Loss of function

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I fractured my distal radius in may and have since been diagnosed with CRPS. I am finding I have very limited range of movement in my wrist and I cannot supinate at all ( turn palm upwards ) -and very very limited function in pronation flexion and extension despite twice weekly physio and occupational therapy. I am unable to return to work because if this and find everyday things difficult if not impossible. My question is - I just can't accept that this total immobility is due to the CRPS. Check x rays say the plate and screws are in the correct position and I am waiting on results if a CT scan. Does anyone have the limited/ total lack of mobility with their CRPS. Has anyone been offered oral steroids for treatment. I have been researching and there seems to be some positive outcomes for prednisolone in the acute stage.

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Vicky, I fractured my wrist [distal radius fracture and chipped ulna] on 29th September this year.  I did not have pin/plate as my break would not accommodate them, but I have been in excrutiating pain most of the time since. Finally, courtesy of my private physio who wrote to the NHS Consultant, I was diagnosed a week ago with CRPS. My wrist is completely rigid when it comes to reverse flex and I cannot turn palm up. I try to exercise a lot - including mirror therapy - but it is incredibly painful.  My fingers hurt all the time so bending them is extremely difficult, especially the pinky which looks like it's broken.   They are also constantly swollen, some times worse than others.

    Consultant prescribed Gabapentin, which although seems to have a positive effect on my anxiety and stress levels, does not kill the pain. He told me however, to also take Codeine and Ibuprofen but I am loathe to take too much, especially codeine as I find it causes brain fog.

    Apart from being unable to drive which has cut off my independence, there are many other day to day things that I just cannot do. Thank goodness my neighbour is my best friend and has been helping me out.

    I have been away from the office now for 7 weeks.  Although I was working from home, my employer has now stopped that and I am on basic UK 'sick pay' only.  They allegedly want  me to de-stress! However, as my current sick note expires on Wednesday I am going to return to the office on Thursday and see how it goes...

    Whether or not it is the CRPS that is causing the rigidity in my wrist I do not know. What I do know though, is that when my wrist was re-aligned [was done in Greece without any anaesthetic - not recommended let me tell you], the bones were too short.  So, I intend to discuss the rigidity further with my physio tomorrow and try and determine if the shortness is causing all the problems, or the CRPS. Although I have only been going to her for 4 weeks, there has not been any improvement in flex, so I am sure she will be able to give me her honest prognosis. I shall re-post when I have any definite information.

    • Posted

      Thank you for replying. I'm now 7 months post fracture with plate and screws and haven't had much improvement. I have gained a bit of strength and can now drive with an adapted handbrake and a two handed reverse motion. The swelling continues daily and feels like it's going to "pop" at times. Pain is fairly well controlled. Fortunately, I was on gabapentin already for the past 3 years due to prolapsed disc in my back so I think this may have dampened down the pain aspect of the CRPS which if there is anything to be grateful for I suppose that's it. My hand changes colour like one of those lamps from red/blue to pink to white and the temperature of it is unpredictable. Work is a nogo and I am

      Now on halfpay. My work is too physical to adapt ( district nurse ) and my future career after 30!years looks bleak. I still feel that there is something else going on and just hope this can be seen on the CT scan rather than being written off for "just the CRPS ". Please keep

      In contact and let me now how you get on. - Vicky

    • Posted

      Aaaaah thanks so much for replying Vicky.  At least my job can be modified as I am office based.  Good job, as basic sick pay doesn't cover my monthly outgoings! My car is automatic BUT I would not feel safe driving it right now due to lack of grip and non-existent left hand reflexes!

      Although my hand/wrist hurts at the moment,  I am still using 2 fingers on my left hand [as well as my right] to type this message so I should [should being the key word] be able to return to work.  Having said that, I would have to increase the painkillers to get through the day and therein lies the problem - brain fog and nausea!!

      I really hope they give you the CT scan VERY soon.  It's times like this that I regret so much that we can't all have private medical cover! 

      I shall update you tomorrow on what my Physio tells me about my prognosis...if I haven't jumped off the nearest high building!

      Bye for now and nite nite / Lyn 

    • Posted

      Hi Vicky,

      Just to let you know Physio thinks it will be months before I significantly improve, due to the lack of flex and the stiffness in my fingers.  Notwithstanding, we laughed all through the session and I came out of there feeling really good - nothing to do with the treatment but all about laughing.  Since then, I have felt far more positive about my situation although the excessive heat in my hand during the evening and 'sticky fingers', irritate me.  I am sort of devising my own treatments, i.e., for the hand/wrist heat I just go and put my hand under cold water for a minute or two and then wrap kitchen towel around it.  It seems to help cool it down reasonably quickly.  And last night, I covered my hand and fingers in 'Flexiseq' - used for arthritis. This morning I was able to bend my fingers - including my severely restricted little finger - much more than I have been able to in recent days. I didn't put it on my wrist as I was wearing a splint and didn't want to remove it but this afternoon and tonight I will use the flexiseq all over my hands and and wrist.  I can but try hey!  I will let you know how it goes re the reverse flex.

