Recovery after wrist surgery

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hello to everybody,

I am Dario 33 years old, 24 days ago I fell in descend riding my bike and got a compound fracture of distal radius and ulna.

After three days I have had a surgery, the surgeons fix my broken wrist setting up on it the titanium plates (ORIF) and splinting my wrist. After 2 weeks I replaced the cast with a support.

At the beginning I can only open and close the hand feeling more pain but now, after 3 weeks, I have improved and, for example, I can bring object and rotate a few the forearm with no pain at all, but I have almost zero grade of flexiblity in the wrist,

though when I take off the support I can't do nothing, I am very stuck and scared to bend my wrist.

I wanted to ask if can I already do any exercise (like to try to bend the wrist or rotate the forearm)or it's too early and it's better to wait the rx that I will have on 13 july?

Is it normal that without support I can't do anything after three weeks from surgery?

How long does it take for complete recovery?

Anyone have exeperienced with this kind of fracture?

P.S. English is not my first language

Thanks in advance

0 likes, 13 replies

13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello. Don't panic regarding movement. It takes time. Sometimes up to a year for the movement to

    Come back. I'm 14 months post orif for distal radius fracture and I have still very limited movement also BUT I am an exception as I developed CRPS and have possible tfcc damage. I've just had my hardware ( plate and screws l) removed to see if this may help movement - nothing yet 5 weeks post op :-(

    Wait and see what they will do for you tomorrow but once you have seen a PT and they have given you exercises I'm sure it will come good .... but have patience. It is a long journey to recovery but you're young so should be good in the end. Good luck and keep up the exercises.

    • Posted

      Hello Vicky

      Thank you for the reply, I hope that you get well soon. My rx is ok the doctor said me to get rid of the brace and starting to move as much as possible the wrist to avoid stiffness and to begin PT as soon as possible.

      I took the brace off straightaway but I feel totally uncomfortable without. They said that the pain is normal and that I don't worry about it. Moreover They told me that I can run and swim too and today I will try to run.

      Is PT going to be very painful?

    • Posted

      It shouldn't be too painful but you do need to try and push through any pain if you can. You're still very early in your recovery so it will take a while. I have met loads of other "sufferers" in my physio sessions and they ranged from 12 weeks to like me over a year to get to where they want to be. I just wish I could be there too :-(

      Things will get better for you, just hang in there and keep positive.

    • Posted

      Thanks for the encouragement, I am going to start PT Tuesday. I have very limited movement but I am very worried about extension, the wrist doesn't go in that direction in any way.

      Let me know how is going your wrist and hang in there and keep positive also you.

      Probably my english isn't too good, sorry

  • Posted


    I had the same injury. I am now 3 months out. You can start exercise anytime now as you can tolerate. Try placing your wrist on the end of a table bending down as far as you can then raising up as far as you can. Start with 5 reps and advance. There are sites on the Internet that show exercises. Complete recovery can take up to a year. Also beware that you may end up with shoulder pain from lack of arm movement. A very frustrating recovery process. Good luck to us!

    • Posted

      Thank you Carol,

      Fortunately my shoulder is ok maybe cause I have always moved my arm and I have already started to running. Tomorrow I am going to back at the swimming pool too, I think that the swim is a good exercise for the wrist and the unique way to train the muscles of the arm, they became so small compared to the other arm.

      Approximately when will the extensions movement of the wrist come back?

    • Posted

      Hi Dario. I hope all is well. As I mentioned previously, I am 3 months post ORIF and I am progressing slowly. I am at 30-35 degrees extension right now. I am having difficulty making a fist as my fingers are still very stiff and I have tremors when I push it. Most are coming from my middle and ring fingers. Good luck with your PTL. Stay the course.
    • Posted


      My wrist gets better day after day, I have already recovered the most of the flexion, the extension is slowly returning too, the supination instead isn't improving it takes more time maybe.

      Of course my wrist is always stiff compared to the other one and a little swollen, a little pain is present too and I know that I have to do a lot of work for complete recovery but I feel it's getting better and now I am really optimistic.

  • Posted

    I would agree that it would not be good to panic. Everyone's bodies are different so you shouldn't compare you recovery process to others. Have you considered going to some sort of a physical therapist to help you get the movement back?

    • Posted

      Yes I have had a medical visit with physical therapist(I think you mean fisiatra in italian) and 2 days ago I started the physiotherapy, anyway I always try to move the wrist as much as possible. Yesterday I could touch the shoulder with the hand(with great difficult) today I can''s frustrating.

  • Posted

    HI everybody,

    A little update:

    My wrist has improved a lot , I didn't think it could get better so quickly. I have recovery most of the supination and the flexion, in fact i can touch my shoulder with the wrist without problem, extension is returning too but I have a few grade to regain but it's ok. Also the strenght has improved, now I can lift everyday life objects with no problem at all. I recommend to you all that have this kind of fracture to have a good PT and trying to move the wrist as much as possible and to do sport like running and swimming because it helped a lot in my case.

    The physiotherapist told me that the extension movement could be limited from hardware inserted on my wrist, what do you think about?


  • Posted

    Hi Dario, I am interested how your wrist is doing now 8 months after the posting. I am 67yr old and broke my wrist falling on ice 38 days ago. I had surgery (plate and screws) on day 10, cast off on day 22. The surgeon gave me 2 exercises to do, (extension and flexion) . I find movement coming slowly, and find I need to push through the discomfort. Still a long way to go yet. I find my palm has discomfort and ache, and wondered if you had any pain or discomfort in your palm.
    • Posted

      Hi esther,

      My wrist after 8 months is nearly as the good one. I missed just few degreeds in extension and flexion I think that those movements will never come back but it's not a real problem cause I can do everithing I want with my arm, fortunately I am not a pianist :D. My palm's been always good and I really didn't have any complications in my injuried arm after the surgery(swelling, ache etc... etc...). Hang on and keep going with exercise that the doctor give you, you will see that slowly your wrist will healing, unfortunately it takes a long time. Good luck!

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