Broken Radius and Ulna Styloid help!

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I fell over 5 months ago and badly broke my right wrist (Yes, I'm right handed!). I went to hospital where they diagnosed a broken Radius. They manually manipulated the bone back into place and I had an operation to plate the radius back together that day. All went well and I was sent away with a back slab cast for two weeks. Two weeks later I returned to have the stitches out and given physiotherapy.

A few weeks later my wrist began to swell, so I took myself off to a different hospital just to check everything was ok. They x-rayed it, and said the plate looked ok, but did I know that the Ulna Styloid was broken too? I did not! At no point did the original Doctors notice that I had broken the Ulna!

I saw my original Doctor, and he referred me to have further surgery to have my Ulna fixed with an internal fixation.

A few weeks down the line now and I am concerned with the lack of movement and the potential that the fixation will not work! Not to mention the pain and odd parts of my hand that have numbness!

Has anyone else broken both of these bones? Did the short time in the cast hinder the Ulna healing as well as the Physio that must have been constantly moving my Ulna?

Thanks!

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Richard

    Similar but slightly different method of reccery to yours - I broke my radius and ulna on 301/12/15. Fortunately this was identified on the x-rays. Back slab for a week and then back for k wires into radius (not ulna). Six weeks in a cast then 2 weeks in a splint.

    While in the cast I only had pains on the radius side where the k wires were (it was infected post removal so i think some of it was that).

    However its the ulna that has caused more issues during recovery and even now full movement is not there - it tends to lock at a certain point. I keep kn with the physio.

    I also did loads of the simple exercises when in cast again I think these helped (good radius / ulna fracture and you will see the sort I mean if you have not already seen them).

    Obviously the concern for yourself is the ulna not being stable for a period of time - from my own experience as long as you get good physio post cast removal / surgery then as time moves on and you continue this movement improves and pain subsides.

    Good luck !

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    • Posted

      Thanks Ian. They're not sure whether the styloid not being attached for so long is going to be an issue when it comes to healing, but we'll see... Can you turn your palm face upwards? This seems to be the major issue!
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    • Posted

      I probably have about 95% palm up movement back- palm down slightly less. I did think it would never return this far so I am pleased. Keep on with the the exercises.

      I also read on another thread started by Sally about someone using a parafin wax heater. I got one fairly cheap off ebay. Heated the wax dipped hand and wrist and it seemed to help pre exercises. Worth a look.

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  • Posted

    Hi Richard,

    Like you I broke both radius and ulnar styloid and had surgery to fix the radius but my surgeon didn't do anything about fixing the ulnar styloid. I was told that it is quite often left alone to heal without any fixation. Like you I was two weeks in a wrist brace then stitches out and started to exercise gently - not easy. I had numbness in my palm and all round the base of my thumb which gradually disappeared over about 3 months.  It was quite a nasty fracture as these things go.

    I'm now 9 months post fracture and have most of my mobility back in the wrist except the forward bend. My radius was not set quite properly and has a downward tilt at the end and this has made my recovery slower than normal. I could have surgery to have it broken and reset but I don't think I could bear to go through all the rehabilitation, pain and limitation all over again so may just have to live with it. I still have pain on the ulnar side going up into my hand when I do certain movements which put it under strain even now. I've had regular physio with a hand therapist as well to help. Also I have had four small lumps which have appeared in my palm which is apparently post-traumatic Dupuytrens - oh joy! 

    I was told that to get a broken wrist back to what it was (or the best it's going to be in my case) you're realistically looking at a year - sorry! 

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your detailed reply! I too have heard subsequently that they don't generally do anything to fix the ulna styloid, but it's the fact that they didn't even notice it! Sorry to hear about your complications, my wrist looks noticeably wider on both sides. Interestingly, you have also managed to answer another question that I asked my surgeon, but he didn't answer. I have a hard lump in the palm of my hand! Did they say what causes these? Thanks ☺️
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  • Posted

    Richard I had a distal radius fracture (right wrist, right-handed) about two and half months ago while climbing out of the back of my tractor trailer. I am 67 years old. I had surgery about two weeks after the injury, titanium plate and 8 screws. I go to therapy twice a week and see a very good hand therapist. My concern is that I still can't straighten my fingers out yet and I can barely lift a bottle of water. My other concern is, will I be able to return to work and be able to lift very heavy objects and climb in and out of my tractor like I did before the injury?
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