My name is Ricardo, and I am from Portugal. In 2007, I broke both wrists after falling from a building. This is my story.
The reason I wrote this article is that I broke both my wrists in a terrible accident in 2007 and found very little information online about injuries like mine. I decided to write about what happened to me, in order to help other people in my situation. I hope you find this useful.
Below you'll be able to read more about my story, but first, some information on the healing time of wrist fractures.
Broken Wrist Recovery Time
Time for bone to fully mend
3 - 10 weeks, depending on severity of fracture
8 weeks or longer
Length of time in cast
For a half-cast, 3 - 4 weeks; for a full cast, 6 - 10 weeks
6 - 8 weeks, depending on fracture
Stiffness and immobility after removal
Joint will be stiff 2 - 3 weeks after cast is removed
Depending on the case, pain and stiffness will persist for several months and possibly years
Usually not needed
Likely needed, depending on the fracture
How Long Will Healing Take?
If you're reading this article, you probably want to know how long it takes for a broken wrist to heal.
Generally, recovery for adults takes about six to eight weeks (shorter for children and longer for the elderly or for more severe fractures).1 Everyone's situation is different. My recovery took longer than most (obviously) due to the severity of my injury (you can read about my story down below).
Recovery can mean different things, however. Though the bones may be healed at eight weeks, full recovery could be a much longer and difficult process, especially for adults and older adults. You should expect (depending on the severity of your injury), a huge reduction in mobility and a lot of stiffness. You will have to work hard in order to regain all of the use of your hand and wrist, but don't give up! It will be worth it. See the comments section to learn about other peoples' experiences and ask your own questions.
Here are some more details:
- The plaster cast will stay on until the bone has healed, but the exact length of healing time depends on the type of fracture, whether it has damaged the surrounding tissues, and the age of the patient.
- A young child who broke his or her wrist may need to wear a cast or removable splint for just two to three weeks. For older people or more complicated fractures, a wrist injury can take a lot longer to get back to normal and stiffness is extremely common.
- Be sure to follow instructions on how to take care of your cast. Most importantly, don’t get it wet. The orthopaedic doctors will decide when you can take the cast off and when you can return to normal activities or work.
- Your arm is often stiff and weak after being in a cast. Physiotherapy can be useful to help build up strength in the arm muscles and restore full movement, as in my case. However, this is rarely needed for children (guess I’m not a kid anymore!)
- There’s a higher chance of re-breaking or cracking the bone once the plaster is removed, especially in children, so kids should avoid trampolines, bouncy castles, soft play areas, and contact sports for a further four to six weeks to be safe.2
- Also, you shouldn’t drive in a cast. Talk to your doctor about when you can drive again.3
When I Can Resume Normal Activities?
Everyone wants to know when and if they can return to their former activities after suffering from a broken wrist. This is a great question which seems simple but actually has a complex answer.
Most patients do return to all of their former activities, but what happens in your case depends on the nature of your injury, the kind of treatment you and your doctors decide on, and how your body responds to the treatment.
You’ll need to discuss your case with your doctor for specifics, but in general most of the following are true:4
- Most patients have their cast taken off within six to eight weeks.
- If recommended by the doctor, patients will start physiotherapy within a few days or weeks after surgery, or right after the last cast is taken off.
- Most patients will be able to resume light activities such as swimming or working out the lower body within a month or two after the cast is taken off, or after surgery.
- Most patients can resume vigorous physical activities, such as skiing or football, between three and six months after the injury.
- Almost all patients will have some stiffness in their wrist, which will generally diminish in the month or two after the cast is taken off or after surgery. Wrist flexibility will continue to improve for at least two years (this is for adults).
- You should expect your recovery to take at least a year, and most will still feel some pain during vigorous activities for about that long. You should also expect residual stiffness or aches for two years or possibly permanently, especially for high impact injuries (such as motorcycle crashes), or if you are over 50 or have some osteoarthritis.
- The good news is that the stiffness is usually minor and may not affect the overall function of the arm. Remember that these are general guidelines and may not apply to you and your fracture. Ask your doctor for specifics in your case.
Timeline of Surgeries and Recovery After I Broke My Wrists
|When||What Happened||How My Wrists Felt|
Day of the accident
Emergency surgery: Doctors fixed both wrists with titanium plates and screws and put an external fixation on right wrist that was attached to both the radius and forefinger metacarpal bones by four screws, two in each bone
Due to morphine, I have no memory of pain during the first week. It was only after returning to Portugal (and having the morphine stopped) that the pain showed up, and what a show it was :/. I had to take some painkillers like algimate and tramadol but soon realized they had serious side effects and haven't taken any chemical drugs since.
Two months after accident
External fixation was removed and I started daily physiotherapy. Started to see good results with physiotherapy
For me, physiotherapy was the most painful part of the process. But every session I knew what was going to happen, and I went anyway. You can call me masochist but I learned to love and embrace the pain resulting from all the hard work.
Two months and one week after accident
Got a spike removed because it was starting to poke through skin
I'm not sure if what I felt when they took the metal pin out was really pain. Perhaps I can call it mental pain because it felt strange to watch the guy pulling a metal spike from my skin like a mechanic working on some vehicle. It was just a strange feeling.
Seven months after accident
Surgery to remove titanium plates from both wrists and get a new one on my right wrist to keep it from moving incorrectly; cut distal end from right cubitus bone to allow wrist to rotate
It's not easy to explain what went through my head during this time — perhaps only those who have gone through it can understand. There are too many things to even start counting.
Two years and three months after accident
Surgery to add two titanium plates to left wrist to correct left hand's position, did not improve mobility
At this time I was much more adapted to my new reality and my thoughts about it were much more positive forward-looking. My pain was also under control.
Four years after accident
Able to read, write, and ride my bike almost like I could before the accident
What can I say!? I guess I was and am a good patient. I tried to study myself like I never did before and I now know and understand myself much better.
My Experience With Broken Wrists and Surgery
In July 2007, I was on a mountain biking trip in the French Alps and fell from the balcony of the second floor of a building. Unfortunately it wasn’t as exciting as a bike crash, and no, I didn't try to kill myself (in case you were wondering).
After I fell, I had to get up all by myself and go upstairs to go back to the second floor where my friends were. I still don’t know where I found the strength to search for my friends and get their help. I guess my love for life certainly helped!
When I finally reached my friends, they called the paramedics and I was taken to the hospital right away. Well . . . almost right away. We actually had to stop twice to get some money from an ATM since the ambulance would only take me to the hospital after I paid for the service.
Due to the severity of the fractures, I had to be operated on as soon as I got to the hospital.
During this surgery (the first of three), doctors fixed both my wrists with titanium plates and screws, and they also put an external fixation on my right wrist. This external equipment was attached to both the radius and forefinger metacarpal bones by four screws, two in each bone.
Back in Portugal (where I’m from), the external fixation was removed two months after the operation. They took it out without any anesthesia which made it an unforgettable moment for me (as in it was extremely painful).
At this point, I started daily physiotherapy sessions and immediately began to see good results.
