Wrist fracture

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I fell and broke my wrist seven weeks ago. It was a collies fracture but with two breaks. It was put

Into plaster for five weeks. I am now two weeks out of the plaster and I can't believe how horridly

painful it is! I am doing the exercises religiously and am trying not to overuse it. The worst pain

comes from the little finger side and not near the thumb. Where the fractures were is uncomfortable but the other side of my hand is worse. That side was black and blue when the plaster came off and pretty badly swollen. Some, but not all of the swelling has receded.

Anyone else had this experience? Not sure if I should return to the surgeon or, if it's pretty normal,

stop whining!!

7 likes, 302 replies

302 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Jan...I fell in the garden April Fools' day! (no comment!) Distal radius fracture right wrist (am right handed of course...) In plaster 6 weeks, discussion about whether or not to put in metal plate but Dr decided against it. The fall was backwards and heavy and I was 'lucky' the damage wasn't worse.

    I am experiencing very similar pain to you. The pain on the little finger side comes from the fracture being right across my wrist, damaging the ulna as well. The pain is bad, yes, and the limitation in movement too. I feel that it will never be the same again and the Dr warned me to expect 18 months to 2 years before any real functionality returned.  I'm 82, so this is a tad depressing. I was given a splint after the plaster was removed, but find it irritates my skin and is uncomfortable to use...I prefer the relief that a scarf/sling gives me after I have been using my wrist for a while. Paracetamol helps but after 2 hours the pain is back. I was given no physio and no exercises so have had to devise my own, along with what other people have told me of their experiences. I've been referred now by my GP for a DEXA scan to check the bone density in spine and hip, and am hoping I may get some pain control advice at the Ortheopaedic.

    I would say to anyone thinking about using a herbal treatment for damaged bones (eg;comfrey ointment) to speak to their GP or Pharmacist first as there are contra-indications for some people, as I found out after using it and then looking for info. on the  relevant websites.

    Good luck with your progress.

    • Posted

      Gosh, that sounds much worse than mine!   I used the exercises that I found on the internet and did them daily.   I have been told that the reason for the pain and swelling on the pinky side is because the ligaments have been torn and that will take months to sort out!   I know longer feel a need for the pain killers, but sometime it hurst quite badly.   

      Positive thoughts.   Jan

    • Posted

      Hi Rosie, I'm due to go for a Dexa scan in 2 wks  (I'm 65) & hospital advised taking Calcium with vitamin D, this helps with bone healing & formation.

      I do hope things have improved for you as it's been a while now, for me I'm in my 5th week of cast & movement is extremely limited. I'm afraid us older folk do take longer to heal.

    • Posted

      Broke my right wrist in May .. Went through the 14 casts got x rayed after each cast ..out of cast now 6 wk fingers still swollen and very little movement yet .. Attending the ot ( hand therapy )  3 times a wk the pain this wk in unbearable can,t straighten my arm at the elbow joint and now my shoulder playing up. 
    • Posted

      Just a quick message as I was shocked to read that you are still suffering so much. 14 different casts? Did the doctors ever say that the bones weren't positioned correctly? Did you have the plaster up above your elbow? How did you originally break the wrist? Hope that things get better soon
    • Posted

      Had to have 3 k wires which r now removed ,my fingers kept end swelling in the cast got to tight had to get them cut off all the time. Got one on Friday morning it was cut of Friday night another on and Saturday it was off and replaced  and back Sunday morning for it to be removed  ..fingers were nearly blue and puffing over the cAsts ...no the cast was not over the elbow my arm seemed to be wristed and at no time could I straight my arm still can,t my hand cannot press flat on a table fingers won,t bend or straighten I been to ot 23-24 times they say it's a bit better I cannot see it yet ..fell down two flights of stairs if I could I,d send you a photo never seen anyone with a hand like this were pins were the scar has tagged to the bone and I can,t get the swellen past it ...a long road ahead for me ..have good days and lots of bad   .. Does get u down ..
    • Posted

      Not surprised that it gets you down. Really hope that things improve soon. biggrin
    • Posted

      omg, I feel so bad 4 you, I had similar situation 2 yrs ago, pain and not ,ugh wrist, elbow or shoulder movement and severe pain near ulna side, I broke both ulna and distal radio us, on the mend now softer 2 new surgery  6 months after original break. Anyway hope u get more function, if not healing right go 4 2 new opinion back, you'd pain should lessen with time. Good luck to you ❤️
    • Posted

      had a bone scan 2 yrs ago after a fall and broken wrist. i have osteopeina. i am coming up 51. GP gave me Adcal. But i cannot take it as i have IBS and it gives me chronic tummy pains and diarrhea 
    • Posted

