Wrist Saga

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi All. I'm feeling relief already at having joined this forum. It's my first. I have been living with so much chronic pain for so long, and it's taking it's toll. I don't even know where to begin. I had the first fusion about 6 years ago after being diagnosed with stage 4 osteoarthritis in my left wrist, the STT joint. Three years later, same with my right wrist. Wasn't thrilled with the sensation of hardware in my wrists, restricted movement, or the ongoing constant numbness is the back of my hands, but I was happy to be relatively pain free. Then 2 years ago I had a surfing accident (I'm 58 and very active), and the scafoid in the right wrist fractured and crumbled at the screw. So the scafoid was removed, and the joint next to that was fused. THEN, a year ago I fell on my left wrist, fractured the scafoid at the screw site, had that scafoid removed, and a four-corner fusion. That surgery was about 6 months ago. I'm not rushing into these surgeries, believe me. Surgery is my last resort- when the pain becomes unbearable and I know it will only get worse. I'm holistic (teach yoga), and have been through several pain med withdrawals. 

Anyhoo- I was just diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist. I'll live with it for as long as I can, even though the surgery is "nothing compared to what I've been through", says my doc.

The worst part of this whole story is that now, my right wrist has developed stage four arthritis throughout the remaining non-fused bones. Only options are total wrist fusion or replacement. I choose neither since the total fusion will not allow any bending in the wrist, and the replacement is proving to be not very successful, and somewhat experimental. The pain is unbearable most of the time. It's my dominant hand. I'm taking a lot of advil at this point, and am modifying my lifestyle accordingly. Like I said, it's really taking it's toll. Moral of the story is that my experience with fusions are that they're a train wreck, but there are no other options.  I guess I'm looking for some moral support- experience, strength and hope.

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    Hi Kathy, 

    So sorry to hear about your wrist problems, but glad you shared your experiences. If you can get a brace for your hand with carpal tunnel, and wear it, it really does help. I tried steroid shots in both wrists years ago, same day, same doctor. One made it better for a year, and the other made it so much worse I had the surgery in 6 months.

    I had a great surgeon (different doctor) who just used a wrinkle in my palm for access for the carpel tunnel surgery. You would never know I had surgery, it healed so well. Fort-five minute procedure, and now they may do it faster.

    You do not want to wait too long, if your carpel tunnel gets worse. They can measure your nerve conductivity. I had lost 50% of it and was told to go to PT to help get it better. If it gets too bad, I was told, not even surgery may correct the impinged nerve. I modify what I do with the other hand that has not had surgery, and wear a standard brace at night for that one, if it starts to bother me.

    I am just a little bit older than you. I wish you well.

    With your wrist issues you may need a hand OT specialist make you a custom brace with a sleeve, rather than the off the shelf models that are sold. Insurance covered mine, when I got bone marrow edema in my other wrist, which is related to osteoarthritis I guess.

    OT can give you alternate ways of using things to put less pressure on your wrists.

    I have bone marrow edema in my dominant wrist and wonder where that fits in the osteoarthritis scale. My hand surgeon has not mentioned any stages.

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