One week later, I went to hospital again. This time it was to have a little spike that the doctor had put in removed because it was starting to push through my skin. I also had no anesthetic this time and it was pretty painful, but by now I was learning how to enjoy it.
X-rays After the First Surgery
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
Almost seven months after the accident, I had to be operated on yet again to remove the titanium plates from both wrists and get a new one on my right wrist to keep it from moving incorrectly. In order to allow the right hand to rotate, they also cut the distal end from my right cubitus bone. This was my third surgery. Not fun!
Even though I was much better, I still needed at least one more operation to have my left wrist put back in place. That surgery, unfortunately, could only happen when I got some significant time off work.
Yes, that’s right—I’d be spending my next vacation in the hospital.
In October 2009, I went through that surgery, which I hoped to be my last, and my surgeon believed that my left wrist would be able to regain its mobility after correcting its position.
This time I only had local anesthesia which allowed a much faster recovery, and I started moving my fingers by the end of the day. It also allowed me to watch the entire process without any pain. However, it did take more than two hours and I almost fell asleep during the surgery . . .
The operation team decided to add two titanium plates to my wrist and put it back into its natural position. This by itself made a big difference and I could finally grab my bicycle's handlebars.
The bad news is that it did not improve my wrist mobility, but I had been expecting this. In the last appointment before the surgery, I even suggested to my doctor that he completely secure my wrist like he’d done with my right one, but he told me there was a chance of improvement with the left one.
Unfortunately, I still don´t have good quality digitalizations of the X-rays because they never gave me the original ones. The pictures below were digitized from a paper copy, so I apologize for the poor quality.
Four years after the accident, I can work, write, ride my bike, and do normal, everyday tasks.
If I’m being completely honest, however, I can’t do everything I did before. On the other hand, now that I’ve had to re-learn some things, I do them even better.
X-ray From Right Wrist After the Last Surgery
After breaking my wrist, I searched for help and information online from people who’d had similar experiences but found very few people sharing their broken wrist stories.
I hope this article helps other people going through the same kind of injury. Writing it down and sharing it with everybody certainly helped me debrief the experience.
I hope this helped you as you're recovering from a broken wrist. It does get better. Feel free to leave some of your experiences and advice in the comments section.
More Information on Wrist Fractures
The wrist is one of the most commonly broken bones — in the United States, one out of every ten bones is a broken wrist.4
Seventy-five percent of wrist injuries are fractures of the distal radius and ulna. Distal means the end of the bone closest to the wrist. The eight carpal bones (the bones between the arm bone and the hand) are injured less frequently.
In general, there are four main kinds of fractures which are:5
- Simple or closed fractures: an easily treated break with little damage to the surrounding tissue.
- Compound or open fractures: a complicated break that also damages the surrounding skin.
- Comminuted: a comminuted fracture means the bone has broken into several pieces. Note: This is the kind of fracture that I had.
- Greenstick: this type is usually most common in children. Greenstick is a type of fracture where the bone is bent but not broken.
Hairline fractures are minor cracks to the bone and only show up on an X-ray. An impacted fracture is when the ends of bones are driven into one another.
Wrist fractures are most common in children and young adults, especially if they're involved in risk-taking activities. They also become common as people get older, when we are more likely to fall or suffer from osteoporosis, which increases the likelihood of breaking a bone.
It’s also true that this kind of fracture can sometimes save lives. If I had landed in any other way when I fell, I probably would have broken my neck. In some ways, my wrists were the parachute that softened the fall, though at a fairly big cost!
Usually you know if you've broken your arm or wrist bone because it will be extremely painful.1
If it's a clean break, you may have heard a snap or a grinding noise during the accident. The bone can break in several different ways, including straight across, diagonally, or in a spiral pattern. In severe cases, the bone may break into many pieces (comminuted), stick out at an angle, or poke through the skin (open or compound fracture).
Some things to look for if you think you may have broken your wrist are:
- Swelling or tenderness around the injured area
- Bleeding if the bone has damaged the tissue and skin
- Pain, especially when flexing the wrist
- Your wrist looks bent or crooked
- Your wrist, arm, or hand is numb
- Your fingers are pale
Presence of these symptoms is not a guarantee that there’s a fracture. A sprained wrist can feel similarly and an X-ray is the only way to find out what happened.
If you’ve suffered an injury to your arm or wrist that has lasting pain, you should go to a doctor to have X-rays taken. It might only be a sprain, but it’s better to be safe than to risk more injury.
What to Do
If you or someone in your care has broken their wrist, here are some guidelines to follow:6
- Don't eat or drink anything if you think you've broken your wrist, as you may need a general anaesthetic (be put to sleep) to allow doctors to realign the bone. This process can be very painful to do so while you're awake.
- A sling will help stabilise the arm while you're on the way to the hospital. The sling should go under the arm and then around the neck. Don’t try to straighten your wrist.
- Apply an ice pack to the injured area (try a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel). Ice can help reduce pain and swelling.
- If the injury is to a child, try to find someone to drive and someone else to support and comfort the child.
What to Expect From Treatment
A broken arm or wrist treatment differs depending on how bad the injury is. Here's what will happen as you go through the process:6
- A doctor will give you painkillers and then fix a splint to the arm to secure it in position and prevent further damage.
- An X-ray will be taken of the arm to see what kind of fracture it is. Even hairline fractures should show faintly on X-ray.
- A simple fracture where the bone remains aligned can be treated by applying a plaster cast. This holds the broken ends together so they can heal. You should be provided with painkillers to take home and information on how to look after your cast, and you’ll probably make an appointment to attend a fracture clinic so specialist orthopaedic doctors can take over the care of your fracture.
- With more severe arm or wrist fractures, the bones can become misaligned (displaced). If the bone is not realigned (reduced), the bones will not heal well. Doctors can use a technique called 'closed reduction' to pull the bones back into position.
- Local or regional anesthetic will be used to numb the arm (this is rarely used in children), or you will be put to sleep using a general anaesthetic. If doctors are happy with the bones' new position, you may be treated with a plaster cast and regular follow-up appointments and X-rays.
- Certain fractures are best treated with surgery to realign and fix the broken bones (as in my case because it was so severe). This includes displaced fractures, fractures involving a joint, and open fractures. Surgeons can fix bones with wires, plates, screws, or rods. This is called open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). Any metalwork is usually not removed unless it becomes a problem.
- In rare cases (like mine) an external frame is used to hold the broken bones, known as an external fixator.
- After most surgeries, a plaster cast is applied to protect the wrist. A sling may also be provided for comfort. If you have surgery, you will usually be able to go home within a day or two. You might need a second cast if the first one gets too loose after the swelling goes away.
- You'll likely get regular X-rays to make sure your wrist is healing normally
Helping a Broken Wrist Heal
Though only time will let your bone heal fully, there are some things you can do to help ease the pain and decrease healing time.1, 6
- Elevate your wrist above the level of your heart by putting it on a pillow or on some other surface for the first few days to help ease pain and swelling.
