm in the left pic (at least that's what my husband thought initially). No, it's just the way the bandages showed up in the x-ray. He thought he was married to Yori (from "Tron") for a moment.

    Everyone's been asking about the fixator so I've included pictures. The highlight of the visit for me was when the doctor pulled out a 5mm hex wrench to adjust the pins - I now understand what it's like to "be the bike" (with apologies to Chevy Chase).

    Unfortunately I'm under orders to keep the fixator wrapped so she won't be able to decorate it. We'll have to see if there's any festive ACE bandages to wrap it so that it has some more personality.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  23. #23
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    Yikes, that's one external cast I don't want to see on me!. Get well soon Stripes...

  24. #24
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    Latest news

    • Cleared to drive
    • Encouraged to type with both hands as this means I'll be exercising my fingers more :-)
    • Bones are healing well so far
    • Stitches are out
    • Skin can be cleaned (the dead skin under the splint itches)
    • Exercise my thumb now, it doesn't need to be stable
    • Not cleared to go back to work, will depend on well I'm typing and what work wants
    • Not cleared to go hiking yet
    • No travel
    • My bicep is going to be constantly semi-flexed until I get out of the fixator, keeps the wrist as still as possible
    • More needles to get out of the fixator (possibly local, possibly general)
    • May not get full rotation (palm up position) in my right wrist because of the way I broke my radius and ulna
    So there were a total of 8 fractures in 3 bones. When I break bones, I may up for lost time.

    Stitches came out today, and with the blood blisters, they REALLY hurt. 3-5 weeks left in the fixator, but won't know exactly how long until 3 weeks from now. I'm trying not to get frustrated, cleaning the posts and pulling the skin away twice a day to put hydrogen peroxide at the contact points twice a day is painful, as I'm healing well and the skin is determined to heal.

    Still walking every night too, and eating lots of fruit, and taking calcium and vitamins..
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  25. #25
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    New question here. Fixator removal?

    Quote Originally Posted by qwas5
    I had an external fixator for eight weeks last fall on my dominant wrist, followed by two weeks in a cast. My userid is qwas5 because it's easier to type with my left hand.
    Did you have a local or a general for your fixator removal? My doc says I can go either way.
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