I Broke My Wrist, Any Advice?

I broke my wrist six weeks ago. Multiple fractures, and have the possibility of needing surgery and having a plate inserted in the future.

The bone did heal straight, and now I'm just trying to get mobility back. The Orthopaedic Surgeon did not recommend me to see a physio, however it was an accident at work and they would cover me I assume…Should I see a Physio? Just told me, the following two weeks to try and get mobility back and do some exercises and then 4 weeks after that I could possibly do very very light weights until the 6th week where I can return to gym.

The wrist is currently really stiff, as the cast only was removed yesterday.

Does anyone recommend any exercises, or anything that will benefit healing quicker?

I was thinking of PEMF, Red Light Therapy, Powerball etc. Somebody mentioned laser watches, but that just looks like red light therapy. I have supplements all under control.

Thank you

Comments

  • Oi you lot!

  • Start with lite dumbbells first. 1kg up and down with your wrist hanging off end of a table. Isolate it so it get stronger when doing it. Then progress to 2kg as directed.

    Also buy some puddy or play dough and practice making it into a ball shape.

    Like going to church, do a praying exercise by bringing your hands together from above to in front of your chest. This all depends on where you're at with your recovery.

    I'm also obliged to tell you I highly doubt you'll be back in the gym at the 6 week mark, is that after surgery?

    See how you go but I did bssicslly the same injury, the exact bone was the scaphoid and it took about 3-4 months after my op with regular physio sessions till it was healed. I got it back to about 80% of the flexibility I used to have.

    Good luck.

    • He said I would be able to go and lift as heavy as I feel capable after the 6 weeks of rehab. That would be at the 3 month mark, so 12 weeks.

      It was Distal Radius fracture that is intra-articular and dorsally angulated and impacted.
      Potential of both post traumatic arthritis, and ulna impigment/ impactment syndrome long term.

      He mentioned in two weeks I could start on the light dumbbells etcetera

      Thanks for the recommendations, I'm just going to wait till the weekend and then start rehab. it's already moving better than yesterday, but I just want to give it a few days.

      • I don't understand. Doesn't rehab imply physio?

        • Yeah, but he didn't instruct me or refer me.

          • @Adelv: Sounds like he did talk about rehab though. He would have explained whatever he wanted to explain to your GP, who can certainly refer you to a physio nearby.

            • @nfr: He hasn't spoken to my GP lol

              • @Adelv: Isn't your GP upset? I mean he referred a patient to the surgeon but never heard anything back. That's terrible.

                • @nfr: Nope, it's work related.

                  The hospital referred me to a Dr, and that Dr referred me to another Dr. I informed my GP :)

                  • @Adelv: Oh I get it now. Well that sucks, one would have expected the hospital to be good at coordinating continuity of care. I guess you could call Dr2's room to have him to write to your GP.

      • +8 votes

        See a physio, don't DIY it mate.

        Ideally someone who is at the very least familiar with post-op rehab.

        • This for sure, I had never seen a physio in my life, and thought they were generally a waste of time. After my last injury, the physio was great. You could technically go once or twice and then learn what to do and then do it at home, but:

          1. It's easier to just turn up at a physio
          2. You get to chat to the person and process what you are doing
          3. They have all the bits and pieces on hand, even buying the cheapest on ebay cost me about $60 bucks and that was buying from China and waiting weeks and months
          4. They will tell you when to progress based on your feedback so you may recover faster
          5. They may have some equipment that isn't worth buying but has some value
          6. It's worth taking proper time out to do these things on the odd occasion rather than just doing it while watching netflix etc.

          The only detraction is the cost, and the cost of missing work. If it's being paid for and your are employed and not running a small business that relies on you being there to make money it's a no brainer

    • @Adelv, Puddy or putty?

      Also buy some puddy or play dough and practice making it into a ball shape.

  • +16 votes

    Don't break your wrist.

  • Hi (from Adelaide).