- Ice your wrist for 15-20 minutes about two or three times a day for two to three days. Make sure you keep your cast or splint dry.
- Take OTC painkillers. Ask your doctor about the ones that are the safest for you to take — some of them have side effects with overuse.
- Ask your doctor about stretching or strengthening exercises for your hands.
- Avoid putting weight or strain on your arm — you don't have to stop moving it completely, but you should avoid carrying heavy things and driving.
- If you notice anything unusual about your wrist — strange sensations, odd hand color, signs of infection, problems with your cast, numbness in your fingers, or severe or continuous pain, you should speak with your doctor.
I wish you a speedy recovery!
- Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian. "Colles' Fracture (Distal Radius Fracture or Broken Wrist)" January 26, 2017. WebMD. Accessed May 29, 2017.
- Grewal, Preeti RN, MN, APN and William Cole MBBS, MSc, PhD, FRACS, FRCSC. "Wrist Fracture." November 10, 2009. Accessed May 29, 2017.
- Hoffman, Jan. "When Is It Safe to Drive After Breaking a Bone?" December 3, 2013. NYTimes Well Blog. Accessed May 29, 2017.
- "Distal Radius Fractures (Broken Wrist)" March 2013. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Accessed May 29, 2017.
- "Fractures (Broken Bones)" October 2012. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Accessed May 29, 2017.
- "Broken Arm or Wrist." January 25, 2017. National Health Service UK. Accessed May 29, 2017.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on April 10, 2020:
Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing your experience with us. Glad to know you're getting close to full recovery, keep your spirit vibrating high! :)
Sarah R on April 09, 2020:
I am one of the unfortunate souls who has broken both wrists at the same time. I am also a massage therapist. Double whammy. My breaks occurred during a freak accident at my gym. One of my favorite places! Ugh. Anyway, I knew immediately that I had broken or at least severely damaged my wrists. It could have been a lot worse though, so I’m grateful I didn’t break my neck or back. I had a 185# barbell roll out of my hands in the wrong direction. Ouch.
I think I’m fortunate because although I had to have both my radius and ulna set and casted, I did not need to have surgery. I am now on week 6 of recovery with braces only and I’ve been working on flexibility and ROM on my own (thanks Covid 19)
It has been a trying experience but I knew it was what is was and there was nothing I could do but try to stay positive. I can’t wait to get back to Olympic weight lifting and massage therapy! It’s what I love.
JJVD on November 26, 2018:
It took over a year to fully recover. The doctors told me one year, but I obtained more flexibility even after 12 months. I had quite a bit of nerve damage in my thumb and forefinger in my left hand, and I’ve recovered about 85% of the sensation after 15 months. I’ve recovered about 90% of the flexibility I had before the accident. I still have pain when I place a lot of pressure on my wrists, but I can easily do things like push ups. I try and stretch them every morning and they often make cracking sounds. One long-term effect is that I have slightly less sensitivity in terms of fine motor skills. I’m a little slow and awkward at tasks like tying knots and picking up small things like a crumb. I also have a hard time opening certain packaging (couldn’t they make these things a little easier!) I’m not sure if these issues will last forever, but I’m pretty used to them.
Whatever your condition, I would offer a few pieces of advice:
Be your own advocate for your care from the very beginning, and if you can, have someone else present for meetings with doctors. It’s easy to forget or misinterpret what they say when you’re in pain. It’s your body and you know it best. You can also record these meetings (I do that using voice memos on an iPhone). These recordings are useful in keeping track of what is happening. Be kind but be assertive when things are still not up to your expectations.
Organize a team to help you with basic tasks during the first four-six weeks. Get this set up as soon and as far in advance as you can. You can always cancel but the last thing you want is to be stuck with the inability to do something crucial for your recovery. I was amazed by how many people wanted to help (and, frankly, surprised by a few friends who didn’t, but ce la vie). Social media was useful here (a person with both arms in slings makes quite a dramatic photo). I caught up with a lot of friends and family as they were feeding me! I had to get used to other people showering me, but I’m not very modest so this was ok for me, but try and figure out what works for you. If you have a primary caregiver helping you out, make sure they get a break, too! It’s hard on them as well.
Early on, organize your living and working spaces so that there are no obstacles that might cause you to fall again. You can’t brace your fall with a broken wrist! Learn how to move carefully and intentionally so that you avoid obstacles. Don’t rush as you move around.
If it’s hot outside, try and find a cool space or use air conditioning in those first weeks and after your surgery. You don’t want to be swelling up even more from the heat. Keep those wrists elevated and keep this fingers moving!
Stay active. This helped me so much. Figure out ways to move the rest of your body and keep the blood flowing. Make sure you’re moving your shoulders so that you don’t get “frozen shoulder.” Even take little walks around the house if you can. I found this reduced pain, hastened my recovery, and allowed me to use over-the-counter pain relievers and medical marijuana rather than getting stuck with oxy-type drugs, which also had the effect of making me want to totally veg out, which caused me to feel worse and want more pain relievers.
Finally, just keep in mind that the mental effects can be as hard to deal with as the physical effects. Long after I looked “fine” on the outside and could perform all major tasks again, I still had pain and felt emotionally pretty lousy. I had constant fears of falling and could easily get distracted by these thoughts. Being incapacitated effected my physical and emotional confidence and I had to take care to build it back. Now that I’ve gotten through that phase, I see how normal that was and I’m being less hard on myself. If you can, try and talk to others who have recovered from accidents. It’s ok to not feel great about what happened to you. But, also be kind to yourself for what you’ve been through. Meditation, patience, and persistence were useful tools. You can learn a lot from a setback. Once you feel better, it can also feel great to extend a hand to someone else in need and return the favor.
Best of luck everyone! Thank you for this forum and for your helpful advice!
JJVD on November 26, 2018:
I am one of the unusual people who broke both of my wrists at once. In May 2017, I had an accident at my gym and was slammed to the ground with great force. My wrists broke my fall or I may have been much worse — broken my ribs or even my neck. Despite this “good fortune,” the breaks were quite bad (my left wrist was nearly shattered) I was not prepared to have both arms incapacitated for months.
I live in New York City and luckily, the emergency team showed up within ten minutes. It was a Sunday night and the hospital was busy and a bit understaffed. I had my partner with me the whole time, so we were able to manage my care together as we waited many hours even for X-rays. I tried to limit the pain meds they gave me so that I could still be alert enough to know what was going on. We tried to advocate for my care from the very beginning and be friendly but firm with the staff. I was a bit of a curiosity as it’s very unusual for someone to break both wrists at once.
The radiologist told me right away that I would need surgery, but the attending doctors were less sure. Once they received my XRays, the next step was to reset the bones. My hands were hanging at odd angles off my body. They had splints on them but I could see my fingers — I had an urge to keep my fingers moving, and I was told this was a good thing.
