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  1. #1
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    Broken wrist--distal radius fracture--4 months later

    I fell backwards off a ladder, did a karate chop from h!ll behind me to break my fall and broke my wrist instead. And a distal ulna fracture as well! Those are the two major bones in your forearm. They end at where your wrist starts. Distal means "end of". Had surgery to pull the end of my radius back into proper position and place a 6" piece o' metal with 6 screws to hold it. Not having surgery wasn't even an option.

    Was in a cast for 5 weeks. Swelling took 2 1/2 months to go mostly down. My hand looked like a gnarly leather glove! My arm (right and I'm right handed) just disappeared, muscle-wise. Couldn't work out, heck couldn't even tie my shoes, and sure as sh!t couldn't ride.

    Finally the pain subsided enough I could start using my right hand, very very slowly at first till I could pick up a gallon of milk and shift my Element--whoopee!

    4 months after my fall (August 22 at 2:24 pm) I've ridden easy trails 5 times and lift weights--again very slowly, like 12.5 lb curls and 20 lb dumbbell shrugs. At first it was trying not to lift so much that my hand felt like it was going to come off the end of my arm. Now I actually have definition creeping back to my arm and strength where before there was nothing. There was nerve damage as well--my middle two fingers feel like an electric shock is running up and down them. The docs say that may never go away. When I wash my hair in the shower my hair feels like sandpaper with my right hand. Oh, well, at least I can use it!

    I'm looking forward to Moab in late March (maybe not Porc but maybe Sovereign) where in the first few months that seemed impossible. Make no mistake, the hand still hurts a lot while riding and my range of motion still sucks. I stretch 2 hours daily, still go to PT, wear a JAS splint three 30 minute sessions daily. (www.jointactivesystems.com--for all your range of motion needs, not just wrist injuries. A lot of docs don't know about these devices. See if your insurance covers one, mine does. They're not cheap to rent monthly which is how you do it, but you have six months from injury to get back what range of motion is possible. You gotta get on it NOW!) It pushes my hand backwards and the other way as well, but I really need the backwards motion the most. The turning of my hand left and right came back with the proper instructions on how to properly stretch. All thanks to my PT lady (Dona, bless her professional heart).

    I feel like I can tell you my story on this forum without sounding like I'm whining. I don't compare my current condition with August 22 at 2:22 pm (lifted regularly, mountain biked pain free a lot and a contractor/carpenter). I now compare myself with when I was in the cast, one handed (and my off hand at that!) and kinda helpless. The fact I can ride easy trails with pain, lift lightly with pain and look forward to going back to Moab and ride is kind of overwhelming, actually, considering I was just a helpless dude terrified of falling down the stairs for quite a few weeks.

    Others have commented on other threads that you probably won't be the same after rehabbing certain injuries and they're probably right. But your perspective changes to one of being grateful as heck for what you do have. Good luck, all of you coming back from injury. And try a JAS device for whatever injury you have. No, I don't work for them.
    Last edited by xcguy; 01-13-2007 at 07:11 AM. Reason: different wording

  2. #2
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    Good work on your recovery xcguy; it sounds like you've come a long way. Just remember to take it s l o w.
    Have any docs mentioned nerve reconstruction? A while back I severed a nerve in my hand that left me with similar numbness. Half of my index finger felt like raw meat and I even lost my fingerprint on that side. Doc told me that surgery, while not perfect, could help. I gave it a shot and a year later had much of the feeling back. Not 100%, but at least now I'll notice if I'm touching a red hot brake rotor.

  3. #3
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    please not another surgery!

    Quote Originally Posted by Coaster?
    Good work on your recovery xcguy; it sounds like you've come a long way. Just remember to take it s l o w.
    Have any docs mentioned nerve reconstruction? A while back I severed a nerve in my hand that left me with similar numbness. Half of my index finger felt like raw meat and I even lost my fingerprint on that side. Doc told me that surgery, while not perfect, could help. I gave it a shot and a year later had much of the feeling back. Not 100%, but at least now I'll notice if I'm touching a red hot brake rotor.
    I asked them about the tingling sensation from day one but their tests confirmed the nerves weren't severed just "shocked" bigtime. I would imagine that that you went from where your hand was to where my hand is now with your surgery. Whether or not I can go from where I am now to 100% with another surgery is doubtful, considering the risks involved with any surgery.
    I will ask my surgeon next time I see her, though, thanks for the advice. How long did it take for your hand to get back to "normal" mobility-and-strengthwise after your surgery?

  4. #4
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    an update on my progress

    It's been only a few days since I started this thread, but I've ridden a few pretty gnarly rides since then, to test things. My fitness is coming back, and even though I still walk some downhill sections that I didn't think about riding before, I can get out there and ride not just the easy stuff. The long downhill bumpy sections really hurt, but I do these in small amounts, go back to my truck and go home. Today I lifted some landscaping rocks and put them around my garden, something that was unthinkable just 3 weeks ago.

    I know some of you out there are in the same condition I was at first, but so far I am amazed and extremely gratified at my body's ability to heal. I'm trying not to do anything stupid, but I gotta say that once I was able to use my hand after the pain subsided my strength is coming back nicely. But, and this is a big but, you cannot forget to work on your range of motion. In fact, I'm going to put on my JAS brace right now. Good luck.
    Last edited by xcguy; 10-25-2013 at 05:03 PM.

  5. #5
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    After breaking the radius at the other end (elbow) in October, I am still unable to completely straighten my arm. (am missing about the last 30 degreees).

    How long can I expect it to take before I can regain most of the mobility and how often have you been stretching / excercising per day? I would really like to be able to get back on the bike by March if possible.

    Thanks for info in advance,

    Bacon

  6. #6
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    two different injuries

    Quote Originally Posted by BaconBrain
    After breaking the radius at the other end (elbow) in October, I am still unable to completely straighten my arm. (am missing about the last 30 degreees).

    How long can I expect it to take before I can regain most of the mobility and how often have you been stretching / excercising per day? I would really like to be able to get back on the bike by March if possible.

    Thanks for info in advance,

    Bacon
    You've got a completely different injury than I have. Same bone, different ends. I hope you've been going to physical therapy where you live and are following their advice. I'm working on my wrist motion and you're working on your elbow. I'm not a doctor, just an injured mountain biker. The mobility in my wrist is about 95 percent in some directions to only maybe 70 percent in other directions. My PT person says that you have to work on your range of motion in the first six months after injury because after that it's too late. I can't tell you what exercises to do to help straighten your arm but go on that JAS website I listed above and see what they have to say. Good luck. And I was able to get on the bike about 10 times before the snows finally buried us here in Colorado. I've got clearance to lift in the gym, but I'm going real slow there. Finally have my right arm back, though.

    I wear the JAS splint 3 times a day, 30 minutes each, plus I push and turn my wrist in all other directions all day when I think of it. I don't think I'm going to get my wrist to bend backwards like it did, ever. It just sort of dead ends about half way. But I'm still going to work on it daily till end of February. Other directions (turning thumb to the right and then to the left) took awhile and a lot of painful pushing to finally get that to 95 percent full range. I had to have guidance on how to properly stretch, though, I would have never done it correctly by myself. Who knows, maybe your arm will start straightening out with the proper painful stretching, but unless you're doing it correctly you're not giving yourself the proper chance for full recovery.

  7. #7
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    Hope you are back up to 100% soon. That can be a bugger of an injury.

    My mother managed a distal radius and ulna fracture when she was washing some lino at her place. She slipped, went over backwards and tried to break her fall by putting her hands out. A bunch of pins and 4 months later she is now starting rehab to regain the strength in her right wrist and hand...having seen what she went through, I can understand your pain.
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  8. #8
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    I like your "Book of MTB Revelations"

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Mike
    Hope you are back up to 100% soon. That can be a bugger of an injury.

