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broken wrist--healing, riding and experiences?

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  • broken wrist--healing, riding and experiences?


    there will be errors -- tapping w/one finger on l. h.

    really just looking for shared experiences---
    broke wrst slipping getting out of tub.
    so far, been to e.r., and got x rays splint--saw orthopd. surgeon's p.a. 3 days later. he said surgeon saw films and suggested surgery---i asked if it was possible if this might heal fine without surgery, with just a cast. ---since it is only the large bone broken, straight through, seems very lined up---(p.a. relayed that to be true? but said it is 'compressed'? and that is why surgeon suggested the surgery)

    anyway. i've had back surgery, and i'm determined to at lest try this without that route first. so, for now---i have a hard cast and will be re checked in 2 days (one full week in cast)

    can anyone with a wrist break share your experiences? how did healing and recoup go for you? How soon/long before you rode? while i thought maybe soon i could longe him to keep him worked while i'm mending, idunno? that seems even more strenuous on the hand/wrist? sigh. heck--i'm not even sure how soon i can DRIVE to get out to the barn. my big 250 diesel will be even harder than most to manuvere/ park! with only one hand, and it being my left one to boot.

    yeah. it could have been much worse. and yeah...i'm feeling sorry for myself.
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett

  • #2
    I broke mine almost two years ago & my warning to you is to make sure that the cast itself isn't compressing the tissues, joints, & bones! My hand was squeezed narrow, as well as the tissue atop the wrist! Stick your fingers in between the fingers of broken wrist; it should be as roomy at the base of the fingers as with the unbroken side.

    Also, be warned about "physical therapists" who do nothing beneficial with their manipulations; au contraire, they're hard on the body - OUCH! I've heard from others that their pt's were doing more harm than good, as well.


    • #3
      I broke mine without health insurance. I came off a horse badly and went to the ER, but they never checked my wrist. I went to a chiropractic college a week later and got an x-ray--the break was so big they wanted to keep the x-ray as a teaching tool.

      I got it cast and rode right away, even showing in a double. I also kind of carved back the thumb part of the cast so I could move it. I don't suggest doing that. It took five months for it to heal.

      I figured out how to do everything I needed to do, but because I was moving it so much, it took a really long time to heal. If yours is compressed, squished, that may be a whole other thing. Mine was just pieces really far apart.

      The problem with wrists is there is very little circulation there, so it takes a long time to heal. Good luck.


      • #4
        I broke my right wrist in '04, slipped on ice. The doc said we could try just casting it but after a month of it still hurting and seeing the X-ray which showed it was healing every so slightly out of alignment, I had a plate put in. Two days after surgery, I could turn my hand without the 'internal' pain and once the stitches healed, I was starting rehab. If you have any chance that the bone won't heal completely straight, I'd opt for surgery. If I had just gone ahead and done the surgery, I could have avoided a month of pain and instead been on my way to having my arm back. JMHO.
        R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
        36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever


        • #5
          The trouble with wrists is that they have many little bones that have to line up perfectly to work seamlessly over years.

          If your break is not interfering with wrist function and nothing else is disturbed, you may be fine.

          If you end up as I did, with the bones not aligning right, many years later, you may have to get much more serious surgery to have any wrist function and no pain.

          At least give listening to the surgeon a try, see what you have there.

          I know, seven screws and a plate and a rebuilt wrist once past 60 is no fun, when having tended to it right when it happened would have mitigated any later problems.

          By the way, it took my initial injury 10 years to heal completely, where the wrist didn't hurt.
          Wrists are a pain, literally.

          Look at the x-rays and all those little bones and how much movement they have and you can imagine why there are hand specialists surgeons, it is a complicated joint.
          Be sure you are in the care of a specialist if necessary, as some of those are not surgeries for your every day surgeon.

          The good part, wrists are a long way from your heart and we don't have to walk on our hands.
          A nuisance, but you can keep doing most everything, one way or another, unlike with a broken leg or ribs.


          • #6
            Broke my ulna cleanly, so mine was less serious than the radius that you broke. No surgery, I had a cast for 8 weeks, and then maybe 3-4 sessions of PT. Really, everyone's break and healing time is going to be unique.
            Couple comments though--I tried driving that 1st week post-break and immediately realized my mistake. Just think about how many different ways you need to twist your hands/wrists when steering, opening doors, etc. So you will find yourself doing stuff that makes you fight the cast, which is putting strain on your wrist within that cast. And it just felt really unsafe, I felt like I wasn't going to be able to get out of a dangerous situation if someone cut me off or whatever. I did start driving with a cast about 3 weeks after--my arm just felt so much stronger, no pain, I didn't have swollen sausage-fingers anymore etc. And I did ride a few times before I got my cast off-- easy hacks I don't think I cantered or not much.
            Dunno about longeing-- maybe ok if the horse is pushbutton on the line, you can do it entirely left handed, and without needing to flick or otherwise manipulate the longe whip. Chances are he's going to be extra fresh since you won't be riding. Bottom line, you can get away with doing some stuff, but just resign yourself to a lot of limitations. You'll survive, it's probably only a couple months even with surgery. I'd take that time now, rather than screw around with an extra long healing time (and future arthritis) from overuse.