      I have severe osteoporosis since my early 30's a side effect of another medication that unfortunately was keeping me alive at the time...after 8 years on this medication it did irreprable damage to my bones and I've had several spontaneous fractures...going on three weeks ago I woke up with severe left wrist pain...it was especially sharp when I tried to transfer to my wheelchair for the morning as my Dr. of Physical Therapy was coming...so though difficult I made it until she arrived...I had her do a physical exam of my wrist and she believed it was either a fracture or a torn cartalege...highly disturbed by the thought of surgery with all the medical issues I've been through in the last 25 years I have lately just been at a point where I'm just so tired and I don't want anything more invasive right now...so it actually took me over two weeks to get the xray done...I went to the my Dr on the Monday after I saw my PT Dr (which was the previous Thursday) they ordered a xray of my wrist and said they would call me with the appt...after two weeks and still meeting with my Dr. of PT she suggested that I either call my dr who ordered the xray or go to the Immediate Med close to my house which could treat me completely...I called the company who had the order for my xray and left a message but did not hear so I made plans to go to Immediate Med...they detarmined it was a torn cartilage...put me in a soft cast and suggested to wear it 4-6 weeks then follow up with physical therapy...layer that day I get a call from the radiologist saying the was a fracture but no new ones...I've never broken it before and am wondering if the delay in time allowed them to see that the bone had begun knitting back together but was not strong yet...and does this mean I still have a torn cartilage or not...like you I swell a lot and have a lot of pain...but they put me in a "soft cast" which is not real soft...it goes from around my thumb to the knuckles on my hands and almost up to my elbows...each section having a strap to tighten it or loosen it if the swelling gets to be to much...but it does keep me from going to get a new cast every other day...I'm going this week with a copy of my X-rays for a second opinion. Good Luck to you.

    • Posted

      I'm in the same osteopenia boat as you having broken my wrist.  AdCal isn't all that great - you may get more benefit from taking a high dose of Vitamin D and Calcium citrate which is better absorbed than the Calcium carbonate in AdCal.

    • Posted

      I broke the same 6 weeks ago got my cast off and pins out a week early due to one of the pins head came off and the pin had moved down into my arm very painful. Now I'm in a remove able splint but my pain is still so bad and when I do remove splint to bath I very carefully try to move my wrist a bit and it is very painful I also have lots of swelling still in my hand and fingers is this normal??? I start therapy in 12 days just can't imagine it even moving then .. I just want to cry!!

    • Posted

      I also have a screw that is not coming out .
    • Posted

      Hi Gaylene, I'm Shawn from NH. I was in a motorcycle accident on 7-12-16. I suffered from a broken right wrist. I had an over the elbow cast on for 3 weeks and then a shorter cast on for 2 weeks. I now have a black Velcro splint which can be quite uncomfortable when the swelling starts. My God, I completely understand the pain you are in. I was just at my doctors office yesterday; once again complaining of severe pain and swelling. He absolutely refused to give me any opiates as it has been 6 weeks since the accident. I eat an average of 8-10 generic Tylenol and the same of Advil each day. Today I also started taking calcium to prevent osteoporosis. Until yesterday, I was in a significant amount of pain and the swelling was creeping up to the middle of my forearm. The ONLY time I find any relief is when I have an ice pack under and on top of my wrist with a soft towel in between so I don't touch the ice pack directly till it cools down some. You definitely need at least 4 of them at a minimum. Forget about leaving it on for 20 minutes; I left them on until they weren't cold any longer. I was crying in the office, embarrassed as I am 53. I want to stress to you how much of a different person I am today after he perscribed me 2 medications. The first is 4 mg of Prednisone for the swelling as well as 300 mg of Gabapenton for the pain. For the prednisone, you are supposed to take 6 the first day, then 5,4,3,2,1 for only 6 days. Having used this med many times before, I only took 1 last night at about 8 pm. I am also desperately trying to use them sparingly so they last longer. This morning, I awoke to such minimal discomfort and the swelling was down I would say a good 90% or more. I can actually fold my fingers and touch my palm for the first time in many weeks. I even picked up a half a cup of coffee today, also for the first time. I am not in pain, just a little discomfort. The tightness and swelling is so unbelievabley minimal, my family cannot even believe the difference this morning. As for the Gabapenton, I took 2 instead of 1 least night as well as this morning. I would highly, highly recommend this course of treatment for anyone suffering from terrible swelling. Like you, I was told I need physical or occupational therapy twice a week for 6 weeks. Upon calling, I was told they cannot see me for 3 weeks! That is unacceptable to me. Sooo, I took it upon myself and searched the web for therapy exercises for broken wrist. For 2 hours plus I researched and luckily found some very reputable (actual physical therapists) videos on YouTube for this exact thing. I found type best explanatory videos. I had tried these exercises before taking my new medicine regimin and it was too painful and the tightness and swelling was too much. Today, I can do these exercises thankfully. If you'd like specifics, please please contact me and I'd be happy to forward them to you. I will continue to do these exercises until I can actually get the perscribed therapy. I strongly suggest trying this. One last thing; I also experienced a prickly feeling on the underside of my whole wrist and forearm no matter what soft material I laid it down on. This awful feeling is gone as well; I attribute it to the medicine perscribed. I apologize for being so lengthily; I've always been very chatty and detail oriented, but I hope not boring. I wish you and anyone else experiencing these symptoms to try what has worked for me. I realize each person is different but hopefully this will help someone here. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story. Sincerely, Shawn.