After waiting about 6 hours, they assembled a team of 4 physicians to reset the bones — two to hold my arms back, and two to pull my hands in place. At one point the physicians were joking with one another about the process, as if I wasn’t there, and I ask them politely not to do so. I’m an artist working in painting and performance, so my hands are my tools, something I told them and would also remind my surgeons multiple times in preparation for the surgery. The team tried to use propophyl to sedate me, but I am a tall, muscular guy and this didn’t seem to be strong enough. One physician decided to use ketamine, which worked well and may have contributed to me feeling rather euphoric for a few days. I have very little memory of them re-setting my bones, but my partner tells me my screaming could be heard all over the hospital. They sent me home in two partial casts/ace wraps from elbow to fingers, making my elbows mostly immobile.
I was able to meet with a surgeon the next day. He told me my accident was quite serious and confirmed that I would need surgery in both wrists. He recommended I elevate my wrists as much as possible, and keep my fingers moving, but of course avoid any other activity that would effect my wrists. I decided not to take the oxycontin they prescribed, recognizing its addictive effects can kick in quite quickly, and managed my pain through acetaminofin, ibuprofen, and some marijuana. I asked my partner and caregivers to keep track of my pill intake, which we timed and wrote down on a pad of paper in the kitchen. I was quite ready for the next dose as they wore off.
I found that staying active was the biggest factor in decreasing my pain. Packing my arms and hands with ice packs was also helpful. At the drug store, we bought some reuseable ice gel packs that were a sort of sleeve. It was a warm week and the ice was very soothing, even if it didn’t exactly come through my splints. I tried to move around the house as much as possible and move my shoulders and legs.
However, I also had to keep a very careful eye on my movement. Any loss of balance or an obstacle in the room was a real danger, because I would not have been able to break my fall if I were to lose my balance. My partner spent some time arranging the apartment to avoid such issues. I enjoyed walking outside (and with two arms in slings I got a lot of attention, which was fun for a while), but we avoided busy and crowded areas and went very slowly so that I wouldn’t slip.
Of course, what you’re not prepared for with two immobile wrists is that you need constant care and support. I couldn’t feed myself, dress myself, open a door, brush my teeth, or perform countless other activities that we take for granted. My partner works full time, so he got a day off, and we used that first day to “rally the troops.” It’s no time to be shy and we pulled together a team as quickly as possible, covering the next week. In my case, more people was better because it was a lot for one person. I work with some dancers in my work and they were terrific — besides having flexible schedules, they gave me good advice on how to use my body differently.
Getting a long list of people in advance is really helpful. Luckily, I could still send text messages with one finger, and that made it possible for me to organize some of these things on my own. Having the company was also really helpful, as it was quite a shock to be so incapacitated. Those first weeks are critical for assistance and support.
We made sure the house was well stocked with things like straws, so that I could drink from a cup by leaning over. We bought some special plastic covers made for the arms so that I could shower. These were hard to maneuver and expensive, but still far easier than trying to use plastic bags.
Nine days after the accident, I had my surgery. The waiting time was due to the complexity of organizing surgery on two arms at once. The doctors had ordered an MRI, through which they realized that my left wrist was far worse then they expected. They thought they might need external hardware on that wrist, but were able to manage with pins, plates, and screws internally in both wrists.
The first day after surgery I was quite out of it, and my pain was generally worse than the the first week. My hands turned purple and swelled up. I elevated as much as possible and kept my fingers moving. I was so excited not to have my elbows constricted (my post-surgery casts let my elbows free) that I began to move my elbows as much as possible. This wasn’t the best idea as the next day I had terrible pain in both — it was a shock to my body and perhaps they had “calcified.” This was actually worse than the pain in my wrists. The pain was hard for a few days, but I continued to manage without Okycontin, and by day four it was fairly manageable. Again, I must emphasize that staying active really helped! Just walking back and forth around the house got the blood flowing and I noticed that the pain lessened as I stayed active. Elevate your wrists and move your fingers as much as possible without causing damage.
I went back to work about a month after the accident, still in a condition to not be able to open doors or carry much. In retrospect, if there was any way I could have waited an extra week or two, I think I would have been stir crazy but a bit happier. I am a professor and it was very hard to manage getting around campus and focusing on working with students. My own recovery was very absorbing. Of course, I think this varies depending upon the severity of your accident.
After a couple more weeks, the surgeon removed my splints. This was the first time I saw my hands and arms after the accident, and I wasn’t ready for the shock. They were so emaciated and misshapen and black and blue, as well as covered with iodine stains from the surgery. I have a supportive friend who is not at all bothered by such things and she photographed them for me, something I’m glad I have a document of now. At this point I had removable braces. We cut up a bunch of old socks to wear under the braces.
Eventually the day came for my first session of physical therapy. As my pain tolerance is quite high, I wasn’t prepared for how painful this first session would be, or how scary it was to see how little movement I had. As the PT started moving my wrists, I immediately broke down into tears. It was the first movement to my wrists since the accident and I realized then how serious the situation had been.
Despite the very strong pain, I diligently performed my PT exercises several times a day and continued to try and keep my body active. I used products like arnica gel to help with the bruising and some of the pain, as well as a diaper rash cream that helped with all the sweating I was doing (it was summer).
Shalini on September 09, 2018:
This is for my son, he is 7years old, we met an accident last month, and my son's wrist was broken, Doctor decided to go with the cast, in the 5th week he took a x-ray, but still broken can been seen in one direction and he removed the cast and asked us to come after a week. Now 5th week completed,after removing the cast, will it fully recover?
Lorrie :) on June 09, 2018:
7 weeks since I broke my wrist. It huuuuurt, and happened exactly one week after knee replacement surgery. Recovering from both, but this injury hurts worse than the knee!! And they do really interesting things to a knee :O...I have good range of motion in the hand, just started back riding my bike (yay!! I missed it), but the dang thing still hurts!! Im going to start doing home exercises. My injured arm lost some muscle.
Linda on April 28, 2018:
Shattered my ulna and radius when I hit a crack in a parking lot while on a knee roller from a plate being put in my foot for a correction in the bones in my foot. Plates and screws. I'm struggling and its been six weeks. Going back to cut hair and really worried about the flexibility and strength. I need some prayers and have to work. This sucks. Worried about the vibration from the clippers. :( We'll see.
Rosalind Newton on March 21, 2018:
i had a fall one morning on my way to get into my car for work however I was in a lot of pain and continued to work and continued on with my work for more than 3 weeks even though I was still in pain then on my last day of work after 3 weeks of working through the pain I decided to to go to the minor injuries department at a hospital close by to me they xrayed my wrist and found that I had fractured my radius because the break had already started to heal so a splint was put on my wrist then I was to wait on a phone call in the next 7 days to be told what to do all I was told was to continue wearing the splint for the next 3 to 4 weeks and that was it so my doctor has given me a line for 4 weeks but after that I have no idea what im supposed to do ive had in my opinion very little help or information as how to continue and when I might get back to work however I will go back to my doctor when my line is running out as to find out where I go from here and this is what ive paid my national insurance for no help whats so ever.
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on November 21, 2017:
Hi, Tanya! You seem like a very determined person and already showing signs of great healing expectations. You`ll be fine, but before it will still hurt a lot, your strength and confidence will slowly grow to a point where you find yourself doing things you didn`t believe was possible before this event.