            For me the most irritating thing about it all-- couldn't shave my underarm. I finally made my husband do it, it was just driving me CRAZY. LOL


            • #7
              Go over to the para equestrian thread; there's a discussion of wrists there... I'm three weeks out of the cast and in a brace; doing exercises on my own at the moment. Flexibility's coming back but no strength to speak of. If your fx is compressed,as mine was, I don't see why you'd need a plate ? But if you overdo it, you might end up hAving to get one.
              Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.


              • #8
                Get a second opinion. And keep the x-ray appointments.

                The short story: I broke my wrist, splinted it, left the splint on for 6 weeks, and then removed the splint. A few weeks later I tripped over a rock, re-broke it and drove myself to the ER, where they splinted it again. The next day I went to a 2 surgeon orthopedic practice. The young surgeon found three fractures from the wrist into the hand, and wanted surgery. I wanted the cast. We battled back and forth so he grabbed the x-rays and literally ran down the hall to the senior surgeon for back-up. He said it could go either way, so I got the cast for 8 weeks, and because I am a musician, I had x-rays done every week. If anything moved, it meant surgery. It healed well, I was sent home with pt exercises to do, and that was that.

                It took months to build up the strength in my wrist and hand, my hand position for riding magically improved tremendously, and my flute/piano playing is fine. It doesn't even ache in the cold. The young surgeon left the older surgeon's practice, he did a lot of surgeries, became one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the state (that takes a lot of surgeries to do--I'm glad I wasn't one of them), and 2 years ago oversaw the imaging and pt to fix my dislocated knee--the orthopedic surgeon in the ER had already rammed it back into place and splinted it before I got to my own doctor. He had no recollection of ever having seen me, and this time he was to one opting to bypass surgery. He thought I could live well without surgery, and with my lifestyle, I would be fine. He was right. With age and practice, one develops a conservative approach.

                So if you've got a young gun hot to do surgery, take your images to an older, more experienced surgeon and have him or her give you a second opinion.
                "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                • #9
                  I broke my distal radius last year, it was a long angled break versus straight across so it was set with my wrist at an angle (picture your hand angled down and back) to hold the bones together instead of just a regular cast. Two weeks in a cast over my elbow, 4 with one below the elbow. I couldn't ride with the cast on because of the angle of my hand. I didn't lunge either because I didn't feel safe if something went wrong. Started PT two days after the cast came off, rode three weeks after that.

                  The biggest issue was not the break ultimately, it was that the tendons and ligaments became so inflexible I couldn't close my hand until about three weeks out of the cast. It is now 11 months later and I can ride with no problem but the tendons that run down my hand and fingers are still very stiff and I have a hard time closing my hand at the beginning and end of the day. (I also have a hard time typing now, I have made about 1 million mistakes just typing this!)

                  My words of wisdom are to do EVERYTHING they tell you to do. EVERYTHING. I also ate a lot of broccoli and drank a lot of O.J. as bot promote bone healing and I took 2 different homeopathic bone healing pills every day. I was determined to heal. The Dr. was surprised I think that it only took 6 weeks, he was sure it would take 8. I think it also matters how old you are. I am in my 40's so recovery is harder than if I was in my 20's I think.

                  Good luck. It totally stinks but you'll get through it...


                  • #10
                    If it's not in perfect alignment, get it fixed. I broke my arm at age 12, it wasn't put back together, and now I'm a 20-something with chronic wrist pain and poor range of motion--to the point where it may affect my career. Wouldn't wish it on anyone.

                    That said, I definitely rode in a cast after about 4 weeks of healing.
                    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                    • Original Poster

                      thanks all. of course each situation is different but it does help to read your suggestions and experiences. one week in hard cast review is tomorrow--hoping for a good review--keep your fingers crossed! (ouch. just the thought. )
                      "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                      --Jimmy Buffett


                      • #12
                        I broke my arm at the wrist 6? years ago. I opted for the surgery and I have full rotation and flexation on my wrist - probably would not if we had just casted it and I would be looking at arthritis in the future.

                        Honestly, there is nothing wrong with going in for surgery. I would rather it over a hard cast. I had a removable splint that I could take off for a shower. I think I was in a splint for 6 weeks, then 2 more weeks whenever I was doing anything strenuous. Mine was an outpatient surgery (I wasn't put all the way under, my arm was blocked and I was asleep so recovery was quick and painless). I was in an out fairly quickly. I had 3 or 4 pins put in the wrist (external) that were later removed in the Dr's office.

                        It was weak and painful, but once the Dr gave the okay I did my PT and worked through any pain - I think I only had to do 2 sessions of PT (I did all my exercises and stretched it exactly how they said) I went back to my usual routine. I did lunge horse with one hand while I was still unable to ride. I think I rode 1.5 handed once I was given the okay to ride again, it was so weak and sore whenever I had to use my rein