    Just this: https://sahandtherapy.com.au/

  • Don't have any advice, I also broke my wrist but only one bone. I can't bear weight on it when it is bent (eg sitting on the floor and shuffling position - I have to make my hand into a fist rather than flat). Definitely working on making it stronger is a good idea! I should too.

    • Yeah i broke mine nearly a decade ago. Never been the same since. It took about 2 years to feel as strong as it was before breakingit.

      I still get the odd pain in my wrist if i put weight or lift with it on the wrong angle. Although perhaps thats just me getting older in general.

  • +7 votes

    Why not just follow the doctor's orders, than seek OzB advise (this is like seeking google doctor advice…) - INAD (I'm Not a Doctor).

    • Because he didn't actually advise me to do anything specific.

      I'm going to email, and ask again.
      I think generally for Wrists you can only do so much in terms of exercises.
      I was also asking on here about other things which could help recovery, and other peoples experiences. :)

  • Get a good physio. That’s what they do.

  • Have a chat to my dirtbag friends at Shine Lawyers.

  • if physio is covered why would you not see one? you need to keep moving it or it'll stiffen up and they'll help give you exercises that can build back your strength

    • Dr didn't suggest me to see one, but I figure I can request work if I can select and they'll pay which I'm confident they will.

      • Did the Dr suggest that you should not see a physio or did they just not suggest that you see one?

        If the latter did you not ask about it? IMO definitely see a physio, this is what they do. Expect that they'll want to keep seeing you for a long time, but make your own mind up as to when you think your recovery is at a stage where you can best manage it yourself.

  • It's odd the surgeon told you no follow-up is needed but they would likely know best?

    If it's covered I'd probably go see a physio anyway. It's free so it can't hurt, and you can always decide whether to follow the physio's exercises or not depending on how you feel. I definitely wouldn't just do rehab on your own though, that seems pretty dumb.

    • I saw 2 surgeons, and the one I had was really nice. He told me to call in the near year, if i'm having any issues.
      I figured he thought I would just find exercises online, or my work would provide me a physio.

  • Just stretch it. And start lifting.

    My wife did hers a few months back. She still did weights with straps on her arms etc.

    Juat started training as normal when she got the cast off and let the pain/lack of ROM determine it. Within 4 weeks she was 90%.

    She seen the Physio the day she got the cast off and he did some manipulation to loosen things up.

  • Did you get xrays ? If the doctor did any surgery then you should follow his explicit instructions.

    If you just got a cast, and it set the bones back in place without surgery, then contact work cover, and organise physio/rehab.

    Dont follow any advice on ozbargain as most people dont know jack. You are very likely to make it worse, possibly even reinjure yourself.

    Your wrist will be in a weakened state, and even 1kg of weights may cause a reinjury, especially if you are not used to that kind of exercise from before the injury.

    • Yes, I had plenty of X-rays. I'm just assuming the orthopaedic surgeon, assumed my work will follow up with a physio.

      As mentioned I will contact the office, and find out. I've had wrist injuries previously and the physio who attends my work said there's only certain exercises you can do for your wrist. I expect he'll give me a list of a couple of exercises to do daily, and that will be it.

      I'm not taking direct advice from people on this forum, as I stated looking for alternative ways to help the recovery.

      • Each time you injure the same area, the weaker it becomes, and the less strength you will have after rehab cumlatively. Also will weaken with age. So i would be extra cautious.

  • Has your mother stepped up?

    …wait, your comment history states you don't have email….

    My condolences. Did my mother step up?

  • was just reading your other post on gym membership.

    It's weird that the surgeon did not recommend you seeing a physio. Normally, you would need to see a hand therapist (who is a physio or OT) to rehab the wrist.
    I would advise against doing rehab on your own or anything along the line of "just stretch and get back to lifting", especially since your prognosis (arthritis, impingement etc) is not so good.

    Your hand and wrist perform many fine motor skills and functions (such as writing or buttoning) that you likely don't perform (at the gym) and would like to regain asap. You might as well go for an initial consult with a hand therapist to be on the safe side.

