Shoulder pain and stiffness following cast immobilisation of fractured wrist

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Hi - has anyone experienced shoulder pain and stiffness following cast immobilisation for a fractured wrist or arm?

I am twelve weeks after my cast has been removed and the front of my shoulder is painful and I have difficulty raising my arm especially out to the side.  It has been like this for about six weeks now.  I am currently attending physiotherapy for a fractured wrist and whilst my wrist has improved I have now developed shoulder problems.  My physio has said it could be a frozen shoulder but my GP who specialises in muscular skeletal conditions is positive that it’s tendinitis (I’m hoping it’s tendinitis rather than a frozen shoulder as I understand that this can take ages to get better!) I have been given arm exercises by my physio which hurt but I was warned that they would and also Naproxen anti inflammatory tablets - I have been taking these for two days but the pain is still the same!  My GP did mention steroid injections but I’m hoping to avoid that if I can.

It’s so annoying as I struggle to cope with my broken wrist initially (my right hand) and whilst my wrist has improved greatly I now have shoulder pain! ☹️

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Vanessa

    I would say you have FS. I too broke my wrist & it was immobilised for some time & I developed FS. It is extremely painful until after 6 mths I had hydrodilitation to release my shoulder. It did eventually ease with the help of physio & I have at least 95% movement back.

    I was given a cortisone injection before the hydro procedure but this did little to help it.

    Keep up the physio as painful as it may be, you will get there. Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Thank you - it’s so annoying as I had a hard time coping with a broken wrist to now have to deal with shoulder problems on top!

      Do you think an MRI scan would be a good idea to see what’s going on?  I hate not knowing exactly what’s happening as my physiotherapist and doctor think it’s two different things even though the treatment is the same.

      Take care!

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  • Posted

    I did not have an MRI scan but after physical tests it was confirmed I had FS. I also had it in my opposite shoulder 2 yrs previous so knew the signs.

    Ask the consultant who is treating your wrist for a referral.

    Some FS heal with little treatment.

    All the best.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Elaine - I have been discharged from fracture clinic so I am not under a consultant any more as he was satisfied with my wrist progress - just seeing physio and back to my GP if I have any problems! 

      My GP did say to try the anti inflammatory tablets first and to go back to him if they don’t help so I’ll see how I am in the next couple of weeks.

      Kind regards.

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  • Posted

    Good idea, anti inflammatory may just help. But if you dnt find any relief certainly go back to your GP.... he should refer you as the pain is beyond bearable as you know.

    Hope all goes well...

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  • Posted

    Your experience is identical to mine!  I agree with Elaine that this is frozen shoulder.  Started about 3 months after original break. At first my wrist therapists just blew it off.  So did the surgeon at first "Keep an eye on it".  But it got progressively worse.  He then thought it was bursitis, but sent me to a shoulder specialist. That was 5 months after injury.  It is frozen shoulder.  Wrist was great but by then I could hardly lift my arm.  Dressing, grooming, sleeping, almost impossible!  He gave me a cortisone shot and immediately it eased some pain.  3 days later was so much better and my swelling had finally gone down.  Now I am 7 weeks into PT and the results are amazing.  Forward and side arm lifts are fine and only slightly painful, reaching back and behind is still poor and painful. Had a recheck Friday and he is very pleased with progress - said the backward motion is the last to recover.  He thought another 6 weeks and I'd be darn near back to normal.  There are few activities that I can't do now - one of them is buckling my bra (darn!!).  Best thing to do is get into treatment ASAP as it can get worse and then takes a very long time (and possibly surgery) to fix. Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Thank you Jean - it’s really frustrating! I’m attending physio but exercises are painful! At the moment I can still manage to put my hair up but cannot reach behind me. 

      Did you have any side effects with the cortisone shot?  I have read so many things about this but my father in law had one for his frozen shoulder years ago and said it was really good!

      Did you have any scans on you shoulder to see what’s happening?  I have another physio session on Wednesday so I shall discuss further options then. 

      Best wishes!

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    • Posted

      Forgot to add that it’s really encouraging that you are doing so well - there is light at the end of the tunnel!

      Take care and keep me updated with your progress!

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