Broken Wrist

Broken Wrist

Fractured Wrist

Broken Wrist

Common wrist fractures include:

  • Fractured Radius (see image)
  • Fractured Ulna
  • Colles Fracture (# Radius + # Ulna)
  • Fractured Carpals
    • Scaphoid Fracture (most common)
    • Lunate Fracture / Kienbock Disease
    • Capitate Fracture
    • Trapezium Fracture
    • Trapezoid Fracture
    • Triquetrum Fracture
    • Hamate Fracture
    • Pisiform Fracture

broken wrist

Each wrist fracture (broken wrist) needs specific rehabilitation based on injury type and fracture stability. Unstable fractures will almost always require surgical stabilisation. Stable fractures will be treated with a protective and supportive splint and monitored for appropriate fracture healing. If they show signs of instability, then your surgeon may consider operative stabilisation.

Based on that, it is very important to only perform the exercises prescribed by your Orthopaedic Surgeon or Physiotherapist. You should also wear your wrist splint/cast at all times unless advised otherwise by your physiotherapist or surgeon.

6 Weeks Post-Fracture General Guidelines

  • Splint/Cast. Do NOT remove the splint or bandage unless instructed.
  • No movement of the wrist. No AROM, PROM or Strengthening.
  • Physiotherapy for the wrist will commence once your fracture is stable and the cast is removed. Your surgeon will advise.
  • Restrictions: No lifting, pulling, pushing or weight bearing for 6 weeks.
  • No driving for 6 weeks. You are not insured!
  • You may type, write and feed yourself with a lightly loaded fork.
  • No sports or activities where you are at risk of falling onto your wrist.
  • You will begin active (AROM) and passive (PROM) of the fingers to prevent stiffness, reduce swelling and avoid Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Move your elbow and fingers through their full range of motion 10x/hour. These must be performed in the splint.
  • Vitamin C reduces the prevalence of CRPS after wrist fractures. A daily dose of 500 mg for fifty days is recommended. (Aïm et al 2017)
  • Your surgeon may re-Xray weekly to ensure that the fracture is healing correctly. In some cases, they may recommend surgery to stabilise the fracture if it is not healing appropriately.

Hand Swelling, Pain or Pins & Needles

Important

Each radius fracture (broken wrist) needs specific rehabilitation based on the injury type and fracture stability. Unstable fractures will almost always require surgical stabilisation. Stable fractures will be treated with a protective and supportive splint and monitored for appropriate fracture healing. If they show signs if instability, then your surgeon may consider operative stabilisation.

General Advice: First 6-Weeks Post-Fracture

The follwoing advice is general. Please seek to advice of your trusted helatcare professional.

  • Splint/Cast. Do NOT remove the splint or bandage unless instructed.
  • No movement of the wrist. No AROM, PROM or Strengthening.
  • Physiotherapy for the wrist will commence once your fracture is stable and the cast is removed. Your surgeon will advise.
  • Restrictions: No lifting, pulling, pushing or weight bearing for 6 weeks.
  • No driving for 6 weeks. You are not insured!
  • You may type, write and feed yourself with lightly loaded fork.
  • No sports or activities where you are at risk of falling onto your wrist.
  • You will begin active (AROM) and passive (PROM) of the fingers to prevent stiffness, reduce swelling and avoid Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Move your elbow and fingers through their full range of motion 10x/hour. These must be performed in the splint.
  • Vitamin C reduces the prevalence of CRPS after wrist fractures. A daily dose of 500 mg for fifty days is recommended. (Aïm et al 2017)
  • Your surgeon may re-Xray weekly to ensure that the fracture is healing correctly. In some cases, they may recommend surgery to stabilise the fracture if it is not healing appropriately.

Beware of CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome)

Hand Swelling, Pain or Pins & Needles

It is extremely important to prevent hand and finger swelling post-fracture. Near permanent elevation (high arm sling) and regular finger and upper arm movement while protecting the fracture is the key. CRPS is a very significant and painful complication that can complicate your rehabilitation. Carpal tunnel syndrome which may present as pins and needles to your hand. Please report any increase in swelling, pins and needles, or pain to your physiotherapist or doctor ASAP.

It is extremely important to prevent hand and finger swelling post-fracture. Near permanent elevation (high arm sling) and regular finger and upper arm movement while protecting the fracture is the key. CRPS is a very significant and painful complication that can complicate your rehabilitation. Carpal tunnel syndrome which may present as pins and needles to your hand. Please report any increase in swelling, pins and needles, or pain to your physiotherapist or doctor ASAP.

Post-Fracture Exercises

Post-fracture exercises are specific to your fracture and should be performed after assessment and guidance from your healthcare professional. Based on that, it is very important to only perform the exercises prescribed by your Orthopaedic Surgeon or Physiotherapist. You should also wear your wrist split/cast at all times unless advised otherwise by your physiotherapist or surgeon.

Do your exercises on a frequent basis throughout the day. Multiple sessions of short duration are generally better than longer sessions done only once or twice.

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