    • I think this is a little extreme, as risk fractures are quite common.

      In the past I've seen Physios in regards to multiple injuries and all the exercises I've been shown and given I've already known from the research I've done on that particular injury online.
      I will absolutely see a Physio, however I'm pretty confident I'm going to know every exercise they show me.

      The orthopaedic surgeon did show me a couple of exercises, and he mentioned it should recover quite well.

      • You don’t go to a physio to learn new exercises, the same way you don’t go to the doctor to learn about new diseases. You go to the physio so that they can assess your injury and formulate a plan to help you recover using the right exercises and right reps/weights for your specific situation based on their years of study and experience.

      • A hand therapist is a physiotherapist or Occupational therapist that has done additional training to specialise in hand injuries. If you have work cover it would likely be be covered, but you need either the surgeon or a GP to recommend it. Seeing one wouldn’t be extreme at all, but may not be necessary. I’d certainly recommend this over advice from people on OzB (some of which may be qualified but none who have assessed your injury or seen your imaging) or dr Google.

        I’d suggest following the surgeons advice and doing nothing different unless the surgeon, your GP or hand therapist recommends it. Call the surgeons office and leave a message with reception asking re your questions, particularly for a referral for physio/OT/hand therapist (your surgeon will know the good ones for this type of injury local to you).

        Sure you might get it right with Dr Google but you equally might stuff up your hand and end up with long term pain and reduced hand function. A couple of days to get the right advice might save you from long term issues.

        • I'm an OT and I have previously worked within the WorkCover realm. I agree with everything you've said - do you work in health? I do find it strange that OP hasn't been referred to post-op hand therapy. A referral to physical rehab is almost always expected following surgery.

          I would definitely follow the surgeons orders, and I would certainly refrain from treating myself with google. It can be useful for improving or restoring function for different injuries, however, you need experience to look for and appraise signs of healing, range of motion, muscle shortening and the like.

          • @thanatos350: Yep, also a health professional - but I don’t reveal of what discipline on OzB to remain anonymous. I’ve said too much over the years!! 😄 I hope OP gets their wrist and hand sorted.

  • I did the double - a simultaneous broken/dislocated wrist a few years ago.

    The exercises the hospital gave me were rubbish. I went and saw a hand therapist. The therapy and exercises they provided was far superior to anything provided by the hospital or outpatient services. They did give me some exercises with light dumbbells as weezle suggested.

    Since you lift, you might want to consider some of those grip strengthening tools like the GripMaster series which comes in a range of different tensions.

    If it's a workplace accident and you're covered, you may as well try and get the best rehab you can. I'd be very confident in saying if I had just stuck with the hospital exercises I wouldn't have anywhere near the range of movement I do have now.

    • Absolutely, this is what I will find out next week. Basically any recommendations the orthopaedic surgeon will give me in terms of who to see whether a physio, or a hand therapist etcetera

      It was work-related, therefore my work will cover all the medical costs and I will seek the absolute best rehab opportunities I can for the injury.

      I just posted on here to find out other people's experiences, their recoveries and perhaps what worked for them and what didn't.

      I mean come on, I didn't see two different orthopaedic surgeons to basically not see a physio or the equivalent afterwards 😂😂😂

      • The other thing to consider is to not rush it. Mine took months to be good enough to lift real weights again. The gym will still be there when your wrist is ready.

        I wouldn't bother with a physio, see someone who specialises in the field, like a hand therapist.

        • I won't rush it, i'll listen to my body. Off course, prefer to get back to it sooner or later but don't have to be lifting heavy.

    • I agree. I'm thinking that the OP would want the Workcover paperwork and a plan prepared now given that a month takes them right into Christmas/NY.
      There is some good generic advice for Workcover claims including that you need a referral from your treating Doctor.
      https://sahandtherapy.com.au/what-we-do/faqs/ and that would go for most Hand Therapists.
      The OP can also check and see if their Orthopaedic Surgeon is on their List at https://sahandtherapy.com.au/patient-info/associated-special...