Keep us posted on your recovery, wishing you a fast and complete recovery! Take care
Tanya Bulpin on November 20, 2017:
I broke my wrist 10 weeks ago and had a plate and pins put in 2 weeks later .
I have been doing exercises daily .
It is getting better but don’t have any strength in it and still in pain.
Just started driving a few days ago painful doing this my surgeon and OT said to take time for it to heal but my GP said to go back to work . I have income protection who will cover me up to 2 years not banking on staying off that long I work in the community as a PC quite physical work lifting wheel chairs in and out of car boots , shopping and cleaning.
Would like any useful comments .
BusterGut on October 23, 2017:
In July I broke both my left arm and wrist in a motorcycle accident (car turning right from a left side road)
I was taken to the local hospital (Kingston in Surrey UK) and they did a temporary job of immobilizing it until 5 days later when I had an op. I had a further op two and a half weeks later as the plate they put it was in the wrong place. At the beginning of September I had the cast removed and my hand was x-rayed, the bones were all over the place. I have since been to Chelsea and Westminster hospital (London) where I was seen by a wrist specialist, what a difference, I am going back on the 15th November to see what they propose doing as he said it was a nasty break with the wrist being of no use for anything at the moment. He's said I will be able to play golf again, but I'm 63 and not to sure but it would be good to find out if anyone who broke both the radius and ulna bones close to the wrist ( I have not been able to even get the palm of my hand facing upward) also all the ligaments are torn and the surgeon thinks they might well have vanished as they aren't attached. I have pictures (ct and x-ray) of the joints but don't know how to show them here.
george on September 02, 2017:
my name is George I had a broken leg on June 4 2017 and is one month now and i just start using crunches and still the bone has not fully joint pls i want to no how long it will take my bone to join because am still feeling some sound when ever am using my crunches pls i need some enlightenment
Jen on August 25, 2017:
Thank you for this!
Karen on August 21, 2017:
I really appreciate everyone's sharing. I broke both wrists in January from a fall in the bathroom. I had a plate put in my right wrist. The bone healing was the least of my problems. Therapy started a week after surgery on my right wrist and my left once the cast came off. But what surprised me was the nerve misfires throughout my body. Eventually it was only in my hands. I was a hot mess emotionally. I was not prepared for the therapy pain. My fingers were stiff and painful. Eventually my doctor orders splints to to help in stretching both of my hands at home in addition to therapy. That really helped me. Early June, I finished therapy still need to do my home exercises as stiffness still tries to take over. I made more progress and we took a much needed vacation! I appreciate now the push to do the work and encourage everyone to not give up. Then, celebrate!
John on August 17, 2017:
I feel your pain. I fractured my left wrist 11/27. Had external fixation for ren weeks. 5/1 I had the same plate put in my wrist. 9 months later my fingers are stiff and I have pain every day. . I was 61....first broken bone....
Felister on August 03, 2017:
Great information, thankyou.
Am healing from a double fracture on my left arm(my wrist and metacarpals).
This was from a road accident.
The cast has taken now 10weeks but unfortunately there was misalignment of my digit bone.
I thought something is really going sour and felt really down.
Am encouraged by this information.
Looking forward to healing as I keep on visiting the orthopedist for correction, guidance and advice
Ranie Blankman on August 02, 2017:
I have a story I'd like to tell.. 3mos ago I was taking my rescued male pitbull that I had only owned 5 mos I rescued him from a shelter in CA I live in WA state. He was a 85 - 90 lb dog. Took him out for his morning business he ran away from me turned around came Bach and lunged on me grabbed me by my left wrist I new the bite was differant from play. I turned away from him as he had my arm I screamed for my niece. She is a young 100 lb girl. I was already in shock so I didn't have it in me to even make eye contact with him let alone try to fight him off. So I yelled and screamed for my niece she finally herd me came out and I yelled babe help me get this dog off me. So she charged him with fire in her eyes grabbed him around his throat. He redirected and let go of me. I ran away from him at this time she had him by his choke coller and had some what control of him. I tied his leash to the fence and told her 123 get out of his reach. He started barking and going off he was out for more blood. I got to the porch took off my robe and saw that he had ripped my wrist open all the way to the bone. Called 911 and my husband and I was medivaked to the closest trauma center and had emergency surgery I got 3pins in my ulnar styli and 5th meticarpal. I ended up having 5 major lacerations to my left arm 3 mos after the fact I go in in 2 days to get my pins remove and plates put in also bone graft. Because there non-union. And perhaps infection. The dog was put down immediately. I miss my dog. Really and truly there was no provocation. He just turned on me.. The place I got him from swore oh he's a good boy he's good with kids and people. Only to find out later that he was on the euthanasia list. Because of human aggression..... This could of happened to the 3kids that he played with daily. She did no home check. She lied and did not disclose everything about this dog. In the 5 mos I has him he was nothing but loved showered and pampered he was a very happy boy. Why this happened or what I did wrong perhaps I'll never know. But this is for sure. I have a long hard painful road ahead of me. I have been around the bully breed my whole life. Have raised awesome dogs. Because I did nothing but give an orphaned boy a great home where he was loved and never had to run the streets or whatever his past was like he didn't have to live like that anymore. But that day in the pasture he wanted to kill me for what reason I'll never know. Thank you for letting me tell my story here. I go Friday gorgeous surgery #2 I'm scared I don't want to live in pain anymore.... I love my dude why is the question.... He loved me so much ill be permanently disfigured because of it... Wish I could post piks. Need all the heeling advice I can get thanks
Rei on July 04, 2017:
When I was 10 I was riding down a big hill on my bike. We were at the bottom of the hill so we have picked up lots of speed. My friend ahead of me slows down and I slam on my breaks and fall asleep right over my handle bars with my bike on top of me. My friend lifted my bike off myself and the nose, lips, and mouth were all bleeding. I was still in shock of what happened, I was spitting out blood that was in my mouth the night I felt two pieces of something solid in my mouth, I spit it out on my hand and it turned out my tooth got chipped. I had a phone with me, I tried to call my mom but I thought it was dead. We decided to head back up the hill. My back wheel on my bike was not working or moving, I had lots of trouble trying to push it up the hill because my wrist were hurting. My friend wasn't very injured so she carried ,y bike while I pushed hers. More then half way up the hill I checked the phone again to see if it really was dead just to make sure, it wasn't dead, just before I couldn't see the screen because of the sun. I called my mom and she came to pick us. After me complaining multiple times my mom decided to go get x-rays the next day. We told them that both of my wrists hurt but they only x-rayed one because they thought I was using the other fine. We found out the one we x-rayed was broken so they wrapped it up. After that my other arm was still causing me pain, so the day after we yet again went to get x-rays. We found out my second wrist was broken, after the next two days we got waterproof removable casts, they were called exos. My recovery certainly wasn't as horrible as other people's, but it wasn't very nice! I had to wear them for around a month and a half and then had to wear them for physical activities for the next two weeks. Till this day I'm still a little scared going down big hills and using my breaks!
