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3 Problems to Avoid After a Wrist Fracture

What Is a "Pinched Nerve" And Its Effective Treatment?

Challenges of Wrist Surgery

Distal radius fractures and the surgery that’s required can be very debilitating and can cause a lot of different types of struggles. 

Wrist surgeries can be complex procedures that are performed to address a variety of conditions and injuries affecting the wrist and surrounding structures. While wrist surgeries can bring about positive outcomes, they can also be associated with certain challenges and struggles. These include discomfort and limited range of motion.

Most surgeons, most hand surgeons might think this is relatively easy and most therapists might also think the same. If you’re here, it might be because you’re facing more of a struggle than others. If that’s you, if you’ve suffered a distal radius fracture and it seems to be taking longer than usual or you just have a lot of questions and concerns, stay tuned!

My name is Hoang. I’m an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist and today I’m going to cover some of the three biggest problems after a distal radius fracture especially after a fracture that has had surgery now not all injuries are created the same.

Some people, when you fall and you put pressure through your hand to catch yourself and it could happen in so many different ways. Car accidents that have had distal radius fractures, wrist fractures and the impact that it has through the whole arm so it’s not just here this part might break but it makes the impact to your elbow and to your shoulders right and the majority of time.

You break one bone and it might shatter into several different pieces and the doctors come in. They put plates and screws and put all those pieces together. Sometimes people will break this bone.

3 Major Problems to Avoid After a Wrist Fracture

These are three problems that you want to avoid after suffering from a distal radius fracture.

  1. Trigger Finger

One of the most common problems you see is that you can develop what’s called a trigger finger, so your tendon gets inflamed at a very particular spot and we have a pulley system.

 it’s a pulley and it holds our tendons down and when your tendon

becomes irritated and flames. It feels like a ball a knot and every single time you make a fist that knot pulls through, you know goes down through that pulley system and then when you open your finger it catches and it gets stuck and then you have to pop it out and every single time you do it.

It is irritating. it is one of the biggest problems after a distal radius fracture

if you’ve had surgery if you’ve been wearing a splint if your doctor decided

they wanted to put you in a cast even after the surgery and it sits there and it rubs right there you could develop a trigger figure so one of the biggest things is to not constantly work in the middle right that makes that problem worse. Talk to your therapist about what you’re allowed to do. One of the biggest things that you should know is that you can easily put your fingers through here, clasp your fingers forward, take your other hand, put it through and stretch these ligaments out.

Your metacarpal bones have five of them right one for your thumb. But we have little muscles in between and what happens after a distal radius is those muscles get really really tight as you’re trying to move and work your fingers so you start squeezing them together and these muscles get really tight, this one exercise of just clasping your fingers in between can stretch those ligaments stretch the heads of these bones apart and give those muscles a little bit of room to breathe and to move and reduce your risk of developing what’s called a trigger finger.

There’s so many different things that you can do, but the best thing is to talk to your therapist about how to avoid developing a trigger finger problem after a wrist fracture.

  1. Stiff Hand. 

If you break your wrist, You will experience hand stiffness because you will not be allowed to move for a while. but your fingers and your thumb though it might feel like it hurts or if you’ve had surgery it might feel like it’s pulling through the scar technically speaking you’re allowed to move your fingers and if you don’t move your fingers right away if you have a cast that’s too high this is your distal polymer crease when you bend your big knuckle that crease there it’s supposed to you have that crease because that’s where you’re supposed to bend right. if your splint comes too high and it stops you from moving all the way.

if your splint comes too high if your cast comes too high or if you just generally got really stiff right afterwards you can develop what’s called a stiff hand and that means that when your hand stops and your fingers stop

moving all the tendons get really rigid all the ligaments get really rigid and

all like the joints they get really really rigid that’s when a stiff hand develops and stiff hands are one of the hardest things to treat and get rid of they become very painful.

It becomes very repetitive trying to treat a problem that you didn’t have because you broke your wrist and you didn’t do anything to your hands so one of the things that you should do is learn how to fully exercise your fingers well. so that you don’t develop a stiffness in your hand.

  1. Shoulder Pain and Shoulder Stiffness

Shoulder pain and stiffness can develop for a variety of reasons, ranging from everyday activities and muscle strain to more serious underlying conditions. One of the biggest reasons why people develop shoulder pain and shoulder stiffness after a wrist fracture, is when you cannot turn your palm up and down. Your body is really smart and it starts to compensate. So check out your arm.

 If you cannot turn your palm up you will move your arm or elbow into your body and when you cannot turn your palm down very well, your arm will wing out. We see this from that big exaggerated pattern to a very small minute, you have to look for detail and when people cannot turn their palm up and down. It’s called supination and pronation.

What is Supination and Pronation?

The terms supination and pronation are used to indicate whether your hand, arm, or foot is pointed upward or downward. Supination occurs when your palm or forearm is facing upward. Your forearm or palm is pronated when they are facing downward.

if you can get ahead of these three major problems after a wrist fracture

you’re going to recover better faster with the less complication of needing a secondary surgery injection pills for pain.

Some people ask, is it possible to have full recovery and depends on your

fracture but majority of the time? the answer is YES, you can have really great results after having a fracture having surgery and not have any

residual problems afterwards but one way to get ahead of that is to make sure that you’re talking to your therapist and getting ahead of these three major problems.

Want to learn more about Wrist Fracture?

 CLICK HERE! to watch this YT video.

About the author – an expert in physical & occupational therapy  

Hoang Tran is a Miami certified hand therapist , the owner of Hands-on Therapy Services and the author of the book “The Hands-On Approach”. She loves helping people with hand, neck and shoulder problems because she knows how bad and debilitating they can get if not addressed and treated properly (once and for all!). 

The aim of her occupational therapy practice is to bring patients back to full functionality, without pills, injections or surgery. Occupational and Physical Therapy are both offered at Hands-On Therapy by our experienced therapists who provide a comprehensive approach to your care. 

If you or someone you know is living with:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Mallet Finger

Trigger Finger Or Trigger Thumb or any other hand or shoulder injuries, speak with one of our specialists for FREE by signing up for a 30-minute Discovery Visit.

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