    My mother managed a distal radius and ulna fracture when she was washing some lino at her place. She slipped, went over backwards and tried to break her fall by putting her hands out. A bunch of pins and 4 months later she is now starting rehab to regain the strength in her right wrist and hand...having seen what she went through, I can understand your pain.
    Behold, he who wasn't even injured while riding--that's me! I remember how many times I've launched over the bars and landed, if only for a nanosecond, on my outstretched hands, bent all the way back only to then hurtle forward in a blur of arms and legs. I'd lay there for awhile, figure that was it, I've messed myself up now for sure, but except for lots of blood and scrapes I never broke anything riding. Then I fell off that freakin' ladder.

    Now that I have broken my wrist I can picture your ma going backwards and how solid the hit was when she landed. And I can feel her pain, shock and anxiety. I bet she was right-handed, too. Everybody I spoke with said take the long view, like a year. Work on your range of motion bigtime (per the PT person's guidance) in the first six months and don't worry so much about the strength. Your muscles will disappear but are still there waiting for the pain to subside so you can at least use them, if not build them up right away.

    Some people take the loss of their former lifestyle harder than others. I would imagine a mother with a family to take care of and all the attendant housekeeping duties could take the helplessness pretty hard. Tell her that she will be able to use her hand again, and her perspective at that point will be that being one and a half handed beats the crap out of being one handed! Pretty soon, even though her mobility might not be what it was, she will feel like she is two-handed again and I bet she'll never take the ability to do that lino for granted again.

    I build houses but I'm the contractor so it was very important that I get to where I could turn my hand over enough to type on my keyboard, like I am now. I worked on that range of motion the most and thank god it came back. Now I'm thinking about the next time I launch OTB. Maybe I'll just ride real slow from now on. You gotta slow down sometime.

  9. #9
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    You've got a completely different injury than I have. Same bone, different ends. I hope you've been going to physical therapy where you live and are following their advice. I'm working on my wrist motion and you're working on your elbow. I'm not a doctor, just an injured mountain biker.
    Yeah, I am aware that you are not able to give me any truely qualified advice but sometimes I guess you just ask yourself the questions "Am I doing enough?" or "Am I expecting to much?" I find it difficult to find the right balance, especially when the results of the physical therapy are less than expected.

  10. #10
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    tough to tell when you've maxed out on range of motion

    Quote Originally Posted by BaconBrain
    Yeah, I am aware that you are not able to give me any truely qualified advice but sometimes I guess you just ask yourself the questions "Am I doing enough?" or "Am I expecting to much?" I find it difficult to find the right balance, especially when the results of the physical therapy are less than expected.
    I'm feeling my way through this therapy thing myself. I know that by using the JAS device I've probably gotten gains I wouldn't have without it, but at this point it's only adding up to a few degrees more in range. Have you gone on the JAS website? I just tried to use the link above and it didn't work. Joint Active Systems is the name of the company. Google it to get to the website maybe. The continuous pressure is a different kind of therapy. When your muscles relax from the shock of the pressure you dial in more over a 30 minute session. I see you're in Germany. Hope you can get this website up to get the info they offer. Talk to your physical therapist about these devices. I didn't use one for my wrist turning motion, just my other hand forcing it towards each direction. You'll see specific elbow devices on that website. The time to get that range is NOW. I kept asking my PT lady if there was more I could be doing. Well, if she didn't know about the JAS devices she might have said no, but she would have been wrong. There does come a point, though, where there's no more range of motion to be had, at least for the moment. I talked to a guy who broke his wrist in a short track auto race 8 years ago and he said he finally got some more flexion in his wrist back in the last 2 years. Something about hard fill in between his wrist bones breaking down. Hope that happens for me.

    You might try another PT person, see what their opinion is. I've had two. The hard facts are that sometimes it just doesn't work out like you'd like. It sucks, I know. But you can't stop trying to get back your range of motion. Like continuous therapy for the next year, even if just on your own. Don't get depressed about it just keep moving forward.

  11. #11
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    Glad you like "the book" I've seen a few good ones around and will likely be starting a collection of them before too long.
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  12. #12
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    I just traded broken wrist stories with a guy in a shop

    He did his DHing about 40 mph when he hit a "hidden" log. He said he continued to progress in his therapy for the first eight months. When I showed him my ROM he said wait till you see what's up at the 8 month point. Now he races DH like before. Got my fingers crossed.

  13. #13
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    post here if you haven't been able to contact JAS

    Quote Originally Posted by BaconBrain
    Yeah, I am aware that you are not able to give me any truely qualified advice but sometimes I guess you just ask yourself the questions "Am I doing enough?" or "Am I expecting to much?" I find it difficult to find the right balance, especially when the results of the physical therapy are less than expected.
    Really, I don't work for this company. If you haven't been able to check out Joint Activation Systems let me know. I have an email address of someone to contact there. I'm going to wear their wrist device for the next couple of months to try to get more range of motion of my wrist. Any stretching I might do on my own can't possibly obtain the same results.

  14. #14
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    I broke alot of bones in the past and I'm well past the age of healing quickly but, the only point I'll add to this good thread is try to resist the urge to do too much too quick it sets you back long term

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    I have spoken with my physical therapist about it, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be available here in Europe.

    I guess that really the best thing to do is just to take it one step (or stretch) at a time and not to get to discouraged right away if things do not appear to improve.

    A good book on effective methods of stretching would certainly be welcome though at this moment. Do you know of one?

  16. #16
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    a couple of ideas for you

    Quote Originally Posted by BaconBrain
    I have spoken with my physical therapist about it, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be available here in Europe.

    I guess that really the best thing to do is just to take it one step (or stretch) at a time and not to get to discouraged right away if things do not appear to improve.

    A good book on effective methods of stretching would certainly be welcome though at this moment. Do you know of one?
    First off, have you actually gone onto the JAS website? I deal with them on occasion and last time I believe Jeanie gave me her email address there:

    jcalhoun@jointactivesystems.com

    She just works there and has no PT advice to give you but can tell you or your doctor how to get the appropriate device, if that's even possible in Germany. They usually rent them to your insurance/doctor and they aren't cheap.

    Second, start another thread on Rider Down. Title it "Broken Elbow--Need advice" or something like that to attract the attention of others in your condition. I know now I should have titled this thread "Broken Wrist--Need Advice" but, whatever.

    Third, advice on how to stretch should be coming from your PT person and doctor. Don't ask me! Anything I learned how to do I got from them. Good luck.

  17. #17
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    Stupid Softball

    I broke the same bones, complete fracture of radius and ulna. Freaky looking near compound fracture. I was playing third base, ran after a pop fly in foul territory (sloping hill), caught ball, slipped down hill, karate chop backwards with softball in glove, and then the loud snapping sound of bones breaking.

    I had the surgery (no pins or screws fortunately), cast for 6 weeks, and lots of work on arm afterwards.

    Range of motion took a while to get back. I couldn't hold my hand out flat to receive change for a dollar.

    Good luck with the wrist. Keep working on it and it will improve.

  18. #18
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    how were you able to avoid pins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_Element50
    I broke the same bones, complete fracture of radius and ulna. Freaky looking near compound fracture. I was playing third base, ran after a pop fly in foul territory (sloping hill), caught ball, slipped down hill, karate chop backwards with softball in glove, and then the loud snapping sound of bones breaking.

    I had the surgery (no pins or screws fortunately), cast for 6 weeks, and lots of work on arm afterwards.

    Range of motion took a while to get back. I couldn't hold my hand out flat to receive change for a dollar.