Celtress on July 02, 2017:
Update on my wrist. On Feb 8th I had a comminuted distal radius fracture that was set in the ER and without surgery, it's not quite in place, but close enough. The bone itself has healed and very rarely bothers me but I have constant pain on the ulnar side that intensifies with movement. Doc said I need to wait until the end of July when he'll shoot some cortisone in there to try and calm it down.
I find I have less coordination and speed with that hand, and drastically different strength. I'm hoping I can work to improve that one I get the shot.
At times, for no apparent reason, I get a sharp pain (ulnar side) that is at times severe. I take half a pain pill at night to help me sleep and hopefully keep the pain from waking me up.
I'm getting discouraged, I had expected better progress by now.
Anne on June 30, 2017:
This is an update to a post I made five months ago. It has been eight months since I broke my non-dominant wrist, both the radius and ulna. I had an external fixation device for about seven weeks, then removable splints and about six months of physical/occupational therapy for my hand. I started to finally see lessening of stiffness and function of my fingers about five months after my fall, when I started doing massage and breathing exercises to reduce swelling. Neither the therapists nor doctor gave me the information that I found from some online research I did on Youtube. I strongly suggest anyone who is having persistent swelling to search lymphedema of the arm and educate yourself. The therapy and exercises are so much more effective once swelling is reduced and in my experience, reducing swelling saves so much healing time. I also found that once the swelling came down, incorporating small hand weights into my exercise routine helped speed up regaining wrist and hand function.
My last bit of advice is that in the early stages, even though you may want and need to keep your arm elevated as much as possible to avoid more swelling, try to occasionally move and rotate your shoulder. It is common for people who have wrist breaks to develop frozen shoulder caused simply by not moving the shoulder for as little as a couple of weeks. Unfortunately that happened to me and I had to go through a few months of painful therapy and a lot more exercises to gain back the mobility I lost. The orthopedic doctor should have warned me about this and didn't recognize it had happened. I switched to a different orthopedic doctor who finally diagnosed it. I had never even heard of frozen shoulder but realize now it's somewhat common after other injuries. I think it would have been avoidable if I knew about it.
I'm finally finished with physical therapy and feel mostly normal. My pinky is still bent and lost a lot of its function. My thumb lost some rotation and my wrist rotation in both directions has come a long way but still has a way to go. I try to still do some hand and shoulder exercises every day and my fingers are only stiff first thing in the morning. Other than reduced strength in the affected hand, there's not much I can't do with it, which I'm very happy about.
Does anyone have any advice on how to get the pinky to straighten out and function normally? I hope it will improve over time.
Liz on June 17, 2017:
Thanks for sharing this! I was in a car accident three weeks ago, my wrist broke in several pieces and had surgery. The doctor did say I will need physical therapy once my cast is off. ( Your left wrist X-ray looks very similar to mine.)I was just wondering more about the physical therapy part. Right now I can move my fingers pretty well but I can't straighten them. They shake and it hurts to move them too much but I exercise them everyday. I really don't know what to expect. I'm also young and an like to be active so this whole thing has been difficult for me especially when the accident was not my fault. (She was distracted and she hit me going 60 mph or 95 kmp) anyways I appreciate any advice!! Thank you
BobbyAg on June 14, 2017:
This is for Gael.
My story is similar to yours. I got my surgery done at 10 weeks. Tried occupational therapy for 2 weeks after cast removal at 8 weeks. Wasn't helping much. Finally got surgery at 10 weeks which actually should have happened immediately after my fall. No sense blaming Doctors. Delayed surgery led to unimaginable stiffness, crps, trigger finger, all sorts of things. Been under therapy for 9 months now. Have around 70 % ROM back. Getting surgery done next month to get my plates removed. That might help in getting further ROM.
If needed please get surgery done even now. It's never too late.
vijaya mary on June 13, 2017:
thank you for your post
Becky Moreau on June 13, 2017:
Thank you for your post. I broke my right radius and had surgery on it like your left wrist 4 wks ago. My Dr was amazing.. I've been a hair stylist for 18 years an I'm hoping for a speedy recovery. I love what I do!!
The pain has been hard for me.. as I am a very busy person usually and like to live that way. The pain has forced me to slow down. Last wk I started occupational therapy (only your movements for the next 3 to 4 weeks ) by mid day I need to elevate it. The pain exhaust me. I know once I start to move my wrist it's going to be even harder and I'm ready for it.. I hope. My doctor gave me a cast that I could remove if it gets hot and I need to wipe my arm down which is great considering we're going into the summer.
Thank you again for your story it gives me hope !!!
Alison Ktona on June 10, 2017:
I had such a Massive infection in my wrist
That it caused Compartment Syndrome
in October 2003. I was RUSHED into the Or and subsequent Underwent 6 operations within a 13 day period. Fast forward to 9 months later, Severe Pain returned and when I would move my wrist it would make crackeling sounds, it sounded kind of like Rice Krispies so they did a MRI and found Osteo Myelitis so I had another Incision & Drainage at which point she noticed that the infection I had had been Sooo Accostic that it had comply eaten through all the soft tissue and cartilage in my wrist! When I awoke Post opperatively the Surgeon told me that I had to remain Infection Free for 6 months at which point she would need to COMPLETELY FUSE my Left wrist! I had the Fusion surgery Sept 11th 2004 and that caused me to develop Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) aka Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). I will have CHRONIC PAIN for the rest of my 41year young life. My post Fusion X-ray looks Exactly like yours! Good Luck.
Gael on May 20, 2017:
Thank you for post. Broke my wrist 8 weeks ago. Should have been advised to have surgery due to the severity of the break. Unfortunately this didn't happen due to bad advice from a doctor. The cast was removed after eight weeks and I'm now trying to get the use of my wrist again with occupational therapy.
Sylvia on May 20, 2017:
I broke my right wrist on May 17. My fingers are numb. Is this normal? I can bend my fingers. Dr says 4 weeks in a hard cast. Then a removable one. I am 77 with osteoporosis.
Dean on May 15, 2017:
Thanks for your story, it's been a massive help seeing as I've got my surgery tomorrow after annihilating my left wrist:(
I was just wondering how much it cost for your whole ordeal, surgery and all in France? Good job it was there though ah as I've heard their health service is second to none. Love and peace
Patrizia on May 14, 2017:
I have headline fracture in the wrist I did it at football training on April 11 now I'm in full plaster it comes off at the end of may I'm having pain why it in plaster
Josh Hickey on May 05, 2017:
I as well was looking for this information. Almost 3 weeks go I had a motorcycle wreck which resulted in a wrist fracture, along with head injury and other things. I had to have open reduction internal fixation and external fixation.
Thank you for the information.
