Can't make a fist, straighten hand after wrist surgery 4 weeks ago

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Hi,

Would appreciate to please hear of others experiences.

Five weeks ago fell and broke my wrist. Shattered a few bones. Had a cast for a few days until surgery -4 weeks ago. They put a plate in my wrist. Then they put a short cast for about 10 days. On the 21st of July my surgeon removed my cast and put a bandage. Obviously my hand is swollen and at a position like the image i uploaded.

A few days ago i started occupational therapy and was given an orthosis. The therapist told me that my hand is at a bad position.

She told me that i need to have the orthosis and arm slong pouch on at all times.

With the orthosis on it is straighter but when i take it off i have to force it not to fall. I still can't make a fist and can't bend my thumb on its own. My hand is swollen.

Today, my wrist  and arm feel sore.

This is my dominant hand.

Is it ok that i still cant make a fist or move my thumb on its own? That my hand is bent? I am a computer programmer. How long till i will be able to type? In 3 weeks the therapist will start working on moving my wrist.

Thanks

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I broke my wrist 3rd May in cast for 5/6 weeks and out of cast now for coming up 8 weeks and I still cannot make a fist!!!  I am a pretty fit person so really fed up with this but from what I can gather we are all different and so I have to just put up with it and work hard on my exercises (which I do).  I have been driving again for 4 weeks and hard at first but now okay and typing for 6 weeks but still struggling to make a fist. My physio has told me that  I might have CRPS!!!! and could take two years to be 100% all I want to do is get back to golf but I know I have to be patient. I thought a couple of weeks ago I was on the right road but have taken one step forward and six back.

    Good Luck you are early days yet and I hope you are luckier than mebiggrin

    Regards Wendy

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    • Posted

      Hi

      Are you able to move your wrist? When typing is it difficult? Were you able to straighten your arm? Myy elbow is stiff and i can't straighten my arm. Can't you do some kind of tests to see if you have CRPS? Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Hi

      Yes I can move wrist a little sharp pain now and again but nothing I cannot deal with. Driving the car and typing was difficult at first but fine now except I need to use two hands for handbrake.  It's my fingers that are the problem and CRPS seemingly is hard to diagnose so I don't think there is a test as such. What worries me is that the use of my fingers won't come back and how long do you leave it!!!!!!

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    • Posted

      Isn't there a professional you can go see? It must be stressful!

      My wrist is sore and i can feel the plate in my hand and it brings me to tears. I have an orthosis on - did you also have or anyone else reading this and if yes for how long?

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  • Posted

    I broke my wrist 10th July and had surgery the following week. I had to get 4 metal plates into my wrist and carpel tunnel surgery!!

    A week after surgery when my stitches were out my arm was put into a splint which I still have on. Iv gone to physio therapy twice since as my surgeon wants me out of the splint asap!! My wrist is still quite bent, I can make a weak first and just about touch my fingers with my thumb but I can't straighten my arm to allow my palm to face upwards! The best I can do is put my hand sideways which is killing me!! The doctors said my injury mirrored one you'd get from a motorbike crash so I suppose I'm probably healing well considering but I'm so worried that i won't get full movement back!!

    I broke my other wrist 4 years ago and never had any of these problems! I was advised to stop making being my wrist as much and start using it normally as much as possible to allow it to strengthen and for blood circulation! My surgeon said if I don't start using it I'll be at a high risk of my tendons irrupturing!