    Good luck with the wrist. Keep working on it and it will improve.
    I didn't hear any sounds of bones snapping, just felt the incredible force of my palm hitting the concrete. My injury mushed the end of the radius back and up, deforming the very end. The surgery pulled the end back down into position and the plate held it there till it "healed". The end of the ulna was also cracked but wasn't deformed. The doc said there were bits and pieces all over in there. I try not to think of that image too much! Hard to believe you had both bones snap and avoided pins.

    How long after surgery did you finally feel you could trust your hand/wrist like before? Or are you still working on that?

  19. #19
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    Good as New

    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    I didn't hear any sounds of bones snapping, just felt the incredible force of my palm hitting the concrete. My injury mushed the end of the radius back and up, deforming the very end. The surgery pulled the end back down into position and the plate held it there till it "healed". The end of the ulna was also cracked but wasn't deformed. The doc said there were bits and pieces all over in there. I try not to think of that image too much! Hard to believe you had both bones snap and avoided pins.

    How long after surgery did you finally feel you could trust your hand/wrist like before? Or are you still working on that?
    I had clean breaks without any pieces. I was also told that there was a 50/50 chance that I might need the screws and plates. I had to get xrays twice after the initial surgery to make sure the bones didn't shift. I got lucky!

    It took a while to trust the wrist again. Gradually, the ROM came back and the pain subsided. After a few months, I started weight lifting again and haven't had a problem since.

    The break happened nearly 19 years ago. Every once in a while when the weather conditions are just right (damp and cold), the wrist will ache a bit.

    Here's hoping for your speedy recovery. Good Luck...

  20. #20
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    Interesting thread

    I broke my radius at the distal end about 1" below the wrist on aug 6th. I got lucky in a sense in that it was only a partial break. It was a curving fracture that was heading from the thumb side towards the center of the articular surface, It stopped with less than a 1/4" of bone intact before it would have compromised the cartilage. I hit the ground at approx 20mph and was doing a shouler roll when my hand got stuck in a gopher hole...aside from the break I dislocated and messed up the tendons of both the thumb and the index finger
    Hurt like crazy. My wife drove us over to my firestation where I grabbed a sam splint an an ace bandage then it was off to the hospital an the orthopedic surgeon.

    I was fortunate in that I didn't need surgery for the bone but perhaps I should have had the tendons fixed. I was such a retard with my left hand, first time I tried to brush my teeth left handed the brush came out of my mouth and left a trail of toothpaste across my face
    I got the cast off in 5 weeks...man was the arm atrophied I had limited flextion at the wrist and no thumb strength what so ever. I went full blast into pt with light weights, massage, flexion exercises as we we coming into the height of fire season. I mae it through the season and a ropes rescue plus an auto extrication course using mostly my left hand.

    so after 6 months, 5 of which involved hard rehab I can finally sleep with out pain [first two months I screame every time I rolled over and the wrist flexed] the wrist is at 90% the thumb is at about 70% strenght an flexibility. I can do most of my favorite trails and I can just now ride my road bike with out the vibration causing extreme pain.

    If anyone is looking for a really good rehab facillity in the San Jose area I would highly recommend the More Clinic on the Alameda just north of 880. they are used by the sharks, 49er, raiders, stanford and sjsu plus most of the local PD's an Fire Depts. their focus is on getting perfomance athletes back into competition.

    work through the pain, keep at the rehab, stay positive and go for it
    Warning: Consumption of alcohol may make you think the person on the barstool next to you is attractive

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    Yo Buzz Cut

    Did your tendons heal themselves? I slept with my cast up on a pillow on my stomach (elevated) then with just my withered arm elevated for about 3 months. I can relate to the rolling over and screaming in pain. Fortunately I usually sleep on my back. I had some furniture delivered about two weeks after surgery and one of the guys carrying was a fireman who had broken his right wrist (like you and me) falling off a ladder. Seeing him a year after his injury hauling this heavy stuff (when at the time I couldn't even tie my shoes) was inspiring. I guess he had the night shift as a fireman and delivered furniture during the day, I don't know.

    My arm has built up again, although it's like it's "pumped" without any real strength like before. I still only curl 17.5 lbs (instead of 45), lat pulls on a machine with one 45 lb plate instead of two and a 25 each side, etc. Every time I think I'm ready to lift more I tell myself give it another month. I learned to write left handed and still do sometimes just to keep in practice. It's almost as legible as my right but a lot slower. I still brush my teeth left handed, still just naturally reach for things left handed, mouse at my computer left handed, whereas before my fall my left hand was nowhere near as coordinated as my right.
    Last edited by xcguy; 01-17-2007 at 08:07 AM.

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    naw the thumb is still not right but I can't afford to have it worked on right now, the strength is better but I still have pain and stiffness at max flexion. The improvement in my arm from months 5 to 6 has been remarkable. At month 5 I was wondering if I would ever heal an now I don't remember that I was hurt 99 % of the time. The only time I'm concious of the lingering injury is with heavy vibration or awkward loading of the wrist while carrying heavy gear
    Warning: Consumption of alcohol may make you think the person on the barstool next to you is attractive

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    Hm, I dented the tip of my radius a bit and my doctor installed this beauty!



    They call it an "external fixator". Really shook 'em up at the register when I reached for change. Not much fun when you bump into things tho. That was three years ago and I'm around 90% strength and flexibilty and can ride all day without thinking about it. There were some tiny pins under the skin to hold the small pieces in place but it all came out after six weeks, no hardware stayed in.

    -c

  24. #24
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    Elbow Injury and Recovery (long)

    This one's in response to BaconBrain:

    I want to take a moment to respond because I had similar questions about recovery and couldn't find much information anywhere. I have no medical training, and of course everyone's body is different, but this is my experience and the lessons I learned. I had a mtb accident over a year ago now and it turned out everything aligned just right to produce a really severe injury to my elbow. I fractured my radial head, broke a chunk of bone off my coronoid process, shattered the surface of my radial head (probaby the worst part) and did a bunch of ligament damage via elbow dislocation. After getting 2 incomplete diagnoses I got into an orthopedist, got a CT scan and discovered the severity of the injury. Surgery, 1 screw, several pins, barely dodged a plate. I was partially immobilized (half cast thing) for 2 weeks, and completely immobilized (full cast) for 2 more weeks. My range of motion out of surgery was pretty poor. Probably 30 or 40 degrees total motion flexion to extension and almost no mobility pronation/supination.

    I was very frustrated initially in PT. My mobility was not coming back at the rate I needed it to. I'd never been to physical therapy before and didn't really know what to expect. ONE key point is, not all physical therapists are created equal. My first one was bad. This injury needs a lot of hands on PT work. If you have the flexibility, switch PTs if you are not completely satisfied with the care you're being given. I switched once I began to realize the sub-par care I was receiving and wish I had switched even earlier.

    Before I go further into my case, I'll make a couple points. If you were injured in October, you're still within a period where you should be able to make some significant progress on your mobility. You're also far enough after the injury where you should be really aggressive with your stretching. Your PT should be pulling you off the table when yanking on your arm. If JAS is not available in Europe, try getting a Dyna-splint or similar device. I am SURE something like that is available in Europe. Don't take no for an answer. This is your health and it's time to be aggressive. As mentioned above, trying contacting JAS directly.

    I probably should have documented my progress myself, but roughly speaking, about 8 weeks out from surgery my mobility was somewhere around 45-50 degrees extension and 115 flexion. My pronation/supination was slightly improved, but still pretty bad. I got a JAS splint for extension/flexion and continued PT for around 3 more months. 2 or 3 months later I'd managed to get my extension around 5-10 degrees and flexion maybe 135-140. Pronation/supination was somewhere around 80-75 degrees or so. It got better a few degrees a week, and not always steadily.