MzDiva on April 30, 2017:
Thanks for sharing this with us. For parents this is a needed tool. Very helpful
Anna on April 11, 2017:
Thanks so much for this, it helps to know whAt others have gone through. It's two months today since my injury and the wrist is very stiff and feels 'thick'. I am trying my best to do thinks with the hand but my right shoulder is so very stiff and feels frozen. D
Wendy McGee on March 25, 2017:
Hello everyone, I wanted to give a quick update on my broken wrist. Well, I got my cast off about 12 days ago, it was exactly 7 weeks and 2 days from the injury date. The doctor moved me into a wrist guard or brace, however you want to say it. I'm supposed to wear for 2 weeks, which would be a removal this Tuesday, March 28. I asked when I could start lifting weights and I was told to wait a solid month, so I still have 2 weeks and 2 days to go for that.
I was also advised to always wear my brace moving forward when I'm skating, especially for freestyle (jumps and spins), which I am happy to do. I'm almost back to my regular exercise regiment. Working out about 25 hrs a day, training for upcoming skating competitions. All with the exceptions of weight training, which I plan to incorporate back in slowly.
My wrist and entire right arm are still sore. To be honest, it really still hurts somewhat, but it's a different kind of hurt if that makes any sense at all. For those that have had broken bones, you can immediately identify that kind of pain and this is not that severe but still noticeable. I'm not complaining or anything as I'm just grateful that I about done healing. To reiterate, I had a complete break and a fracture. Can't recall the technical terms that you guys use here, but it was completely broken under my thumb area and fractured under my pinky finger side. The doctor is not sending to me occupational therapy either but gave me some exercises to do at home if needed.
The biggest thing right now on top of the existing pain is the stiffness as well as my range of motion is not completely restored. Granted, when my cast was removed, I was told the fracture was 100% healed and the complete break was about 95% so I'm hoping it will come back slowly but surely. I'm still relying on the left hand to do many tasks and I swear I still can't open a child proof medicine bottle yet. LOL! That said, I really have not tried to do a lot yet with my right hand as I thought I would just wait it out another 2 weeks. Not sure if that's the best course of action or not. I know it's not helping the stiffness but I don't want to risk the complete break displacing, even if it's probably closer to 99% healed by now. My doctor released me so I will not be getting additional xrays unless I feel that I'm getting worse or not getting better after the upcoming weeks. And, I am getting better not worse, so I don't anticipate having to go back in for this injury (knock on wood).
I do want to share (for what it is worth) that I loaded up on vitamins and minerals during my recovery period. This included a ton of calcium, D3, B12, C, K1, K2, Zinc, Magnesium, L-Lysine, B6 on top of my existing 2 complete formula of the Flintstone vitamins. I also cut as many sugars and carbs back as possible and loaded up on the protein without overdoing it that much. I didn't want to put on a ton of weight and have to deal with getting it off, all while catching up on training. I did gain some, but not too terrible. I also cut out all OTC pain relievers as I was told it could actually slow down the healing process. Of course I was told not to exercise either as that could slow down the healing process and although I wasn't doing aggressive freestyle skating, I did do figures and dance around 2-4 hrs per week on top of working out in the gym (spinning and pilates waist down) several times a week for around 50-60 mins each session. Thus, I don't think it affected my wrist healing in the bigger scheme of things. Perhaps I could have shaved off another week or so, if I stayed out of the rink and the gym, but who knows. :)))
I continue to wish everyone the best of luck and as for me, I'm just hoping that I do get close to 100% functionality (for my right wrist of course) and don't have issues down with the road. I know that this will not likely be my last broken bone as long as I continue to compete, but I hope it's a long time in coming. This broken wrist really was one of the painful things that I've ever experienced. I really did find comfort by locating this site and reading everyone's comments. Thanks again!
p.s. @ Lizzy, I do understand at some level since I broke my wrist figure skating, actually doing a jump, I knew it was imperative for me to jump again as soon as possible. I actually went out and jumped before I was originally planning with my coach but felt that day that if I didn't do it right then and there, I might not ever do it again. Well, long story short, I jumped and although I'm not doing extremely difficult jumps right now, I know that when my body is 100% healed and I'm back to my regular self, I will be prepared to do anything. I don't think that we can fear life, I think we just have to engage at our own rate and pace. I think you're going to be fine. Hang in there!
Ann B on March 11, 2017:
hi i broke distal radius bone on both wrist, after 1 week I had to get plate and screws fitted so it has a heavy splint and bandaged up , the other one has a cast, its 3 weeks since accident , ( falling over dog lol) , is it usual to still be painful ,will they replace them with lighter cast as i cant do much for myself
lizzy on March 02, 2017:
Like a lot of people on here I also have a numbness to the outside of the hand on the wrist I broke, and my little finger is healing crooked, but I am carrying on with my physio exercises, but I have this real fear of falling when I walk and that makes going anywhere very stressful. It is now just over two and a half months since I broke my distal radius in my dominant hand, does anyone else get these fears of walking and falling and hurting their fracture again? If so does anyone have any ideas of how to deal with it I get really scared and then my legs get weak with fear, so any helpful suggestions to deal with fear would be wonderful.
Vinu on February 28, 2017:
A detailed and apt guide for people on wrist fracture surgeries and its healing process. Thanks
BobbyAg on February 22, 2017:
Ricardo don't know about your work life but you really MUST write a book and do motivational talks. These are some gems compiled from your posts. These have given me a different perspective on my last 9 months.
-Every healing process can be an unique opportunity for personal growing and better understanding about ourselves and others.
-One can (and should) learn a lot during such difficult times, so I believe that even though my wrists will never be the same I will be a better person after going thru all this.
-I am sending blessings and happiness your way and know your healing process is apart of learning more about yourself.
-For me the worst thing during the first months was the fact that I created great expectations about fast recovery but know after 10 months I realize that it takes time and hard work to achieve it.
-There’s no easy solutions for severe wrist fractures, we have to be calm and determined to adapt our self to our new condition.
-I never thought it was so difficult to heal a wrist fracture but now that I know I can only say that patience is one of the most important factors to get better and to be able to appreciate every little thing we start doing again.
-I have learned a lot since my accident but one of the most important was to know how much it means to have friends and people who cares about us during the rough moments.
-Treat yourself gently and patiently, it will make all the difference while you`re recovering and healing from any fracture.
-Some people may take longer to realize/accept that some experiences in life leave a few scars and perhaps also some limitations...
-It could be worst! A couple weeks after the accident I realise that I could have die with that tumble :/
-Right now I only feel pain during physical therapy and its good pain because it means I’m getting better :)
-Still the daily physical therapy sessions feel like torture to me and every time the weather is rainy I choose to take Algimate (which doesn’t take all the pain but helps a little).
-If you really want my opinion, the most important is to believe and keep doing as much physiotherapy as possible.
-As to the pains I´m not sure... in my case I guess I got used to them and I no longer feel them anymore :)
-The stiffness it’s mainly due to long immobilization period and it will diminish with continuous exercises.
-Now, almost 5 years after my incident, I no longer think about other scenarios (like the first surgery which could have been much much different, and all that followed). After all they did help me when I needed.
-It’s been almost 9 years since my incident, and although I don`t expect improvements, I still keep taking care of myself (food, supplements, physical activities, rest, music, etc.) knowing that the way I feel depends on how I treat myself.
