Swelling post distal radius fracture

Posted , 15 users are following.

I had plate and screws inserted after distal radius fracture and hairline ulna fracture which displaced after manipulation in A+E just over 6 weeks ago. Cast removed at 4 weeks to start early mobilisation. Intensive physio started on Friday. I have been asked to ice prior to each physio session at home, for example, every 3 hours. My question is I have had wrist, hand and fingers swelling which does not and has not receded even after hanging it up in the air 24/7. On multiple pillows at night. And have tried cold water for 3 mins then warm water for 3 mins alternate.

Anyone else have this and if so any techniques not tried to help this or how long can I expect to have this swelling. My fingers are like sausages especially my thumb and baby finger.

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  • Posted

    Hi Vicky

    I am concerned that none of your medical practitioners have noticed nor given you advice on this? You should not have to treat this yourself please get this looked at by a medical professional asap. Clearly there is strong bruising and it should have improved.

    Let me know how you get on

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    • Posted

      The ortho's have seen it and I have mentioned it to the physio in Friday. None of them are bothered and just say keep it raised above heart level which I have done! My thumb is also very painful and stuck in the fact I am unable to open up my hand or do a thumbs up. Maybe too early in the recovery process but it concerns me and No-one seems bothered. Oh well, just carry on with the physio I suppose and hope time is a healer. Thanks for the reply

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    • Posted

      Hi Vicky

      You need to express to them that you are concerned and that you need reassurance that what your experiencing is normal. Even go so far as to say you have mentioned it on this forum and have been advised to seek further clarification. If it's all good no harm done, I don't like you being left alone with the worry as well as trying to get fit again, you just don't need the added stress! Hugs

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  • Posted

    Hi Vicky

    I broke my distal radius beginning of May and out of plaster 3 weeks ago and still struggling to bend fingers they re like sausages and some days I feel they are getting better and then the next day they are back to square one. I am having pysio  and from whay they say it just takes time and we are all different. It is very frustrating and we just have to be patient just don't let other people bully you saying you should be at a better stage by now it just takes time.

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you Wendy. Maybe I'm just being impatient. I will try to just concentrate on the physio and hope each day there is an improvement even a slight one. I must just try not to get down if I have a "bad" day and keep going but it's hard when I've been so independent and i'm now so bloomin dependent on my poor husband

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  • Posted

    Hi Vicky, I had exactly the same procedure as you. Radius plated and ulna head fracture (which has since had to go be screwed together, but that's another story). It took weeks and weeks to be able to move my fingers and especially my thumb properly. I'm 7 months on and I still get pain in my thumb, especially in the morning. Nothing like it was though, so don't think you're going to be in agony in 7 months! Oh, and I still can't turn my hand palm upwards. My point is, it's normal, just take each day as it comes. It takes AGES! Try not to worry, I had sausage fingers for weeks. Good luck, you'll be fine ?? Rich x

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    • Posted

      Richard - you're a life saver. It's so good to hear I'm not the only one. Not that I am pleased that you're still suffering 7 months down the line but at least I now feel I'm a "freak" and something is wrong. I'm just impatient and am getting depressed about it all. Want to be able to drive again and then get back to work. I need to be pretty mobile to be able to do that. Best get more of those romcom films down loaded as it looks like it's going to be a long old process!!! Thank you for your reassurance Rich

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    • Posted

      I got what you meant! It shouldn't be too long before you're driving. I think I did at about 8 weeks. It drove me mad too, there's only so many Rom coms you can watch... Er, I mean action/adventure films... ??

      Is it your dominant hand? I was told if it is then it you get mobility back quicker as you're more inclined to use it.

      Expect to get back to freaky normality from about 10 weeks, it's just annoying then rather than painful. I hope my rambling has been of some help ??

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    • Posted

      No it's not my dominant hand. I'm actually thankful for that. Unfortunately, it is the arm I broke as a child at the elbow trapping the artery - and already have a very long scar and now I have another one!! Not much in between that's not a scar! Having had the arm in a sling and stuck in the air and over my shoulder my poor elbow is suffering and I have not got full stretch again so having to do physio on that too. Only had about 98% ability to straighten it beforehand. Now it's about 80% ??

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  • Posted

    Hi Vicky , I would seek medical advice possibly NHS helpline? It seems strange that so long after the operation and cast removal to have such swelling. Have you checked your capillary refill ? The hot and cold treatment is to aid blood circulation. Ice alone should help with the swelling as should elevation which you have been doing.I never experienced any notable swelling even when I was in cast. I do remember however that the skin covering my hand made it feel like I was wearing a very tight glove, especially at my finger tips.
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    • Posted

      Yep - capillary refill is good, but have numbness of inner aspect of thumb and some to middle of Palm. Ortho's and physio aware but say that will go "eventually" whenever eventually is!

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    • Posted

      I know that my thumb now feels tighter at its extremities of movement. My main issue was the nerve damage to my wrist , I hated having a jumper or coat sleeve touching it. Even now I do not touch my scar area , can you believe I only had local anaesthetic while it took three people to realign my wrist and hand , then post op no pain killers. But I will not touch my injury! That makes me feel a little squeamish. Ibuprofen may help with your swelling, when I came out of hospital a nurse told me to take the arm sling home that they had used to elevate my arm post op. I used this every night for 12 weeks , slept on my back with the sling tied to the bedpost. Is your wrist and hand very hairy? Mine was like a rug , back to normal now.
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    • Posted

      Lol a hairy wrist and hand? No not really but I suspect it's a female thing! That made me smile so thank you :-)

      I too brought the foam sling home and used it for 4 weeks but am now elevated on pillows. Sleeping has been a big issue as I have had to sleep sitting up on my back due to fractured rib from the fall I had as well. Sorry to hear about your nerve damage. I know the feeling as I slipped a disc 3 years ago and have allodynia from that. So take minimal dose of gabapentin. I don't like the feeling of the scar or the shape/ look of my wrist but force myself to cream it frequently and touch it/massage it to try and make it feel like mine.

      No post op medication?? Why ever not!?? Brave of you.

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    • Posted

      No post op medication required as I had no pain just mild tingles, the doctor who discharged me was quite shocked. Guess I am just numb ;-). No cream for my scar can not touch it still, proper soft I know! 
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