    After the 5 month mark or so, I made some small improvement in mobility, but not a lot. I actually used a pronation/supination JAS device for several months after that.

    My advise is to do AS MUCH stretching as you can tolerate during the first 6 months as this is the most opportunistic time for regaining motion. I think I made the mistake early on of trying to do too much and getting too sore. Learn where your body's limit is and go to it as much as possible (however, I'd error on doing too much over too little) I probably put in at least 5 hours of focused stretching daily, and additionally would turn my wrist or stretch out my arm while doing other things throughout the day. I was told multiple times that the elbow is notorious for laying down lots of scar tissue and getting stiff. My doctor did not expect me to regain as much mobility as I did. Don't give up, and make sure you act such that you won't regret not doing more when you had the chance.

    Also, I encourage you to get support from friends, family, etc. I know my elbow is a far cry from what it used to be even though the mobility has come back reasonable well. I just did too much damage to the integrity of the joint. However, hopefully your injury is not as severe and/or your body recovers better and you may recover almost fully. Regardless, it can be a difficult thing to deal with, especially if you are a n extremely active person like myself and you depend a lot on your physical ability for your mental well being (or even employment), etc. For me, I've been a pretty careful guy, but made one bad decision that caused me to wreck, and had some bad luck regarding how I landed and the injury I incurred. It has not only been a struggle physically, but also mentally to forgive myself, to accept my injury, and move forward. A lot of people think a broken bone is just something you slap a cast on for a few weeks and then you're good to go. So reach out and get the support you need - I'm not saying you have to go crying in someone's arms, but a little empathy and some encouragement from someone can go a long way.

    Good luck, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

  25. #25
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    Jeesuz, dude

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisdabiker
    Hm, I dented the tip of my radius a bit and my doctor installed this beauty!



    They call it an "external fixator". Really shook 'em up at the register when I reached for change. Not much fun when you bump into things tho. That was three years ago and I'm around 90% strength and flexibilty and can ride all day without thinking about it. There were some tiny pins under the skin to hold the small pieces in place but it all came out after six weeks, no hardware stayed in.

    -c
    Yow! I didn't take any pictures of my hand when it was all swollen but your pic sure brings back memories! The plate I have in my wrist is really a new thing maybe in the past 5 years and that external fixator jobbie you had was standard proceedure back in the day. Glad you can ride all day without thinking about it. I'm a little more than five months from surgery and I think about going up and down stairs.

    What did they do under that scar on top?

  26. #26
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    The plate I have in my wrist is really a new thing maybe in the past 5 years and that external fixator jobbie you had was standard proceedure back in the day.
    Actually, for my injury this was the only solution. He described the tip of my radius as being "oatmeal" and the only way it was going to heal was to seperate it from my wrist bones. The fixator held the two bones apart allowing the radius to heal. The scar on top was where he went in and reassembled the bits and then skewered them with tiny pins to hold them in place. The pins were cut off short and the skin sewn closed over the top. After the six+ weeks, seems like it was closer to seven or eight, he used a knife to make a tiny slit and then pulled the pins out with pliers. The fixator pins simply unscrewed.

    This was my second bad bone breakage and I will agree with the advice you got to 1) Work on your flexibility every chance you get and 2) If you over exercise or over stretch you will take several steps backwards and could make the final outcome worse.

    -c

  27. #27
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    Interesting info from your post

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisdabiker
    Actually, for my injury this was the only solution. He described the tip of my radius as being "oatmeal" and the only way it was going to heal was to seperate it from my wrist bones. The fixator held the two bones apart allowing the radius to heal. The scar on top was where he went in and reassembled the bits and then skewered them with tiny pins to hold them in place. The pins were cut off short and the skin sewn closed over the top. After the six+ weeks, seems like it was closer to seven or eight, he used a knife to make a tiny slit and then pulled the pins out with pliers. The fixator pins simply unscrewed.

    This was my second bad bone breakage and I will agree with the advice you got to 1) Work on your flexibility every chance you get and 2) If you over exercise or over stretch you will take several steps backwards and could make the final outcome worse.

    -c
    The way they explained my injury was sort of like yours but maybe more displaced: the end of the radius was pushed back AND up and was basically mush. They tried to "reduce" it (push it back into place) which is my new standard for pain even though I was highly drugged up at the time. Even though it went close to back into place they recommended the plate to hold it in place while it healed. I can see your fixator would appear to separate the wrist bones from the radius (as you've described). The pins that your doc put in there (and later removed) were duplicated by the pins in the plate I got. My doc said the bits and pieces were gathered up by my plate's pins and slowly brought back into place during surgery.

    What wasn't explained to me when they put my cast on (and was never brought up by me or anyone else) was the angle that my wrist was casted. In your pic I see your hand being held by the fixator at a down angle (and, yeah, pulled away from the radius). They bent my hand way down then the hard cast held it there for 4 weeks. When they took off the cast bending my hand backwards was impossible, but the JAS device and constant tugging twisting stretching has got that motion back pretty well, but not at all like my other wrist. I was always wondering why the heck they bent my hand way over and now I can understand, from your description. As I mentally peer down into my wrist I can see how scar tissue probably formed (my PT lady calls it "hard fill") in the spaces between the radius and the wrist bones and I'm now trying to break down this hf with my stretching.

    How successful I'll be regaining range of motion in all directions remains to be seen. I still work on all directions all the time (still under 6 months) but I need to reign in my desire in the gym to lift heavier. As I reach for a heavier dumbbell I say am I ready for this? then reach for the next lightest one.

    Forgive me for pointing this out but I used to shoot a lot of hoops, free throws 3 pointers etc and was pretty accurate. When I first put a basketball in my right hand about 5 weeks ago I couldn't even throw the ball up past the rim. Then a week later I could get it into the basket from 2 feet away. A week later from 5 feet away. Finally, 2 weeks ago I made my first free throw since July. Yesterday I made a three pointer, a heave that seemed impossible even two weeks ago. So, progress on the basketball front is always welcome. Now if the snow here in Colorado would just go away I'll see my how my handlebar feels on some gnarly rocky downhill.

  28. #28
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    I'm pretty happy with my range of motion bending the hand forward and backward. When the device first came off I was shocked to find my hand could not bend back - at all! It could bend down maybe 5 degrees but not up. It even made a "thump" sound when it reached the upward limit.The thing I still work on now is getting my palm to face straight up. Before the injury I never even thought about how a wrist works - there are two bones going in, when you turn your hand from palm down to palm up these two bones must essentially spin in relation to each other as they switch places.. Well, with all the scarring in there I no longer had the clearance for this. And if you try to force it, you're basically prying the two bones apart which is not going to do your healing ligaments any good at all. So I'm still working on it and getting better all the time. The first six months are important, sure, but that doesn't mean you should just give up after that.

    -c

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    palm turning up

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisdabiker
    I'm pretty happy with my range of motion bending the hand forward and backward. When the device first came off I was shocked to find my hand could not bend back - at all! It could bend down maybe 5 degrees but not up. It even made a "thump" sound when it reached the upward limit.The thing I still work on now is getting my palm to face straight up. Before the injury I never even thought about how a wrist works - there are two bones going in, when you turn your hand from palm down to palm up these two bones must essentially spin in relation to each other as they switch places.. Well, with all the scarring in there I no longer had the clearance for this. And if you try to force it, you're basically prying the two bones apart which is not going to do your healing ligaments any good at all. So I'm still working on it and getting better all the time. The first six months are important, sure, but that doesn't mean you should just give up after that.