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  • Posted

    Good morning Collie, I'm Shawn from New Hampshire USA. I couldn't help but reply to you as my wrist looked the very same as yours when I had my casts off just last Thursday after having a broken wrist from a motorcycle accident and having casts on for 6 weeks. I did not however, require surgery. My right hand is also, like you, my predominant hand and I am work as an online wireless support for a major company here in the states., so my job is typing, typing, and more typing. I was so saddened for you when I looked closely at your picture because of the swelling. I looked this way until 2 days ago. I had replied to another post, so I hope no one will get upset if I copy paste some info I shared with another patient. Unlike others who complained about their pinky finger, I too like you had issues with my...what I call my dead thumb, because that's what it felt like. I couldn't move it unless I used my left hand to help. All due to extreme swelling and very painful tightness from my hand, both top and bottom, up to the middle of my forearm at times. It's was so awful; I feel for you. Not being able to stand the pain anymore, 2 days ago I went back to my doctor complaining of severe swelling and pain. The following is copy/pasted from my other post from yesterday. "I want to stress to you how much of a different person I am today after he perscribed me 2 medications. The first is 4 mg of Prednisone for the swelling as well as 300 mg of Gabapenton for the pain. For the prednisone, you are supposed to take 6 the first day, then 5,4,3,2,1 for only 6 days. Having used this med many times before, I only took 1 last night at about 8 pm. I am also desperately trying to use them sparingly so they last longer. This morning, I awoke to such minimal discomfort and the swelling was down I would say a good 90% or more. I can actually fold my fingers and touch my palm for the first time in many weeks. I even picked up a half a cup of coffee today, also for the first time. I am not in pain, just a little discomfort. The tightness and swelling is so unbelievabley minimal, my family cannot even believe the difference this morning. As for the Gabapenton, I took 2 instead of 1 least night as well as this morning. I would highly, highly recommend this course of treatment for anyone suffering from terrible swelling." Today is day 2 and the swelling is down remarkably 95%! No pain, a little discomfort only. From 2 days ago having a wrist and hand as well as forearm appearing as yours did to today being able to wash glasses, wash my hair, hold a half of a cup of coffee is absolutely miraculous for lack of a better word. I continue to use soft ice packs on top and bottom for comfort. I can see my veins now and am able to move my thumb even! It's not perfect yet, but is a 180 degree turnaround from 2 days ago. Having had a lot of experience using the steroid anti inflammatory Prednisone, I know how powerful it is. I never ever expected it to work this well only taking 1 pill instead of 6. I wish you well with your recovery. I know it's been some time since your post, but I do hope this helps someone who might be experiencing the same swelling and pain that both of us have had. Regards, Shawn

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    • Posted

      Shawn,you were the only one who,it sounds like had a Dr. that knew what to do for this problem.I read your post a couple of days ago and was so happy to hear someone had good results. I called my surgeon today to ask for the Prednisone,of course he refused. Who was your surgeon and do you have a contact #? I know he cannot perscribe for me,but he evidently has had results with prednisone before or he would not have prescribed it.Are you still doing well?
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  • Posted

    Hi. I just had my wrist surgery also 2 weeks ago. And now my hand only can bend down at around 1 o'clock direction. Is it normal. I feel tight when bend down lower. Will it get better? I'm so worry. My wrist still abit of swelling. I'm going for physio once a week. Anyone can advise me.

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    • Posted

      Hi Janice, I was just wondering how you are getting on? I had a plate and screws op on a fractured distal radius 4 weeks ago. I'm still in pain and cannot make even near a fist or bend my hand back at all. I can't turn my arm so my palm can face up and when I try I'm in agony for hours. Have you got any positive news for me?

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    • Posted

      I am 2 months out from surgery, and still have tightness and swelling, and can't get near a fist or bend hand back. I insisted on seeing dr today (appt was for 1/26) & they did xrays, finding all looking good (to him!) He explained I am indeed tight, but that it is not unusual. He said some people swell more, some scar more inside and moretightness at incision, and some surgeries less difficult than mine are less swollen. He prescribed Celebrex, but said interferes with bone healing, but that mine are healed. I had plate and 7 screws with bolts. I have bad osteoporosis, thus the bolts. He ordered 6 more weeks of 2/week physical therapy. He assures me I am fine. Let me know how you are doing. I've also heard turmeric is good, & I've taken other supplements, but have run out and not getting more until I see how I do.Am continuing Calcium citrate and D3.

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    • Posted

      I'm almost 3 months from wrist surgery (10 screws and a metal plate, motorcycle collision) I can't make a fist and I'm near despair, any hope for me?

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    • Posted

      gmory - don't dispare.  I'm also 3 months post wrist fracture.  Apparently not as serious as yours since I had no surgery, but I still can't make a fist either.  Resisted therapy at first, then went for 4 weeks.  It definitely helped.  I think it will just take more time - probably several lmonths.   My newest problem is with thumb which will be surgically fixed soon.  Ortho missed a fracture there and it now needs repaired (by a different doc.)

      I do believe there's plenty of hope for you - but it obviously takes more time and patience than any of us knew.

      Hang in there!

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    • Posted

      Linda;

      I suspect my thumb may be fractured as well.  How did you get to the point where you suspected you had fractured your thumb?  What were the clues? What about therapy helps the most?

