Many wrist fractures are successfully treated without surgery. However, some cases require an operation to restore the bones’ typical structure, provide stability, and prevent further bone fragment movement. One of the standard procedures to achieve this is ‘open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) surgery, where the position of the broken bones is corrected and then held with a metal plate and screws to allow the fracture to heal. This fixation is designed to be strong enough to enable you to move your wrist within the first few weeks of surgery.
Caring for Your Body After Your Wrist Fracture Surgery
After your surgery, your doctor will refer you to a physical therapist who will instruct you in the next steps of your care. One of the first concepts you will learn about is the R.I.C.E. method of treatment:
Anyone who’s experienced an illness or injury knows the first recommendation doctors make is to rest your body. Follow the splint or cast care instructions your doctor gives you. If you have a sling, do not take it off unless your doctor tells you to. Be careful not to put the splint back on too tight.
Put ice or a cold pack on your wrist for 10 to 20 minutes. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next three days (when you are awake). Put a thin cloth between the ice and your cast or splint. Keep your cast or splint dry. Your doctor will be able to give you specific instructions.
Compression dressings, such as bands or gloves, can help reduce swelling and should be used when elevating your wrist. Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully so as not to cut off the circulation to your fingers by making the dressing too tight.
Prop up your wrist on pillows when you sit or lie down in the first few days after the injury. Keep your wrist higher than the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
Move your fingers often to reduce swelling and stiffness, but do not use that hand to grab or carry anything.
In addition to the R.I.C.E. method, it will be essential to maintain the range of motion in your elbow and shoulder. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend keeping your joints and muscles as healthy as possible during your recovery.
Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
If you are not taking prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
Recovery from wrist fracture surgery can take anywhere from six weeks to four months, depending on the severity of the injury and the type of procedure performed. For more information, please visit Physio2Health(the best physiotherapy clinic in Richmond Hill) or contact us at (905) 392-7000.
When Should You Call for Help?
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have new or worse pain.
- Your hand or fingers are cool or pale or change colour.
- Your cast or splint feels too tight.
- You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your hand or fingers.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
- You do not get better as expected.
- You have problems with your cast or splint. A Few Facts You Didn’t Know About Wrist.
They can be open or closed, intra or extra-articular, comminuted or displaced. The symptoms can include immediate, severe pain, numbness in hand, loss of colour to the hand/fingers and even possibly deformity of the wrist or protrusion of the bone.
They are one of the most commonly reported and commonly operated on orthopedic injuries. Many people fracture the distal portion of their radius bone each year. And because this injury can occur with such a wide variety of severity, treatment options vary significantly from case to case.
Some wrist fractures can be treated through simple setting and casting until the bone heals in its proper position. However, other instances require operative treatment with a full post-surgical wrist fracture recovery.
Exercises after a Wrist Fracture
We will write about some advice and exercises you can complete if you have had a recent wrist fracture. You might have just come out of a cast; many people find that they have quite a bit of swelling in their fingers and wrist at this stage.
We recommend elevating the arm above the level of the heart, which can help target this swelling. Also, techniques such as Tubigrip and massage therapy can be pretty valuable; if you want to speak to your therapist about that, they can give you advice. It’s common to find that the wrist is a little bit more painful once you start exercising. That’s why it’s essential to take the pain relief that’s been prescribed for you. Or, if you have any doubts, speak to your doctor about this.
Start doing light activities with your wrist and hand should be safe at this stage.
Here are some exercises that you can complete.
- The first exercise that we will do is start bending your wrist. So, if you want to rest with your hand on the table in front of you, rest on your little finger, and start bending the wrist forward and then backwards.
- If you start the second exercise with your forearm on the table with your palm facing down, start moving your wrist side to side as if waving to the floor. Keep your forearm still. Start by making a fist and stretch your fingers out; repeat this movement.
- With the next exercise, try practicing squeezing onto a sponge, holding it for a couple of seconds and then releasing it. For this activity, you could use a kitchen sponge, balled-up socks, or a stress ball.
- For the next activity, try practicing touching your thumb to each fingertip.
Each time go a bit further down the finger. Start the following activity with your forearm on the table, with your palm facing down. Practice lifting your hand over so your palm faces up and down again.
- The last exercise is bending and straightening your elbow. Bend your elbow, so your hand is touching your shoulder and straighten it back down.
We hope you found these exercises helpful any problems with them, please speak to a physiotherapist or your doctor.