    -c
    Yeah, we all take our parts for granted and give it no thought how they actually work 'til something goes horribly wrong. From what my pt lady said there's three points of rotation that can lock up (simplifying here). One is at the end of the ulna, which I fractured as well. Working on turning my palm either up or down, it seemed the sticking point was the right side of my wrist. I would hold a hammer and let the weight pull on the rotation both directions. But since the wrist would stop rotating I thought maybe the pain is telling me that's all there is at the end of the ulna but the other rotating points aren't getting worked on.

    So...she had me close my right fist, turn the right wrist as far palmupward as it would go, grab my right wrist with my left hand (palm down) and gently twist the lower right forearm towards the right palm up direction. I did that for weeks. Well, that's what did it. This stopped me putting so much pressure on the painful ulna and worked the rotation of the two forearm bones like you described as well as the rotational area at the elbow.

    I'm typing this one-handed because I have my JAS device on, but until I could turn my right palm down (worked on that direction in the same fashion) I typed one-handed with only my right pinky assisting.

    So I'm pleased with my palm rotation but still need to get my hand to bend backwards more. I'm not particularly looking forward to going OTB and landing on my palms!

  30. #30
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    I broke my distal radius a few years back - landed arms outstretched going OTB. Thought it was just a bad sprain at first. Rode 1.5 miles (downhill pavement) back to the truck, took some Advil and used a first-aid-kit type ice pack on it.

    I still thought it was probably a sprain when I met my wife for lunch but during lunch it started throbbing and really started to hurt so we went to the ER. Good thing we ate first. It took over 3 hours of waiting to be seen and x-rayed.

    Anyway, I had split it like a log - not quite mush as CDB described his but, yeah...like a log...split with a full-on hydraulic log splitter.

    Found my ortho through my insurance and got a second opinion. Both said I'd need plates and pins to fix it and it was speculated that I would need an external as well.

    Ended up with 3 incisions, 3 plates, too many pins and screws to count and somewhere in there had managed to damage the tendon that pulls the tip of my right index finger. The surgery caused me the absolute most excruciating pain I have felt in my entire life. When I came to hours later in my hospital room, the general anesthesia had worn off and I was on a morphine drip.

    Only problem is that morphine doesn't work for me - something that I found out only then because I'd never broken anything seriously up until that point. Morphine makes me nauseous and did nothing for the pain, so now I was in horrible pain AND vomiting uncontrollably. It took hours for my doc to show up and force the floor docs and nurses to take me off of the morphine and give me good old perkaset.

    Anyway, that was just the first surgery. The tendon fully ruptured later and the doc attempted to hook it back up in surgery #2 where he also removed 2 of the 3 plates. The tendon ruptured a 2nd time and surgery #3 was required to finally hook it to the tendon that pulls my middle finger. It was a long time before I didn't have to think about what I was doing for fear of accidentally burning or stabbing the tip of my finger.

    Throughout it all, I was in and out of casts and in and out of PT. I got most of my motion back and even for insurance, it still cost a fair amount for all of the uncovered incidentals. I have alot of tissue scarring inside my wrist and hand and I can feel the knots of scar when I massage my palm.

    Falling always sucks. I'm always afraid when I fall that I'm going to break it again or at minimum compress the scar tissue in sensitive places.

    Try to get gloves with thick padded palms and some sort of wrist support - modified roller blade guards or the like. I go back and forth about how much protection I wear in regard to where I ride.

    A mostly fireroad route will get the padded glove tratment only, technical terrain and/or rocky terrain usually gets both heavy glove and wrist guard.

    One side note about the wrist guards is that my wrists don't get as tired on long technical rides.
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  31. #31
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    What a story

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan'ger
    I broke my distal radius a few years back - landed arms outstretched going OTB. Thought it was just a bad sprain at first. Rode 1.5 miles (downhill pavement) back to the truck, took some Advil and used a first-aid-kit type ice pack on it.

    I still thought it was probably a sprain when I met my wife for lunch but during lunch it started throbbing and really started to hurt so we went to the ER. Good thing we ate first. It took over 3 hours of waiting to be seen and x-rayed.

    Anyway, I had split it like a log - not quite mush as CDB described his but, yeah...like a log...split with a full-on hydraulic log splitter.

    Found my ortho through my insurance and got a second opinion. Both said I'd need plates and pins to fix it and it was speculated that I would need an external as well.

    Ended up with 3 incisions, 3 plates, too many pins and screws to count and somewhere in there had managed to damage the tendon that pulls the tip of my right index finger. The surgery caused me the absolute most excruciating pain I have felt in my entire life. When I came to hours later in my hospital room, the general anesthesia had worn off and I was on a morphine drip.

    Only problem is that morphine doesn't work for me - something that I found out only then because I'd never broken anything seriously up until that point. Morphine makes me nauseous and did nothing for the pain, so now I was in horrible pain AND vomiting uncontrollably. It took hours for my doc to show up and force the floor docs and nurses to take me off of the morphine and give me good old perkaset.

    Anyway, that was just the first surgery. The tendon fully ruptured later and the doc attempted to hook it back up in surgery #2 where he also removed 2 of the 3 plates. The tendon ruptured a 2nd time and surgery #3 was required to finally hook it to the tendon that pulls my middle finger. It was a long time before I didn't have to think about what I was doing for fear of accidentally burning or stabbing the tip of my finger.

    Throughout it all, I was in and out of casts and in and out of PT. I got most of my motion back and even for insurance, it still cost a fair amount for all of the uncovered incidentals. I have alot of tissue scarring inside my wrist and hand and I can feel the knots of scar when I massage my palm.

    Falling always sucks. I'm always afraid when I fall that I'm going to break it again or at minimum compress the scar tissue in sensitive places.

    Try to get gloves with thick padded palms and some sort of wrist support - modified roller blade guards or the like. I go back and forth about how much protection I wear in regard to where I ride.

    A mostly fireroad route will get the padded glove tratment only, technical terrain and/or rocky terrain usually gets both heavy glove and wrist guard.

    One side note about the wrist guards is that my wrists don't get as tired on long technical rides.

    Yikes, multiple surgries AND complications! Thanks for the tip about the wrist guards. I'm actually kind of terrified of my first OTB this spring when I finally start riding again. My doc points to my wrist and says that if I were to break something down there she points above and below my plate and says, what's plated ain't moving. Somehow that makes me feel better but hard to say how much.

    When I had my only surgery I was given these options (of course, I'm laying on a hospital bed all freaked out about surgery anyway and signing form after form with my left hand): local anesthesia and be awake (NOT recommended they said): local anesthesia with a nerve block and be awake (better but why would I want to be awake, they asked?): and finally, local anesthesia, nerve block and be totally out (recommended by all). I was scared as sh!t about going under the knife anyway and being totally out isn't necessarily a given that you'll come back out. Decisions decisions. OK, all three. They switched the saline drip going in my left arm to some knockout drug (I didn't see them do the switch), the anesthesiologist was searching around my right shoulder for the proper place to stick his nerve block needle (because the bone was being worked on this would knock out that specific pain area for another 24 hours after surgery). I'm looking at him saying something
    like "is that the spot" when...I'm waking up from surgery. I look at the lady doc leaning over me and I say "already?" She smiles sweetly and I fell in love with her, but maybe that's always the reaction when you come out of surgery alive and your attending is as good looking as she was.

    Fortunately I didn't have to go through the unbelievable back and forth that you did with all the pain and morphine and multiple surgeries. Max dose of Vicodin for 6 weeks was my drug regimen and I never was in huge pain (not like before the surgery). I'm guessing you weren't out for the surgery? How are things at your distal end now? And give us a little more info about those wrist guards--are there different types for different protection, do they interfere with the whole hand/handlebar/shifting thing?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    Yikes, multiple surgries AND complications! Thanks for the tip about the wrist guards. I'm actually kind of terrified of my first OTB this spring when I finally start riding again. My doc points to my wrist and says that if I were to break something down there she points above and below my plate and says, what's plated ain't moving. Somehow that makes me feel better but hard to say how much.

