Fractured scaphoid cast removal

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Hi,

I'd be really grateful if anyone out there could offer any advice/reassurance. I fractured my scaphoid 5 weeks ago and have had the cast removed today. I'm now wearing a wrist splint for another 6 weeks before being xrayed again.

I'm quite worried as I'm in agony, more so than when I first fractured my wrist. It's this normal? I have next to no movement in my wrist which is also worrying me. Being able to use it normally and carry out any kind of task/activity with or seems so far away right now.

Please help!

Jo

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Jo,

    I had my cast removed 11 weeks ago following a fracture to my distal radius near my wrist and have about 80% movement so far.

    When the cast was removed my wrist felt very stiff and sore with little movement- the orthopaedic consultant at the time of cast removal got me to try and move my wrist by placing my hands together in a prayer position but I found this agony and was very disappointed in how little movement I had.  I wasn’t even offered a wrist splint!  My arm felt really weird and numb following the cast removal and still feels quite weird now though movement has improved significantly.

    Have you been offered physiotherapy? I started physio two weeks after the cast removal and found it really good and encouraging.  I felt quite depressed after my cast was removed as I could do little for myself such as tying back my hair and doing up my laces but much better now - I’ve even returned to driving!

    From this forum I have learned that everyone heals at a different rate and patience is the key - I am not very patient and wish that everything could be normal again but I’m afraid that it just takes time!

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any other worrying symptoms you would like to discuss but physio is a great help!

    Take care,

    Vanessa 

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    • Posted

      Hi Vanessa,

      Thank you for your reply. I can't even imagine not having a splint after the cast removal, must have been really painful for you. It's good to hear you're on the road to recovery now.

      Was your hand a different shape when you had your cast off? My fingers and thumb appear crooked and my hand is still swollen. It's panicking me a bit.

      I haven't been offered physio yet, I'm guessing that'll be discussed after the next xrays. And I'll be jumping at the chance of it! I have zero movement at the moment and when I try to move it, the pain is unbearable.

      Jo

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    • Posted

      Hi Jo - after my cast was removed my fingers were really swollen and also my knuckles and the back of my hand! Swelling slowly receding after 11 weeks but still hindering me making a tight fist!  I also found that my little finger was sticking out to the side and really stiff even though this was not near the break.  Having a cast on throws up more problems with stiffness but my little finger is nearly back to normal!

      I have a slight numbness in my hand and wrist but doctor said that this was due to soft tissue inflammation pressing on my nerves and soft tissue takes longer than a break to recover.  

      I have now developed a shoulder problem as after my cast was removed I didn’t really know what to do with my wrist and arm and I was afraid to move it so I suggest trying to move your arm as comfort will allow but don’t overdo things.  I started physio two weeks after my cast was removed and found this painful at first but can see a great improvement to where I was.

      Hang in there - when is your next X-ray?

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    • Posted

      My little finger is sound that too! I think that the cast had been taken off pretty early (after 5 weeks) so I'm more sure whether I should try and start moving it yet or wait a few more weeks. How long was your cast on for? The doctor only told me to keep my fingers moving but I'm desperate to be able to start fixing my wrist. Not being able to drive or take care of my young nephews is getting me down.

      That's good advice about the arm, I've been getting shoulder pain and I'm reluctant to take my arm out of the sling as it's uncomfortable with my hand by my side. I'm back for more xrays in 6 weeks.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jo,

      My cast was also removed 5 weeks after the break- I don’t think they like to leave it on too long just so that you can get back to moving it!

      My first physio appointment was 4 weeks after the cast removal but the orthopaedic doctor at the time my cast was removed showed my some exercises to do and encouraged my to move my wrist.  Do you have any appointments with your doctor before the X-ray as 6 weeks sounds a long time to wait if no one is showing you how to move your wrist safely?  I was very reluctant to move my wrist at first but with encouragement from my physio I now have 80% movement whereas when my cast was first removed I could hardly move it at all!

      My little finger still sticks out a bit but is a lot better that at first - try and keep moving your fingers if you have been told to do so and also your arm as my shoulder is hurting more at the moment!

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    • Posted

      Hi Vanessa,

      I have no appointments between now and the next set of xrays. I maybe should have questioned this more but I think I was in a state of panic at the sight of my hand and unable to think straight.

      I was able to very slightly move my wrist up and down earlier, only a tiny bit but it moved at least!

      My hand is still not back to its normal colour, guessing that's linked to the immobility, was yours like that?

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    • Posted

      Glad to hear that your moving your wrist slightly- like you I panicked when the cast was removed and didn’t know what to do with my arm and ended up just walking around with my arm in the air!

      My hand is a slightly different colour to my other hand and I pointed this out to the orthopaedic doctor at the time but he wasn’t too concerned- I notice that when my arm is down by my side my hand looks a bit purple and mottled but so does my other hand but not to the same extent!

      I would query starting physio as soon as possible just to regain confidence in using your wrist and hand again.  I broke my right wrist and am still finding that I am doing most things with my left hand - I have to make a conscious effort to use my right!

      Let me know how you get on with your appointments and take care!