      Funnily enough there are only a handful of them in Adelaide.

      • Company is self insured, I believe they'll just pay the invoice.I'll ring the Injury Coordinator on Monday, and get more information.
        I don't want to post his name, but I found his CV.

        Upper Limb Orthopaedic Surgeon
        MBBS, FRACS(Orth), FAOrthA

        Accepted for the prestigious Wrightington Upper Limb Fellowship in the UK, this has been delayed due to Covid.
        I actually saw a different Dr, who suggested I see my current Dr.

        Postgraduate Speciality Training
        FRACS Orthopaedic Surgery 2019
        Medical Association Memberships
        Fellow, Australian Orthopaedic Association (AOA)
        Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)
        Australian Medical Association (AMA)

        I actually asked him how long it took to get where he was, aka study wise and he told me 16 years. :| The Dr who referred him was in his 40s/50s but my current is late 30s I assume.

        • Make sure the company signs an admission of liability before you get any care done.

          • @meowsers: They've given me a form which says they'll pay all medical bills, but because where self-insured I still have to file a claim through a lawyer.

            I don't think they'll complain about me getting physio, because they would want my hand to recover as quickly as possible.

            I'm currently being paid to stay at home, so I haven't had to work for 6 weeks and they haven't given me a return date yet

  • Go to the physio - do you're rehab you should be alright within 12-18 weeks post op if you dont like ur physio see another one

  • seems strange after only six weeks with such a serious injury you actually want to return to a gym and lift weights!

    I heard of gym junkies but seriously?

    I don't think a physio would recommend doing stuff with weights just wrist exercises to get rotation and clasping correct before trying much strengthening

    • You misread, I said after 6 weeks of rehab. That's a total of 12 weeks after the injury.

      The orthopaedic surgeon said after two weeks of rehab, I could head to the gym to do the light dumbbells 1 to 3 kilos 🤣🤣🤣

      I'm not a gymjunkie, but I've been training for 15 years and I enjoy it.

  • Plenty of self pleasure should bring some movement back.

  • Simply buy a soft nerve ball etc to squeeze and gain strength. also buy a light dumbbell and rest forearm on sound/chair arm rest and curl up wrist, turn over, and raise up wrist, etc.

  • Broke my wrist (and fractured the radius and dislocated the ulna) in 1986. I was in plaster for 16 weeks.

    There must some rehab you can do.

    I went to the physio. They gave me exercises to get mobility back. Started small and got more intense. Don't just leave it as it will calcify and lose mobility.

    If the Dr says "don't see a physio" then the obvious question you should ask is "What is the rehab procedure? Who do I see?"

  • Start taking Vitamin C now, for at least 3-6 weeks.

    "There is some evidence that vitamin C 500–1000 mg daily for 50 days reduces complex regional pain syndrome after wrist fracture and limb surgery (4 studies, 1065 patients)."

    • I've already started taking supplements from the week I broke my wrist.

      I bought some Bone supplements with special forms of Vitamins aka Calcium, K2, D.

      I've been taking 2g Vitamin C a day too.

  • Do the physio & keep it up. The rubber ball can be carried & used for exercise everwhere. Linament may help.

  • try stoking with your arm and shoulder movements instead of your wrist :“`)

  • And I thought OzB was only a source for legal advice regarding traffic disputes….

    Go see a Physio/Occupation Therapist. Job done

  • What you need is a hand therapist. And a (good) GP

    Under work cover you should be seeing a GP every 2-4 weeks. GPs probably won’t give you any exercises but what they will do is advocate for you to your rehab provider/insurance company such that you have
    1. Appropriate work duties
    2. Access to all specialists required (including surgeon and hand therapists)
    3. Regular reviews

    I wouldn’t go to just ‘any’ physio unless you get strong word of mouth recommendation or they look after sporting teams

    • Yea, i did something similar and saw a hand therapist.. if the OP does something without medial advice (like using dumbells) and hurts him/her self worse, he/she may not be covered by work…

    • I will research for a physio and look into a hand therapist, my work will pay all medical expenses.