    When I had my only surgery I was given these options (of course, I'm laying on a hospital bed all freaked out about surgery anyway and signing form after form with my left hand): local anesthesia and be awake (NOT recommended they said): local anesthesia with a nerve block and be awake (better but why would I want to be awake, they asked?): and finally, local anesthesia, nerve block and be totally out (recommended by all). I was scared as sh!t about going under the knife anyway and being totally out isn't necessarily a given that you'll come back out. Decisions decisions. OK, all three. They switched the saline drip going in my left arm to some knockout drug (I didn't see them do the switch), the anesthesiologist was searching around my right shoulder for the proper place to stick his nerve block needle (because the bone was being worked on this would knock out that specific pain area for another 24 hours after surgery). I'm looking at him saying something
    like "is that the spot" when...I'm waking up from surgery. I look at the lady doc leaning over me and I say "already?" She smiles sweetly and I fell in love with her, but maybe that's always the reaction when you come out of surgery alive and your attending is as good looking as she was.

    Fortunately I didn't have to go through the unbelievable back and forth that you did with all the pain and morphine and multiple surgeries. Max dose of Vicodin for 6 weeks was my drug regimen and I never was in huge pain (not like before the surgery). I'm guessing you weren't out for the surgery? How are things at your distal end now? And give us a little more info about those wrist guards--are there different types for different protection, do they interfere with the whole hand/handlebar/shifting thing?
    As far as I remember, I wasn't offered a nerve block. That could be why I was in such excrutiating pain. When I broke my collarbone 2 years ago, I was offered a nerve block for that surgery and felt much better during the recovery time.

    However, the difference between the 2 is that the pain I felt while my collarbone was broken (before surgery) was like huge electrical shocks every time the bone fragments shifted and rubbed against each other and into the nearby tissue. After the surgery, the parts were all held in place by a huge rod that also straightened out all of the other mechanics of my shoulder.

    Back to wrists:

    I don't remember what the nurses looked like; whether they were angels or devils. I just remember the pain and being groggy and sick. I was probably slurring my words or something but I couldn't get anyone to help me and it seemed like forever before I had pain relief.

    What the doc told you about the plates may be somewhat true. The bone under the plates will be made up of new, dense bone. However, the screws and pins holding the plates can come loose and when they back out can cause damage to tissue, muscle, etc. Even as far as poking through the skin from the inside. I had a couple that did that and were removed in surgery #2.

    I recommend that if you can have them removed that you do so. I'm no doctor but my experience (and what I've heard from riding friends) shows that handlebar vibration can cause pins and screws to loosen. I had the rod from my shoulder removed, too.

    Everybody makes different wrist guards. Fox makes gloves with wrist wraps - I haven't tried them yet but they don't seem to have the padded/armored palm like the gloves I usually wear. Every sports shop has rollerblade wrist guards. I found a pair that the plastic supports were removable but the shell was still durable enough to provide some protection and support without getting in the way of shifting and braking. I went through 3 pairs before I found them.

    They do stretch the glove farly tight so I went with a size up on the gloves. That also works when I want to wear my neoprene gloves underneath for wet/cold weather riding. The neoprene gloves I have don't have any palm armoring but have plenty of warmth. Obviously, I don't wear all 3 together.
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  33. #33
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    Non-removable pins here

    Mine is a plate that has a set of screws attached to it that attach to the radius along the length of the plate and a bunch of them at the distal end that when rotated pulled everything back into shape (so they tell me). I asked them about the screws pulling out but was told again and again that the bone has solidified around the pins and it's basically one structure now. Time will tell. And it's in there forever.

    One lesson here is when I'm offered a nerve block again I'll just say yes. So many decisions just a few moments before surgery, but the anesth. guy was very insistent that I get the nerve block and I guess you now wish you had been offered it. The pain I had when they were trying to "reduce" the end of the radius two days before surgery was unbelievable--if that's what you were going through there's no words to describe it. As far as your misery after surgery, that really sucks but that wasn't my experience. Mine was positive from start till my buddy was guiding me outside the hospital that night. And the attending who was smiling at me almost felt like I was in an episode of "Scrubs" and it was Elliot who was taking care of me. I'll be sure to ask for her next time I'm in there.

    I'm going to start my search for the perfect wrist brace today. I'm not going to be needing it for at least a month (it's snowing as I write this--seventh weekend in a row, but that's another thread) so I'm going to hit all sports stores to find one that works as well as the one you're using. Thanks for the advice.

  34. #34
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    My broken wrist in the seventh month

    after surgery. I've been hitting the weights heavier and heavier (although about 1/2 where I was before I fell). It's so liberating feeling myself become strong again. I bought a wrist brace
    but haven't ridden with it because I feel so non-paranoid without it. The key fact here is that I CAN ride. I never was that ballsy a rider, you know, DHing like a sumb!tch, but I just didn't know how I'd feel mentally when back on the bike. Trails have cleared up enough here on the Front Range of Colorado (although it's snowing as I type this) so that I can get out and test my wrist. I'm surprised I'm not more scared of crashing but I didn't break my wrist on a bike, anyway, it was falling off a freakin' ladder. I sure don't want to go OTB, though.

    I'm going to Moab middle of March and we'll see about paranoia and pain then, but I am so grateful that I can even plan a trip like this (a twice-a-year trip for the past 10 years). I'm using my right hand normally, even though the strength isn't all back. I have to remember to tell guys who I'm gonna shake hands with "don't squeeze!". If I don't, most dudes want to crush my hand in some macho handshake and that really hurts! Otherwise I can do all the things I used to do (like opening cans in the kitchen) so my life is more or less back to normal. I still do PT to stretch my hand backwards but, considering the nature of my break, it's doubtful that's gonna come back. Hope it does, but no progress in that direction in the past two months. I can use my right hand to receive change in a store and type on this here keyboard normally, although I tend to mouse with my left hand to keep the fatigue at bay. Using my left hand a lot is something new but, hey, whatever works.

    Anyway, this is my first real big breaking of a body part and it's been a learning experience. I wish it hadn't happened but I'm satisfied with the progress I've made. Sheeit, I could have hit my head when I fell and still been in a hospital bed drooling with a closed head injury--but I'm coherently typing this post and planning on Moab. Life is good.
    Last edited by xcguy; 03-05-2007 at 11:27 AM.

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    Back from Moab

    It's kind of weird posting now that I'm through my dark hours and leading a fairly normal life, but I'm doing this for my fellow riders out there who are just entering the recovery phase and wonder WTF can I look forward to?

    I went to Moab thinking I'll take it easy and see what comes. I played the wuss and walked a lot of sections I've always ridden but my wrist/hand never hurt me so much that I had to call a ride short and head back. Even now as I type this my hand doesn't hurt. It still doesn't bend backwards like before but at least I know, now after about 8 months after surgery, that I can ride fairly pain free. Keep optimistic, those of you who are currently f!cked up--it'll get better with time.

  36. #36
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    ...

    It is nice to see some positive experiences from a wrist injury. I did mine almost two weeks ago. Galieazz fracture. Broken radius and dislocated distal radial ulnar joint (wrist). Surgery, plates, screws, and pins to stabilize my joint. I got my above the elbow splint off yesterday and am working on getting my flexion/extension back in my elbow. Pins come out in 5 weeks - then rehab begins. I am in a cast from my elbow down right now; so no wrist movement at all. I am concerned, but hope that I will come back 100%. Three years ago I tore my ACL, LCL and meniscus and came back from that just fine. Doc says that he would rather have my wrist injury over an ACL anyday, but I am not so sure just yet. Right now I feel like I will never come back the way I was. I have the bar exam in about 3 and a half months. Will I be typing with both hands by then? Thanks in advance for the replies and encouragement...