    • Posted

      I don't know about anyone else but I am going to try this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Posted

      Hi there Nancy. You are so very welcome! A little follow up on my day 2. I woke this am in the same condition as yesterday, no bad pain at all and the oh so slightest of swelling. It is up to 95% gone with the exception of the immediate break area. I've continued with my regimen of 1 4 mg prednisone for the swelling and 2 300 mg Gabapenton for the discomfort. Yesterday I washed some drink glasses for the first time in many weeks. While it might not be the best thing to use medication as I wanted versus as the doctor wants, I was and am very afraid if I took the prednisone 6 pills on day 1 to 5,4,3,2,1 for only 6 days, if the swelling came back, I'd be out of luck. I continue to use soft ice packs on top and bottom of the wrist and forearm area for comfort now rather than for swelling as the swelling is so minimal. I sincerely hope of you're able to try these medications that it works for you as well as for me a and I wish the very best for you dear. Regards, Shawn from New Hampshire, USA.

    • Posted

      Hi. I fell June 19, distal radius fracture, had plate and pins, splint for 2 weeks. I still have major swelling and decreased range in wrist and fingers.  Now going to a hand specialist.  Oral steroids, not much help. In two weeks I ho back for injection. May have to have carpal tunnel release after all that if the numbness doesn't go away.  So, imo maybe go to a second opinion.  Therapy is tough especially if still swollen.  Good luck!

    • Posted

      Kalina, I feel for you with all the swelling that's uncomfortable enough in it's own, but I can tell you something that might help you, something I found out from my Chiropractor and it really works, swelling is caused by histamines that build up and you swell because your body is trying to protect the affected area of the body you are swelling in and of course Benadryl is an antihistamine so it helps with the swelling. Try taking 2 25mg Benadryl 3-4 times a day and see if that helps with the swelling, because without swelling you won't hurt as bad. May God bless you and keep us updated with your progress.

    • Posted

      Shawn 99245

      Thank you so much for your post and every little detail is important so one can identify with you....Esp the tenderness under my wrist you expressed in another post ... ?An Occupatioal Therapist warned  me I would feel this way, I have to roll up my sleve so it won't touch...(I tripped and fell and fractured my scaphoid bone under the thumb 12 weeks later I finally gor it removed (HINT: if they ask you after a check up if you want that cast replaced say YES YES YES>>>>I didn't and the build up was so bad it rubbed my skin raw...I don't know why they ask you they should automatically do it!))

