Recovering from a Distal Radius Fracture wrist injury
Wrist injury from a distal radius fracture can be reset either with surgery (open reduction) or without it (closed reduction). The recovery process for both approaches are discussed below:
Closed Reduction Recovery
- After a closed (nonsurgical) resetting, the cast will be kept on for about 6 weeks.
- After the cast is removed, it’s normal for the wrist to be stiff for 1 to 2 months. For some patients—such as those who are older, have osteoarthritis, or were victims of a high energy break such as from a car accident— this stiffness may last up to 2 years.
- Patients may still be advised to wear a soft wrist splint at night for 1 to 2 weeks after the cast is removed to stabilize the wrist and help patients sleep better.
- Regardless of the approach used to treat a distal radius fracture, physical therapy is essential to the recovery process.
Open Reduction Recovery
- After a surgical procedure such as external fixation or internal plate fixation, a cast will not be necessary. Dressing will be applied until wounds heal and a splint is worn to stabilize the wrist.
- For an external fixation, the wrist will be in a splint for 10 days to allow pain and swelling to subside. The external fixator is usually removed at 6 weeks, and any additional Kirschner wire pins can be removed 2 weeks later.
- In the case of an internal plate procedure, the wound is dressed in a bandage and patients wear a splint for 6 weeks. The wrist should remain immobile for 1 week until the sutures are removed, but after that patients can begin mobility exercises.
- A course of physical therapy will be prescribed to help patients restore range of motion, decrease swelling, and rebuild strength.
Possible Complications of Distal Radius Fractures
Possible complications of a distal radius fracture wrist injury can include, but are not limited to:
- Malunion of the bone and continued deformity
- Residual pain and stiffness
- Compromised function or strength in the hand or wrist
- Post-traumatic arthritis in the wrist (particularly with intra-articular fractures)
- Injuries to nerves, tendons, other soft tissues
- Pin-site or incision infections
Most people who experience a distal radius fracture wrist injury are able to recover well and return to the full scope of their former activities.
The varying symptoms of wrist pain
The symptoms of wrist pain may vary depending on what’s causing it. Some people may suffer from a pain that they describe to be achy or dull while others may have a sharp pain that radiates locally. In addition to pain in the wrist, other symptoms may also develop including bruising and swelling. A weakness of the hand with numbness and tingling sensation might also occur when the pain is stemming from carpal tunnel syndrome.
These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may become worse with time. Also, the pain may occur while performing certain activities. As the condition worsens, the pain occurs even during rest. The feeling of numbness may be so strong that the affected individual will lose sensitivity to heat and cold and may lose gripping ability altogether.
10 tips to avoid Repetitive Stress Injuries to your wrist
Repetitive stress on the wrist can lead to a wrist injury, like tendonitis, bursitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Follow these tips to save your wrists from suffering from RSI:
1. Maintain a healthy body weight and a good cardiovascular system. An unhealthy body causes stress everywhere.
2. Stay flexible with forearm and wrist stretches.
3. Keep your hand in a natural position.
4. Set up an ergonomic work station.
5. Take regular breaks to relieve stress.
6. Change your position and posture regularly.
7. Use a proper sized grip for your hand.
8. When working with your hands keep them in the middle ground—not too far, but not too close to your body.
9. Do not flex your joints to the edges of your range of motion while working or driving.
10. Do not flex upward. The hand is designed to grip, so most muscle control and the joint range is aimed at a downward flex.
Plank like a pro to prevent wrist pain
It’s not just planking that can cause wrist injury; exercises such as push-ups, dips, and bear crawls require you to balance your weight on your hands and can also wreak havoc on your wrists. You can minimize your risk of injury by learning how to do planks correctly.
- Correct Positioning While Exercising – When planking, the shoulders & wrists must be aligned to avoid unnecessary strain on the wrists.
- Wrist Strengthening Exercises – Playing with a ball of clay for 5-7 minutes a day strengthens the muscles that support the wrists
- Wristband Support – A wristband support strap will keep the wrist joint properly aligned as well as provide support while performing strenuous exercises.
What to do with hand ache from excessive writing
Often when faced with mountains of paperwork, homework or even just sketching, your hands will undoubtedly start to ache. Here are some useful everyday tips you can use to stop this from happening.
- Take breaks – Take small frequent breaks in a long session of writing or sketching.
- Improving your posture – Practicing good posture when holding your pen will dramatically have an impact on how long you can write for without your hand hurting.
- Stretch your hands – This stimulates blood flow improving flexibility and reducing stiffness.
- Shake it out – After stretching each individual finger, it is vital to shake the tension out. This will help relieve any existing pain or irritation and help increase blood circulation, resulting in a more relaxed hand and therefore better posture.
- What pen do you use? – If you are using a pen for a long period of time, it is vital that you have a pen with a comfy grip and a sturdy barrel.
- Staying hydrated – Dehydration is usually the common cause of musculature cramps and pain. Muscle cramps can also be caused by lack of potassium and vitamin D.
- Angle of the paper – Getting the correct positioning of the paper is vital for avoiding arm or hand pains and cramps.
- Using the right pen for you – Everyone has a different opinion of what feels comfortable and what doesn’t. When selecting the right pen, you must keep in mind: budget, size of pen, nib size and cartridge capacity.