  37. #37
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    Hang in there

    Quote Originally Posted by drboudreaux
    It is nice to see some positive experiences from a wrist injury. I did mine almost two weeks ago. Galieazz fracture. Broken radius and dislocated distal radial ulnar joint (wrist). Surgery, plates, screws, and pins to stabilize my joint. I got my above the elbow splint off yesterday and am working on getting my flexion/extension back in my elbow. Pins come out in 5 weeks - then rehab begins. I am in a cast from my elbow down right now; so no wrist movement at all. I am concerned, but hope that I will come back 100%. Three years ago I tore my ACL, LCL and meniscus and came back from that just fine. Doc says that he would rather have my wrist injury over an ACL anyday, but I am not so sure just yet. Right now I feel like I will never come back the way I was. I have the bar exam in about 3 and a half months. Will I be typing with both hands by then? Thanks in advance for the replies and encouragement...
    During my dark hours just after my injury I was full of all the doubts you're going through. But your injury is not my injury or anybody else's so I can only speak for me. I never had an above-the-elbow cast but I did have to work a lot on my hand turning palm down palm up, and it finally came back 99%. Once you get your cast off you'll be weak as heck, stiffer than a board and wonder WTF is going to happen. Well, after the swelling goes down and the pain subsides you'll be able to start teaching your hand to be a hand again. I believe you will be typing in 3 1/2 months but you have to be able to turn your hand palm down so work on that a lot. That was very important to me.

    I just got back from Moab again and the wrist didn't hurt me this time either. I'd bought a wrist brace but never wore it. I'm able to work on my strength in the gym more and more without fear of re-injury so that's a relief. I'm in my eighth month after surgery and very pleased with my recovery.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by stripes
    Which fox gloves with added wrist protection do you recommend?
    Yeah, im curious too. I read that the EVS wrist brace is pretty good, would anyone recommend that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by stripes
    Which fox gloves with added wrist protection do you recommend?
    This was the pr I was referring to although I have no knowledge of fit or how well they work:

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  40. #40
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    Gloves to protect your wrist

    I researched getting a wrist brace to wear while recuperating, but I found varying opinions, mostly: if you wear a brace on any part of your body, the stress of a crash is displaced to some other part. As my pt lady said (as she pointed to about a 6" section of my wrist) if I was in a car crash my bones would break "here and there but not (where I now have my metal)". A ski instructor said on some other forum that he always recommends wrapping the recovering part with an elastic bandage to help support it but not to absolutely isolate it from the stresses of a crash, which you'd do with a full-on brace. Since I didn't incur my injury on a bike I didn't have the paranoia of falling (from a bike crash) again, but sure I was more cautious. And I still am. About those gloves in the picture--I have no opinion, sorry. I never wore the wrist braces I bought nor did I wrap the area. I just rode real slow.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  41. #41
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    A couple more thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by stripes
    Thanks. I'll keep that in mind about the braces. Maybe wraps are a better idea.. Here's the latest news.

    The good news is there is minimal bruising and the doctor was quite surprised at how much the swelling has gone down. I've been walking the track in the evenings, and I completely changed my diet.

    Surgery is confirmed for Thursday. The doctor's not sure he's going to use an external fixator now after all. The two possibilities are:

    1) if there's enough bone in the fragments to hold the screws securely, they'll piece everything together and then cast the arm up to the elbow
    2) if there's not enough bone to hold the screws properly and there's a risk of slippage, he'll supplement the screws with the external fixator and a splint

    Both have pros and cons. The cast is less maintenance but (as those who have had casts can attest to) the smell and the itching can be a bit of a hassle. The external fixator supposedly heals as fast or faster than the cast but has to be cleaned properly twice a day to prevent infection.

    The surgery is scheduled to be ~2.5 hours. The worst part is that I can't eat or drink anything (not even water) for 10 hours prior to the surgery. For those of you who have seen me skip a meal, you'll understand why this is the part that concerns my husband most.

    I'm going to be on pain-killers and anti-inflammatories for most of the weekend.

    Wish me luck..
    I was cast only up to my elbow and thank god for that because at least mentally I knew I was keeping my range of motion through my elbow. The cast didn't itch as bad as I thought it would (had to put a plastic bag over it with a rubber band to close the end of it while showering). Just before surgery the anesthesiologist asked me what kinds of drugs I wanted and mentioned the nerve block. Since they were going to affix that little chunk of metal to the bone he strongly advised it and I've heard from others who either weren't offered the nerve block or refused--well, they wish they'd had one. As it is the nerve block specifically knocked out the pain at the bone for another 24 hours after surgery and that was a good thing. The not eating was not as bothersome as the not drinking at all (it was 97 degrees the day of my surgery and it wasn't till 5 pm). They gave me a saline drip at pre-op which helped a lot. Of course, they switched the drip to the knock-out drug while I wasn't looking--and I woke up in post-op, just like that! I was on Vicodin for a month after surgery (I guess more than a month) so being medicated probably helped my state of mind. Just re-read this entire thread for other answers to your questions or just ask here again. Good luck and remember--as you enter the hospital--just let go. And practice your signature with your good hand now because you're going to be signing a few documents in pre-op.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  42. #42
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    I just re-read this thread

    My wrist break was last August and now it's 13 months later. I'd put out of my mind how inconvenient being injured and one-handed was. I now do all the things I used to do (except my basketball skills suck--it's like shooting hoops with someone else's hand), I ride pain-free. I never wore a wrist brace. I lifted very lightly at first (starting at maybe 5 months after surgery) and finally started lifting heavier about a month ago, going for strength and bulk. The wrist is painful but just enough to remind me of the damage that occurred in there.

    I can bend my hand down about 95% of my left, but backwards it's only about 75%, but that's enough to do everything like before. Haven't tested it going OTB, though. I say to myself all the time--Make a fist make a fist--when I do eventually go OTB. The tingling I had in my fingers went away completely. I CAN make a fist (that took a long time to stretch the fingers out--both directions). All in all I'd say I've "completely" recovered but I sure do wish it'd never have happened.

    On my sisters advice I started watching "Scrubs" the first week after surgery. Even though I laugh all the time at the humor, "Scrubs" has some poignant moments that I could really appreciate--I guess you'd have to be injured and been through surgery to see that side. Anyway, I just watched the Scrubs musical a few days ago and I have to say I got all choked up when the lady who heard singing was just about to go into surgery. She's saying "what's going to happen? Am I going to be OK?" and the nurses and doctors are singing "you're going to be OK" Then BLAM she wakes up from surgery and she's OK.
    Well, folks, that was EXACTLY how it was for me (minus the singing). It was so real seeing it in Scrubs, so close to my experience.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  43. #43
    my body breaks the falls
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    She's saying "what's going to happen? Am I going to be OK?" and the nurses and doctors are singing "you're going to be OK" Then BLAM she wakes up from surgery and she's OK.
    Well, folks, that was EXACTLY how it was for me (minus the singing). It was so real seeing it in Scrubs, so close to my experience.
    LOL! Thank goodness for anesthesia That really is how it happens if you're lucky enough to get a good anesthesiologist and don't have a bad reaction. Otherwise....

    I recall yapping away at the folks in the OR. I couldn't shut up. Then I noticed they were all standing there, arms crossed, staring at me and looking bored. The light went on in my head "Ohhh... you're all waiting for me to fall asleep!" The doc says "Your arm will feel a little warm." Another couple minutes, more funny/smart-assed remarks from me and I see they're still standing with crossed arms. "It's gonna feel warm again, isn't it?" That one did it. Before I could say goodnight I was out like a light. Woke up suddenly two hours later with no pain, no recollection of what they did to my once slender and fully functional wrist and not a care in the world. Unfortunately all the good stuff wore off about 8 hours later.