      I guess it will take me a while yet before I can drive my standard car.  I can't turn the keys on it hurts too much but if I want to get my wrist back I have to suffer the pain and work very hard to get thru it...The OT said not to baby it but use it, the more pain I can stand the faster I will unlock the bones that have been unmobile the last 3 months in the cast.  So I have been trying to use it but keep yelping and the base of the thumb is stinging unrelentlessly door knobs are unbareable....I took a bath for the first time in 3 months and it was so hot I barely could stand it but boy my hand, wrist and arm felt so good. I could move it quite alot in the hot water(used very little cold water and I was as red as a lobster) .....It has been 4 days since the cast was removed and yes I feel more pain as time goes on instead of lessening. I cannot take anti-inflamatory meds due to my COPD so I will have to put up with the swelling til it goes away on its own. I should have been taking calcium all along but never thought of it....hopefully I can get on with a Physio Therapist....If I have to wait too long then I'll need see a private therapist at least once because I won't be able to afford any more visits at $90 a session but I need to get back to work before my employment insurance runs out.....

    • Posted

      Hi JanLyn

      Out of interest did doctors diagnose a scaphoid fracture immediately? I have just had a suspected scaphoid but was told that it can't be confirmed until at least 2 weeks later. In the end mine wasn't a scaphoid. I had broken a small bone near it. I only had plaster for 4 days and then a wrist brace (still in use for a little longer)

    • Posted

      Hi Marie Elaine

      I am also on my 5th week on cast for right wrist fracture. My chiropractor advices me to take horsetail and MSM to help with repair and formation of bones and I do already take plant based calcium along with vitamin D. I am 55 but health wise more than 65. Take naproxen once daily for pain but it still hurts. Shoulder has started hurting since I wore cast I guess because shoulder is lifting the wrist weight. Fingers r still swollen. Is the shoulder pain due to wrist cast normal? Does anyone experience the same thing? Any advice would be appreciated.

      Best of luck.

    • Posted

      I once had osteopenia, but my doctor didn't tell or advice me what to do and it became osteoporosis now. My doc has been very desperate to put me on osteoporosis drugs but I chose the natural approach instead. I am taking AlgaeCal for the past 2 years and it has increased my bone density by +1%. U can google AlgaeCal for more info. Hope that helps. Good luck.

    • Posted

      Thank you for the info. I think you're right in avoiding the osteoporosis drugs and going the natural route. I will look into AlgaeCal. I've also bought an interesting book on Osteorporosis and natural remedies by a nutritionist doctor so that should provide some more ways to prevent things getting worse. Best wishes to you.

    • Posted

      Hello Shawn

      I broke my wrist badly 6 wks ago today. I was put in a cast for 1 wk then operated on to have my wrist pinned/plated & bandaged for 10 days before having that taken off. Oh! the relief when that dressing came off but it was then I knew I had my work cut out.

      I was told I would need to start physio asap & a wk later I was seen by a physiotherapist who gave me 9 different exercises to do daily. What a joke, I could barely do 3 which made me feel so frustrated & worried as I was afraid my inability to do these would delay my recovery.

      The pain, swelling, tightness & prickly feeling when I tried to lay my arm down were driving me to despair that I would burst into tears....still do!. Im unable to lay my arm completely flat tho it has kind of improved & the puffiness in my fingers & hand is still making it difficult for me to be able to bend them. Im not able to grip anything as yet & as Im R/handed Im finding things very difficult. Im due to see the hospital in January to find out if I will need another op to remove the metal & that scares me as it will surely set my recovery back. In 61....just!! My 2nd physio appnt was cancelled which so annoyed me but up to now I have had just 4 30 minute sessions. Im so desperate to self help myself inbetween the physio that reading your experience gave me some hope.

      I would appreciate a link to the video you mentioned about exercises etc if that would still be available & any helpful advice you could give.

      Many thanks & I hope you are fully recovered


    • Posted

      Hi Shawn, 

      i liked your post very much.

      I had a broken wrist, cast for 4 weeks.

      As of yesterday, I am in a splint.  My right hand is so weak, claw-like with no strength.

      Could you please send me the links to the PT videos you found?

      Thank you so much in advance.

      Mary M.