      Regards...George

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    • Posted

      George,

      When I first went to ER, doc said wrist was fractured in 2, possibly 3 places.  Went to ortho a few days later.  He said distal radius was shattered but didn't mention anything else.  Said the difference in older people w/ or without surgery is minimal so he chose not to do surgery.  Fine with me.  Put it in a cast which was SO tight, particularly around the thumb, I complained about it every week to no avail.  Week 4 put on a new cast which was unbearable.  Went back the next day.  He didn't even look at it but had his assistant cut the cast and wrap an ace bandage around it to hold the cast together.  Still very painful at the thumb.  Cast came off 2 weeks later and my thumb was contracted toward my hand and VERY painful.  I asked doc about it and he said "It was probably like that before and you just didn't realize it."  WRONG!  I am an amateur musician and now I could not use my hand to play instruments at all but I assumed thumb would improve. Didn't go to therapy for 2 weeks because I thought I could do just as well w/out it.  Finally went and therapist showed me several things to do to improve movement.  That did help my fingers (not perfect yet but much better) but did nothing for my thumb.   Went to a second ortho.  New x-rays showed what he thought was a healed fracture near the base of the thumb.  Said I have "extreme arthritis" and lots of spurs (I'm 73). Said thumb will not get better - probably worse - w/out surgery.  So I'm having a trapazoidectomy (sp?) in a couple of weeks.  Not looking forward to 3 months in a splint (much better than a cast though), but I really want full use of my hand again.

      I had no idea a simple fractured wrist involved so much but I honestly think my situation could have been handled a lot better and this surgery wouldn't be necessary.  

      I do think your sore, stiff fingers will improve but it takes a lot of time.  Therapist and doc both said it could take up to a year. ARGH!

      You might want to get a second ortho opinion.  If you think something is wrong, it may well be.   I will trust my instincts from now on and if it insults the doctor, so be it.

      Please keep us posted and I wish you the best in your recovery.

      Linda

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    • Posted

      P.S.   George, I still can't make a fist (3 months later) but am getting closer.  Hand still swells and can't get wedding ring on.  Hang in there!

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    • Posted

      I'm an older male (69 in October) and had multiple fractures of my left radius and I got surgery!  Before the accident I was lifting weights (400 pound leg presses, 240 pounds bench presses, etc.) and I don't see that ever happening again.  I've lost about 10 kilograms and my muscles have atrophied and honestly feel like I've aged 20 years. This is dreadful, 50 years of riding then bam a guy pulls directle in front of me and a collision at 45 MPH.  July 1st I was going on a cross country ride but now my bikes gone and I'm a different person. I'm so freaking depressed!  Thanks for the encouaging words!

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    • Posted

      I have distal radius fracture 2 months ago. Plate, screws. 

      After surgery i cant bend any of my fingers.i cant twist my hand to see my buttom hand side for today i can make fist, touch all my fingers with tumb..i can twist my hand 90 deg

      Still have little swelling on the ulna bone next to my wrist...not the repair one..Thats bone is only bend at injury time

      wrist is 45 deg movable down and up

      my advice...therapy and lot of extracise. Im runner/walker so i extracise my hand 1h everyday day when i walking in the park. Try to find good therapist who will help you..but good one. I dont have luck with good one yet

      For scar use lavender oil at the right time..best is young living essential oil

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    • Posted

      Thank You for the advice.  It's almost 6 months since the surgery and I'm pretty well convinced the wrist will never be like it was pre-accident but it is better.  Limited movement and remaining stiffness is a constant and does not seem to be improving anymore but we shall see!

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    • Posted

      After reading many of the comments/complaints it seems a lot of us are in the upper age range. I’m 71 and still working. One of the guys had the same Op and had no issues at all with his hand which makes me think that surgeons are making an almighty balls up of these repairs.
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    • Posted

      I am 3 months since my accident, I had the operarion week later with plate  and 10 screws. I am 68 I fell in my garden whilst pruning and not looking where I was going and tripped. Broke my radius in two places near to the wrist joint. I have persevered and can do my knitting now but do get more aches in hand and wrist. My movements are pretty good hand up 90% hand pointing down 70%. Fist is good. Strenght needs to improve, but can carry a tray. On a train last weekend, I managed to place my weekend case on rack over my seat. It was heavy but with best hand taking most of weight, I did it. My husband who is 71 had the same operation 30 years ago, he replaced all our decking this year, he says he never notices any pain, perhaps bit stiffer on cold days, but not pain.

      Maureen

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