    I get to have the screws removed in a few days. How bad do y'all think this will hurt? Is it a quick process, or a slow grind? We're going outpatient with no sleep, so I need to know if I should just bring some bullets to bite on or ask for the really good oral pain meds.

  44. #44
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    I used a JAS device

    Quote Originally Posted by stripes
    How long before you got back the majority of your ROM forward and back? It's taking me forever to get the backwards motion.
    which statically locked my wrist backwards for a few minutes, then I dialed it more pressure, waited five minutes, dialed it more...this went on for months. You know about these, don't you stripes? A lot of docs/pt folks don't, mine did. I got what was possible, which isn't like before, but, hey, I'm happy with it. It started a few weeks out of my cast. Four months doing the Jas thingy, three times a day for a 1/2 hour each time...the last month I was hoping for more but that was it. I'll post pics of the comparison between my left (good) and right (compromised) later. I can't imagine getting what I did back without it. I always had 90% of my forward movement (even though I did sometimes do the JAS device in that direction) thank gawd, because that would have been a total of 3 hours daily for each direction for four months if I'd had to work both directions equally.

    The first six months is when you have to work on it hard. Good luck.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  45. #45
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    OK, the pics I promised...hope this doesn't worry you

    Uninjured left wrist. That's all the backwards motion I have normally.

    "Healed" right wrist. I'm glad to have this much backwards movement. This was what I got after 5 months of working real hard on it with the JAS device and pushing it back while stopped at lights while driving.

    Check how your good wrist moves when your hand is going backwards. Right above your wrist, on the topside of your hand, is where there's a bunch of bones that sort of articulate over themselves at the very fullest of bending it back. Well, all those bones got blocked with "hard fill" and when I push my right hand backwards it just stops CLUNK! and that's all there is. The left wrist wants to bend farther and doesn't just come to a dead stop.

    Three weeks before I fell off that freakin' ladder (my fault, I know, should had it placed steadier) I went OTB so suddenly I left my shoes behind, in a nanosecond I was vaulting off my outstretched hands, did a somersault off the trail next to a bunch of cactus. I vividly remember landing on my outstretched hands before vaulting into that somersault. I also cringe when I think of doing the same move now. I ride real slow these days.
    Last edited by xcguy; 06-20-2012 at 06:14 AM.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  46. #46
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    Here's xrays of the device they attached to my radius

    This was put in two days after my accident. It's over a year later and I don't even know it's in there. I thought I'd set off airport alarms (I take a pic with me to show them) but that hasn't happened.
    Last edited by xcguy; 06-20-2012 at 06:13 AM.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  47. #47
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    I'm bumping this thread up so it doesn't get lost on some back page

    I just reread this thread and it all came back to me, the injury, the surgery and my recovery. It's now about 1 1/2 years after my accident. A guy told me he couldn't trust his hand for about a year and half and I know what he was talking about. Only in the last few months can I lift in the gym without thinking about my right wrist. My basketball shooting is a whole lot better but I always did suck. I reach for things with my right hand now, but I do have a mouse on either side of my keyboard and mostly mouse with my left.

    I haven't said "don't squeeze" to guys wanting to crush my hand in a handshake (that's been for about the last three months). My hand doesn't hurt me riding, neither climbing nor descending. I guess you could say I'm fully recovered except I can't bend my hand back nearly as much as before but that's just the way it is. Overall I'm pretty happy.

    I thought my right hand would get colder than my left during the winter but that didn't happen. The disconcerting tingling I had in my fingers went away. I thought I would notice the metal in my wrist somehow but I don't. Unless I lean the underside of my wrist on something and the tendons rub against the metal, now that hurts. When I ride I don't think of my wrist at all, although my paranoia of going OTB remains. Life goes on.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  48. #48
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    xcguy, did it come back to 100% after all this time? My surgery was on 1/25, about 65% percent now, and the JAS is being ordered. Of course, my wrist is also hypermobile.

  49. #49
    Feeling a little taller
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    Quote Originally Posted by stripes
    I still mouse left-handed, but it's mostly to annoy my cow-orkers

    Seriously, I still mouse left-handed because I'm an engineer and my live my life by the keyboard.

    Do I trust my wrist? No, not yet. Does it hurt? Not nearly as much since I have the Thumbs of Death (my chiro) break down the scar tissue. ROM isn't as great I'd hope, but I think that's due to the exceessive scar tissue so I'll be working on it soon.

    I'm starting to use my bike wrenches with my right hand again, which is MAJOR progress for me. My dexerity isn't great, but it's getting better. My handwriting is bad, but it was bad before the accident.

    Weight training isn't too bad. I think I'm being too conservative with my wrist, but I'm comfortable picking up 40 lb plates at the gym again.

    I was able to ride 20 miles on Friday!! Not only was I able to pace myself (finally), but I was able to ride without any wrist pain. Still also afraid of OTBing.. more likely to fall sideways.
    I just passed the 5 year mark from having broken my wrist. I have 80% of my mobility back without having used a JAS device. I still have a lot of scar tissue in my carpal area and touch sensitivity at my incision scars.

    I used my mouse left-handed until a few months ago. Going back and forth between my wife's desktop, my laptop and my work desktop got to be frustrating so I finally switched it back.

    One of the other side-effects of the surgery and my complications is that my right thumb tires quickly and the SRAM thumb shifters especially would cause me pain on long rides when my thumb fatigues. I switched to Shimano finger/thumb shifters but eventually changed to the Shimano integrated brake/shifter lever combos. I have a Saint set on my Nomad and LX on my hardtail. They work great and I have no strain on my thumb.

    I have stopped using the wrist brace. It was never constrictive enough to have caused a potential injury to transmit to another part of the body but absorbed blows and spread the force along the length. I still consider the use to have been helpful - like wearing knee pads or elbow guards on technical trails to absorb the blow that would otherwise cause injury to the impacted area.

    I also don't worry as much. My riding has improved, as it would for anyone over a 5-year period, and so has my confidence. I know that if I'm riding a new piece of equipment or new tires or new trails, I take it down a notch but otherwise, I just ride hard and feel good about it.
    There are no stupid questions but there are A LOT of inquisitive idiots.


    Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay

  50. #50
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    So I am on the front end of this ordeal

    Went OTB about 6 six weeks ago on a short Sunday ride. 25+ mph on a downhill, too much air and not enough runout before the curve. Stopped myself with my left hand and... my face. Old enough (and enough riding experience) to know better, but 1/2 a second of thinking you are 21 instead of 41 is a bad thing.

    Crushed the end of my radius, smacked the bridge of my nose into a rock, which drove my sunglasses into my face. Broke my nose, profuse bleeding, man it hurt. My first though was, did I crush my face. Second thought was, my wife is going to be really p!ssed.

    Bystanders called 911 and my wife; EMS came and put a splint on me, made sure I was stable, and my wife drove me to ER. Got 13 stitches in my face in 4 spots, and a temp splint. Went to the ortho the next day, and he tried to set it (photos attached). No luck, so 5 weeks ago tomorrow, I had almost the exact same plate as xcguy put in my arm (x-ray looks almost identical)



    So I go tomorrow to get my PT orders; really glad I found this thread and the info on JAS gear; I will ask the ortho about it tomorrow.

    The ironic part of the whole ordeal is that I had ordered a new frame to build up right before the accident- it arrived the Wednesday after I went OTB. Been slowly collecting the stuff to build it up ever since; looks like it will be ready quite a while before me.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Mr Bacon Jr; 04-07-2008 at 09:54 PM.

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