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Old 04-14-2012, 07:57 PM
Location: Kent County, DE
687 posts, read 2,407,822 times
Reputation: 420


fractured my left wrist 6 weeks ago and had surgery to implant plate and screws 5 days after the break. i have been getting therapy for three weeks now and although i have some improvement in movement, the swelling returns to my fingers and wrist as soon as i take off the wrap or compression glove. i keep my hand up as much as i possibly can but this puts pressure on my elbow and my upper arm and shoulder are sore as well.

anyone have experience with this injury who can give me some advice or recommendations.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:00 PM
1 posts, read 64,295 times
Reputation: 20
I am in the same situation. I shattered my right wrist on March 4. In therapy, I was told to drop my hand and swing my arm when walking.
I ice my hand 3 times a day after exercises.
Avoid tea and salty foods.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:07 AM
Location: Kent County, DE
687 posts, read 2,407,822 times
Reputation: 420
wow...salt I understand but tea? Anyway how are you doing now? I am wraping my hand at night and it seems to help but everything is very stiff and tight in the morning. Not weightbearing yet but can hold things now and I can type. A vast improvement.
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:28 PM
1 posts, read 63,079 times
Reputation: 19
Default swollen after wrist surgery

Originally Posted by from PA View Post
wow...salt I understand but tea? Anyway how are you doing now? I am wraping my hand at night and it seems to help but everything is very stiff and tight in the morning. Not weightbearing yet but can hold things now and I can type. A vast improvement.
I too have swelling 8 weeks after surgery. I have plates and screws as well. I was wondering if any of you got answers from your ortho surgeon? I have iced, done contrast baths, and therapy for 3 weeks so far. I hope I get answers on 2 days for my return appt. I am really tired of this injury holding me back!
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:10 AM
1 posts, read 62,260 times
Reputation: 21
Default Extended swelling - radial wrist fracture

Me too! Exactly 8 weeks post surgery for a distal radius fracture sustained in a fall down the stairs (Hurricane Sandy-related power outage, at least it's not my dominant hand). I was only in a cast for 13 days, then post-surgery had an ace-wrapped splint for about 5 weeks followed by a brace for another two. My swelling is still quite bad, particularly around the back of my wrist, and I can barely bend it backward at all, though the forward extension is slowly improving with PT (my incision is is on the inside of my wrist, so the swelling does not seem to be directly related to external scar tissue). My doc says that 1 in 10 have extended swelling, and lucky me, I seem to fall into that category. Has anyone experienced this and can tell me how long this will continue? My doc is of course declining to say. Icing helps a lot, but only for a little while afterwards. I started taking a daily Voltaren a week ago.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:36 PM
1 posts, read 61,786 times
Reputation: 25
I have a similar problem. Surgery around three weeks ago---everything seemed to be on track, but now swelling and discomfort, though removing the brace seems to help---worse at night. The wound seems to be clean, however, so I don't think it is due to infection--nevertheless it is an irritant and something that is holding me back. Any responses welcome. Thank you.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:58 PM
Location: Georgia, USA
16,849 posts, read 20,467,621 times
Reputation: 18599
Give it time, folks.

I fractured my distal radius in 1998. Had a small plate and three little screws inserted and external fixation rather than a cast. Stuck with the physical therapy and all is now well. I do not remember exactly how long the swelling took to resolve, but I was back at work in about six weeks. It was my right wrist, so I used the hand a lot. No arthritis, no pain, and I cannot tell when the weather is changing!
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:21 AM
Location: San Antonio, TX
9,713 posts, read 14,762,528 times
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When I broke my leg and had a plate and screws put in, the docs told me I'd have swelling for at least a year afterwards, which was pretty accurate. It still swells up if I walk too much in a day and it's been years.
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Old 08-27-2013, 02:44 PM
3 posts, read 73,053 times
Reputation: 34
Default shattered wrist

I shattered my wrist while mountain biking the Gosseberry Mesa in Southern Utah on June 20th this year. I had a very delayed onset of swelling.

I had to wait 4 days before surgery. One plate, 8-9 screws and two pins later I seemed to be all patched-up. I was in a soft cast for 2 weeks (No swelling yet. Even going to the gym regularly and training my good arm and doing no/low impact cardio) before I was fitted with a fiberglass cast. The cast -although very uncomfortable- fit quite well. Within a day of having the permanant cast put on, my hand started to swell. Once it reached the OMG level, I called my doctor. I was told that swelling was to be expected.

I did not call again because I thought I was just being a whimp. Even when my swelling became painful. My fingers became ultra sensative to heat and sunlight. Every little thing intensified the swelling and pain. My skin became transperant, tight and waxy looking. My knuckles looked like grapes. My flesh spilled over the cast but still I did not call. "Buck-up," I told myself.

Swelling got to it's worst point about 4 days before my appointment to have the cast removed (the 5&1/2 week mark)and more xrays. My arm felt like it would explode if the cast got any tighter. People at work were commenting saying how fake my hand looked and whincing when they looked at it. By then I figured it was too late to call, I could stand another four days.

The doctor took one look at my hand after the cast was removed and seemed concerned. He asked me to move it and there was nothing but a slight twitch in my fingers. He apologized for not giving me a follow-up call about the swelling. He said I was in need of hand therapy immediatly. After escorting me to the therapist he advised me to start taking vitamin C, 500 MG. He then apologized to the therapist for not having me in there sooner.

Turns out I have CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Turns out that early recognition and prompt treatment provide the greatest opportunity for recovery. To say I am bummed that they did not get me into treatment the day after I called about my swelling is an understatement. I have also found out that vitamin C has been shown to reduce the chance of CRPS after a wrist fracture and should be started ASAP, like when you pick up your pain meds for the injury itself. Better safe than sorry. I wish somebody would have told me that.

Long story short...If you have a broken wrist look up CRPS. If you have ANY syptoms call your doctor, ask about therapy while in your cast and ask about taking vitamin C. Don't put yourself three weeks behind like I did because of not wanting to be a "whimp".

I have a long painful, partial (hopefully full or almost full because I lead an active life that I will not give up without a fight)recovery ahead of me. A recovery that may have been a bit easier along with a better outcome had I been more vocal about how BAD the swelling really was.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:43 AM
1 posts, read 54,086 times
Reputation: 20
I am very interested in how you are progressing. I also fractured by right distal radius on 7/3/13, had surgery on 7/5 with a plate and 9 screws. Cast was removed apprx 4 wks after surgery and started PT. Have severe swelling which impacts my ability to move wrist, unable to make a fist. Stiffness and swelling generally return pretty quickly. While I have minimal wrist pain, I was diagnosed with CRPS last week. The Dr prescribed Gabapentin. After reading side effects, reluctant to start med's particuraly since my research to date refers to chronic pain as the primary sympton for RSD and I have more swelling and stiffness with minimal pain. Questioning if I really have RSD if other things associated with my injury are causing the issues. Interested in your progress.
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