  • So instead of listening to medical professionals, you consult an online bargain forum for medical advice

    Yes go see a physio, your injury is extremely routine and of no major importance

  • ADVICE
    Take care of your wrist, strap it and dont use it and dont brake it again
    Meanwhile dont break the other wrist or anything else,

    • I don’t think so. These days gradually increasing use is often the best option. Just be careful and don’t treat it as fully fixed straight away. Of course, listen to experts if they say otherwise.

  • Hi Adelv

    Another reason to consult an experienced relevant health practitioner is that maybe they can help you steer clear of any possible complications. A friend had a broken arm that resulted in a spontaneous snapping of a thumb tendon apparently due to inflammation of the tendon over the site of the healing breakage - a rare complication to a broken arm but maybe something that one could avoid - just a thought.

  • Have you asked Mrs Palmer and her 5 daughters?

  • be a man and walk it off

  • I shattered my wrist playing football a few years ago, but did go to surgery next day.

    Got a plate and screws, but wrist feels like new, with no movement restrictions at all.

    I went to a public hospital as a private patient, and the doctor was awesome.

    Also, I did all recommended exercises back then, but can't remember anymore.

    The guy that operated my wrist actually had a wrist with limited movement, because according to him, his doctor "wasn't as good as him" 🤣

    So yeah, I guess my point is, go see a good doctor and listen to what he says.

  • Physio, and Hand Therapist aside I was looking into alternative means of recovery for the wrist.

    I probably shouldn't of asked if I needed to see a Physio, because I was going to follow it up either way.

    Thanks

    • There are many alternative things you can do that are relatively low risk and low harm such as eating well, resting well, not putting strain on your hand, ensuring you brace it appropriately and train regularly.

      You may take vitamins, supplements etc. if you want. I personally don't see a point, nor do I think it works - but it's low risk, low harm.

      The only thing I'd advise against is seeing 101 different types of specialists of every branch of science and pseudoscience out there to heal what is relatively simple - a wrist injury. You do not want too many chefs stirring the pot.

  • Surgeons don't always know what physios do and therefore won't always know a good physio.

    See a physio and get back to your normal exercises asap

  • Surgical trainee here, have done orthopaedic roles in the past. Go see a physio. Even I see sport and rehab specialist doctors as well as physios when I'm injured.

    The analogy I use is just because you know how to squat doesn't mean you know how to implement a squatting regime to improve your technique and strength overtime. Even world class olympians have coaches, physios, doctors, rehab specialists to help them every single day - thinking you know better is a surefire way to ruin your chances of ever gaining back the initial mobility and strength you have.

  • Go see a physio. A proper one and not a chiropractor.

  • When I broke my wrist, my physio told me that I'd get a better outcome seeing an occupational therapist that deals with hand injuries and told me the details of the private clinic in town that did it.

    As it turned out, when the hospital's fracture clinic removed my cast, they referred me by default to the hospital's occupational therapist. The exercises they gave me helped a lot.

  • Physio?
    Hand therapist? I checked out a link above, and basically a hand therapist is a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist who specialises in hands.
    Occupational therapist?

    Which? I could probably see a few if need be, I'll ask my Dr too.

  • Think through the range of movement you wish to maintain how what movements may assist. I rehabed myself 2 weeks after fracturing my back. At 9 weeks I'm doing very well

  • You keep referencing orthopaedic surgeon … did you have surgery?
    If yes he should refer you for rehab (physio) if not then do what you want but it seems odd that you just had it set in cast after multiple fractures. My advice is make sure you ge tit fixed properly for the injury you sustained. That is your responsibility.

    • I saw two separate orthopaedic surgeons, because it was 50/50 surgery.

      They decided against surgery, as they didn't believe it would decrease the chance of certain long-term issues I may face and potentially down the track I will require surgery, but they hope that it's a low percentage with the way it's healing.