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  • Posted

    I’m so sorry Jo. My break is in my fibula so it is my ankle instead of my wrist that’s all locked up. I was in a cast for 5 weeks and have now been in my boot for a week and a half. It’s a slow process to get the movement back in the joint. The first day was terrible and I was barely able to move it at all. The next couple days for me improved and I was able to get some movement back although it felt tight and stiff. I’ve continued to move it back and forth (the only stretch I’m supposed to be working on at the moment) and although my range of motion hasn’t improved much in the last week, the tight feeling as I move it has lessened considerably. Unfortunately it’s one of those things that just takes time and the willingness to put in the work to get it stretches back out. Best of luck to you.
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  • Posted

    Hi Jo,

    I fractured my scaphoid last October. Had cast on for almost 7 weeks, then xrayed again, showed it was healing well, given a splint and then gradually started exercising it. When cast came off I had a lot of numbness and virtually no movement and felt safer once splint put on. Next morning I took splint off and tried to do some exercises, I honestly nearly passed out ! It felt so weird, like hand and wrist wasn't part of me ! It felt like i would never be able to use it again !Anyway I gradually worked at it, I did go back to clinic in New Year and they 're xrayed it and it had healed. Was given more exercises as I wasn't getting great movement and couldn't go back to my job as a support worker until I could use it properly, I broke my dominant side.

    Am happy to say, I went back to work mid Jan, it was weak still but has gradually got better and i use it normally now, I can carry heavy shopping bags in it and have almost regained full movement. It's the immobilization of joint that causes the stiffness and weakness and not the fracture itself. I still get a bit of stiffness in it but along as I keep moving it it's fine.

    It's going to be painful but I was told you have to push through the pain and work hard at it to get it moving, take pain relief before you start if necessary. Good luck

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      Sorry to hear about your problem - I also broke my wrist in April this year at my distal radius on my dominant hand and it’s been approximately 11 weeks since cast removal.  Still experiencing stiffness but not too painful but also experiencing weird numb feeling in hand and wrist! How long did your numbness last for?

      I’m attending physio which has helped greatly and hopefully back to work in September but recovery seems to be a long and frustrating process!

      Take care!

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    • Posted

      Hi ,

      Thank you for your reply. I can relate to everything you said there. I think it's come as quite a shock to me how long this process is going to be and I for a shock when I saw the state of my hand when it came out of the cast.

      Was your hand a different shape when you had your cast off? My fingers and thumb appear crooked and my hand is still swollen. It's panicking me a bit.

      I have no movement at the moment, I don't know whether I need to leave it a few more weeks to give it more time to heal before I try and move it. And stock up on the painkillers in the meantime!

      Jo

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    • Posted

      Hi No, yes my hand did look very odd and misshapen, including a lot of numbness, the skin was terrible, took about a week of soaking in bath and moisturizing to get it normal again and then it was like new baby skin !

      The scaphoid bone takes the longest to heal in the body once broken so I'm surprised your cast was off after 5 weeks. I had initial cast on for a week and then redone and on for six weeks. I used the splint on and off for 2 weeks after that. I still had swelling and sausage fingers initially so was told the more I moved it the sooner it would go down which it did.

      I think the way it's positioned when casted is very uncomfortable like you are holding a glass, I also think my cast was very tight too especially when swelling was going up and down, I kept wiggling fingers as told to.

      I also found it easier having a bath initially and trying to get movement in the water, the warm water helped.

      It will get easier eventually but was told no gain without pain, I really didn't think mine would ever be normal again !

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    • Posted

      I think the main numbness wore off quite quickly after I regained movement. I still have a reduced sensation though at tip of thumb, not completely numb. I think the cast was tight as when my hand swelled if I over did things not felt tight and sore and I would get pins and needles in fingers a bit, but once rested it would become more comfortable. I have a disabled son and a house full of animals so I had to carry on as normal as much as possible !

      I still can't seem to push up on that hand though like when you get up off the floor, or push against a wall, pushing the hand backwards is a bit uncomfortable but I can do everything else as normal now and wiggle my thumb around ok !

      How did you all do your breaks. I was running with my dog, he freaked out at another dog and I went straight over him, did this spectacular fall and roll, got up and assured everyone I was ok and carried on with our run. Then I thought this is actually painful to move and I can't grip the dogs lead so due to my work I had to get it checked asap, but thought it was just a bad sprain, was shocked when they said scaphoid was fractured in two places, thankfully was all aligned so healed ok.

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    • Posted

      I’m getting more of a reduced sensation rather than complete numbness but my doctor said that this could be due to soft tissue inflammation pressing on the nerves!

      It’s so annoying that that’s accidents can happen so easily resulting in a broken bone- I slipped on the wet grass in my garden when I went to feed the birds - I could see my feet slipping out from under me in slow motion and I knew that I was going to land with a thump! I knew that I had done something nasty even though my wrist wasn’t misshapen- my bone had to be manipulated back into place as there was too much of a gap not to do anything.

      I’m just trying to do my physio exercises at the moment - I have 80% movement and am working on strengthening exercises so hopefully I’ll be back to work soon!  Annoyingly now though I have developed shoulder pain from not moving my arm properly for so long!

      Take care!

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