    • Posted


      I broke my wrist the weekend after thanksgiving. I went back to work that following Monday, but I couldn't use the pain meds I was given,cause I work with people in a clinic setting. Ibuprofen worked well for me. I was delegated new front desk gal and i did one handed EKG'S. However due to stomach issues I could only take athe IB'S at night for a short time. I also had a plate put in about 8 screws or pins whatever they call it. After surg they put me in a shorter brace for 2 wks, then into the removable one. I was allowed to do two excersizes only for 3 wks. Arm over and under and mild fists. I went to see the doc after that and he wasn't happy with the fact I had no muscle or finger movement. Everything was pretty frozen tight. I am in PT now about 5 sessions already. My wrist is still pretty tight like a metal vice grip and painful,my back of hand and fingers still feel broken. I can pick up a plate but not a cup of coffee. I'm doing my excersizes faithfully. Pain is still there not as bad,but bad enough I can't seem to get any further. Strength not coming back so much. I'm a phlebotomist and thankfully I draw with the right hand,but I feel and move my pts arms and grip with my left. I'm at 10 draws a day and then my hand starts to swell and get real sore. I was told I shattered my wrist,so maybe it will take longer to come around. I'm going to see the Dr on the 8th of feb. I'm mentioning the gabapentin and prednisone. How are you doing now after this much time? Hope better. Thanks for the idea maybe if that swelling comes down I can close my fist more to hang on to things, like my equipment.

    • Posted

      Elaine, how are you now? I fractured my wrist nine weeks ago. Really bad fall. Much bruising, pain etc for weeks. Cast off and in splint now. My fingers are very stiff, can't make a fist. My thumb very painful and swollen. My hand feels very weak and useless! Pins and needles feelings and pain on and off. Feeling despondent. Does it take a long time to get puffiness and stiffness out? 

    • Posted

      Hi Rikkie....I had all that you mentioned. The swelling & bruising does take a while to go. Did you have a plate put in?

      My thumb & pinkie finger gave me the most pain tho nearly 6 mths later that has eased. I can so relate to all you have described & I went thru every emotion possible.

      You dnt mention if you are on any pain relief! I am on gabapentin & co-dydramol but I am slowly reducing the dose.

      Physio will help you regain your strength back but for me it is a very slow progress. The frustration & pain wears you down but make sure you see your doctor is you feel you need to.

      I still cannot bend my wrist & I can only bend my fingers easily from the 1st joint owing to the severity of my break.

      If you are having physio it is important to keep at it even if you feel its only a slight improvement....every cm is an achievement believe me.

      At 61 things take a lot longer to heal but I have to go on however long it takes.

      Good luck in your recovery, let me know how you progress....you will get there.

    • Posted

      Thank you Elaine,really good to get a reply from you. No, I didn't have a plate put in, but yesterday was told I will need an MRI to see why still in pain and fingers and thumb still giving so much trouble. I believe they should have scheduled an MRI weeks ago. I was on gabapentin but they have now taken me off it. Just on anti-inflammatory pills and paracetamol. I am also over 60! So I guess longer to heal.I have therapy every ten days. Try to do some exercise at home each day but hand so stiff and afternoons and evenings pain is worse.  I have to take a low dose Ativan at night to calm down the anxiety, it does help. Really hope you feel improvement each day. 

      It sure is a slow process! 

    • Posted

      Well Im glad you didnt have a late tbh bcoz I feel it hinders recovery, but that may just be me!

      Its good you are having an MRI, I may suggest it to my consultant also as they are more precise than an x-ray.

      I know the feeling all too well regarding the stiffness, I find mine is at its worse 1st thing in the morning which makes doing my exercises more painful & frustrating.

      I am reducing my gavapentin but will take general painkillers for however long.

      You dnt seem to be having therapy often enough I feel. I was having physio 3 times a week reduced to twice a week & atm only once.

      My physiotherapist is off ill, but hopefully when she returns this will increase to at least twice a week again as I need all the help I can get.

      It is the most frustrating injury I have ever had, my emotions are all over the place so I quite understand you needing sometng for the anxiety.

      I have returned back to work but tbh I find it harder than I expected but at 61 & 5 yrs till retirement I have little choice.

      Also it gets me out of the house as I am unable to drive yet until my frozen shoulder is sorted on May 15th.

      Its been a long 6 mths but there is progress although little, I have to think positive.

      Good luck with your MRI & with your recovery. The stiffness with get better over time but arthritis would be expected as I was told.

      Use your hand as often as you can, exercise in warm/hot water as I find this soothing & keep the hand warm.

      I use 'Hothands' hand warmers...... lasts for up to 10hrs ....worth the world!

      Sorry my reply is so long....trying to get everything in that may be of help to you.

      Keep me updated & if you have any suggestions of help for me I would greatly appreciated it.

      PMA....onwards & upwards...my daughters pep talk to me 😊

      Good luck

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