      I am also more positive after reading the post from SDGirl, as I will plan for a max 9 months before I can wear a watch again - albeit I had already set myself the date of my birthday in March which would be almost 6 months for me. I refuse to let this condition beat me, and I am continually telling that to my brain.

      I hope you are having a good weekend, and I shall let you know if the Flexiseq does work a miracle.

      Bye for now / Lyn

  • Posted

    Hi Vicki,

    ?I had the same break in March. It simply took a while before I regained range of motion. Has the swelling gone down? I'm just now getting to the point where I can wear my watch again.

  • Posted

    Hi Vicky.  I fell at work 18 months ago and it was diagnosed as a wrist fracture but now I am not sure.  The cast came off after only 3 weeks and at that point I had pain and swelling in my left hand (dominant hand).  I have been getting pain bloc injections in the neck every few months and they help but I still have almost no function in my hand.  Physical therapy was difficult to tolerate and was not very effective.  The doctor now wants me to try Lyrica and I am getting the first prescription filled today but I have been reading about the side effects and now I am not sure I want to start it.  I keep hoping I can find a doctor that really knows this condition and can actually help. Hang in there.    
    • Posted

      I think CRPS has very inconsistent patterns and no 2 people

      will have same symptoms. I often find doctors and nurses look

      oddly back at me as I explain a new symptom. They often

      give response that doesn't really answer your question. The

      aches and pains feel very unique, I think it is hard for them


      I too am just waiting to see what my condition has in store

      for me and can only hope the medics don't give up on me if

      treatment s don't help e.g. block didn't help me I don't think. I take

      lyrica and think the benefit outweighs side effects. Warning, treat

      it with respect and go up and down in doses slowly. I think my

      hand exercises help but this will take very long time to get back

      acceptable motion. I have recently joined forum, great to talk to

      others who's hands etc have been dramatically affected by CRPS.

    • Posted

      Hi Monkaygirl,

      thank you for your post. I did not know there was any meds you can take so I will ask the consultant at the hospital tomorrow if I can try it. Can I ask if you or anyone else has this strange hair on the affected part, the pain and hot and cold feelings and lack of mobility is horrible but I feel very self conscious about the hair, thanks 😀

    • Posted

      Yes Charley, I now have one lovely hairy hand and hair on one elbow.

      Maybe one day I will try to move but to be honest I keep it there as

      it can help me explain crps, especially people who might be

      sceptical about this condition. It helps give some visible sign

      to an invisible condition. I have an elbow locked at waist level that

      should be enough eh!! At moment hair is least of worries but that

      may change and one day will explore ways to get rid of it.

  • Posted

    Hi Vicky, am having mobility problems with crps also. Ruptured tendon and fractured finger last November. Had repair surgery but wasn't xrayed for 6 weeks and bone found to be out of one still. Can't have further surgery at present due to crps. 

    Twice weekly physio not helping much. Pain, mottled colour hand, no fingers bending.

    worried about the strange hair growing in fingers and hand, not on other hand, thought it was the steroids but told it was crps. Don't know if it will get better. Also had nerve conduction tests. Been put down for urgent Carpal Tunnel op couple of weeks ago but no date yet, 

    cant work or drive so have applied for P.I.P, had assessment, and am waiting for decision letter.

    Have you thought of applying for PIP Vicky ?

    • Posted

      Applied for ESA and after assessment turned down. You need 15 points to get it and I zilch. Report states I can compensate with the other hand!! Stupid system. Paid in all my life and have got nothing. In 3

      Months time I will get no money and having been turned down I won't get any either. Not sure what will happen then but I know I can't live on fresh air! I really don't know what to do. Life seems so unfair and really not worth it

  • Posted

    Hi Vicky, I suffer from rsd/crps in my left leg and foot from a auto rollover almost 3 years ago. I have very limited mobility in my foot. I cannot bend my toes, in fact I can't spread them apart and they hardly move. I have very limited ability to bend my foot up and down so I walk with a limp. I loose sensation in my leg and foot and have fallen several times so I use a walker or cane when necessary. I was placed on a medrol pack for inflammation but it didn't work very well but the steroid injections help for my hip and low back pain. I have a spinal cord stimulator as well that helps most of the time.


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