GOD BLESS YOU RICARDO.
Celtress on February 21, 2017:
Thank you for your post, the information is helpful.
Two weeks ago while volunteering at a charity event, I fell from a ladder which resulted in a comminuted fracture of the left distal radius and, as a bonus, a fractured vertebrae. Fortunately, both are expected to heal without surgery. Today I got the big cast off and now sport a shorter, more fashionable purple cast.
Best of luck to you, and to all here who share their stories.
V on February 21, 2017:
I broke my distal radius January 20th they performed a closed reduction at the emergency room. Had a splint fir 3 weeks got a cast on and removed it yesterday because it was too tight. Doctor said to wear a brace and start physical therapy next week. My wrist was immortalized for a total of 4 weeks. My wrist and hand is swollen and i am in pain is that normal? Im 30 years old is that enough time for a wrist fracture to heal?
Wendy McGee on February 20, 2017:
Thank you so much Ricardo. Again, very helpful information and I'm so glad you took the time to create this page and continue to stay engaged. Very encouraging to know that we've all been thru similar experiences and nice to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel eventually. I will definitely go stock on the recommended herbs you listed below. I really do prefer natural meds vs prescription opiates or even OTC pain killers. I've heard some can do more harm than good and actually delay the healing process. Especially in adults.
I wish everyone well on the site too. Hope we can all get to the other side of this one. Unfortunately for me, it's definitely not my first broken bone and will more than likely not be my last so again, it's nice to be armed with all this useful data.
take care and thanks, wendy
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on February 19, 2017:
Thanks everyone! It`s sad to realize so many people injure their wrists... I`m glad I wrote this page, it helped me then and now it seems to be helpful for so many. Whishing you all fast and complete recovery!
@Wendy McGee - Maybe calendula petals!? Aloe is also a very good plant for skin regeneration and diminishing pain. Garlic is recommended as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial. Keep us posted on your recovery, take care
Wendy McGee on February 19, 2017:
I broke my wrist in 2 places 4 weeks ago. I'm an athlete and the break was a result of jumping in figure skating. We have competition starting in Mid March and I've already backed out of the first one. In any case, I generally have a very high tolerance to pain, but this break is terrible. I switched to a short cast last week, they are changing every 10 days to get my arm an opportunity to stretch so I can get back to my sport. The other issue is that of course, it's my right wrist and yep, I'm right handed. I swear this has been the longest 4 weeks of my life. I finally got on skates for the first time last week, nothing too difficult, just trying to keep my legs strong and I continue to work out about 90 mins a day, but obviously not very aggressive stuff like before my injury. I'm just hoping and praying that I'm one of the lucky ones that gets this cast off in 2-3 more weeks. I read online about increasing your vitamin, mineral, protein & calories. I've done all but the calorie thing, can't risk putting on weight. I really would've thought the pain would be much better at 4 weeks. As uncomfortable as the long cast was, I wasn't in near the amount of pain, but I'll get used to this. Lastly, I was on the boarder line for surgery. I elected to not have b/c I figured I would be out of commission too long. My hand surgeon said, I would probably be fine without it.
Just a quick question, I was reading about some herbal supplements to take to speed healing. Stuff like arnica, wild comfrey, horsetailgrass. Seems like there was one more, but I can't recall now. Does anyone have an experience with these herbs? Thanks much, Wendy
BobbyAg on February 14, 2017:
Its really nice to have found this and to share experiences with others.
I'm 45 years old and 8 months into a distal radius fracture of my right hand.
I fell on an outstretched arm while hiking in Swiss. Traveled 4 hours to reach my place of accommodation. Paramedic did a closed reduction. Taking an x-ray before and injecting a pain killer were both extremely painful. Then a cast was put on and I continued with my holiday for 5 days.
Came back to my home country and went to a Ortho. Fresh x-rays showed that the closed reduction was good and in place. But the Ortho suggested K-wire to be on safer side. Went to two more Orthos got all conflicting advice. Finally went with the opinion to just change cast and be in cast for 6 weeks.
After 4 weeks my hand became dark and was swollen resulting in cast being removed early. Ortho suggested Physio to get some motion back. Results not being satisfactory went into surgery for plate fixation at 8 weeks into fall. Bone grafting was avoided with great difficulty. Suture dressing and removal were extremely painful. Again cast for 2 weeks. And started Physio at 10 weeks into fall.
Been 6 months of Physio now. 2 months daily and 3 months thrice a week. With home therapy routine starting with 4-5 times a day to even now 2-3 times a day.
Developed mild crps which lead to unimaginable fingers stiffness which has not yet completely gone. Cannot touch my fingers to palm without mobilization.
Even developed trigger finger in one of my finger which has not yet completely gone.
Have developed keloid on my scar which made Physio more difficult. Keloid is stiff and itchy at times and restricts stretching exercises.
Functionally I could do most things myself 3 months after my surgery. Since then working on getting more range of motion - upward/downward and sideways.
Still been advised couple of more months of Physio. Looks like am going to complete a year.
Been a long long journey.
One needs to keep lots of patience and will power. And not give up. And shedding a few tears along the way. Like I'm about to now...
Thanks Ricardo. Light n Healing to all of us...
Rita on February 12, 2017:
January 21st, I broke both bones in non dominant hand from a fall. ER Doctor, put me to sleep to set bones and applied a heavy cast. Orthopedic Dr. suggested surgery with plates and screws, this was done Jan. 24th. Received block that kept my arm numb for about 3 days. Yes I would suggest this to prevent the pain right after surgery. Stitches out Feb. 3rd. Insurance refused to pay for pain med. Dr. ordered so he gave a prescription for Tramadol, worthless as far as the pain, only caused severe constipation. Stopped taking and started taking Tylenol. I do the exercises Doctor recommended but my arm hurts continually a dull but annoying pain. Also the tip of my thumb is numb and I'm having pain above my elbow. Has anyone experienced this and if so what should I do. Oh by the way I just turned 70.
oldblackdog on February 12, 2017:
Thanks! Your extensive details - plus the comments from others - are a great help in understanding what is happening. I broke& displaced my left ulna and radius - non-dominant side - Jan 14th, while on a hike. Had surgery with a plate installed 1/26 then a cast for only a week. I had been trying to do wrist an finger movements on my own for a week, and when the sutures were taken out started official PT.
I was flabbergasted at how much movement was lost, how weak my hand had become - and how much it hurts to push the movements necessary to recover function.
My hand feels like a paw. And worse, how so far, none of the flexing and stretching carries over to the next session ( doing 5 or 6 sets a day. Clearly I need patience. if you got through double wrist rehab, I can do one. The pain I can generate doing exercises is worse than I had while splinted and awaiting surgery.
I still have a lot of swelling - and am experimenting with using voltaren gel on the wrist and hand, to see if it might work as well or better than oral ibuprofen. I will try lymph node massage( as suggested by Anne ( I too have a bone chip).
I am 70; I do wonder how my age may affect healing the bones. But for now it's getting those tendons to work that's a challenge. The Dr did say I didn't have to worry about causing more damage as I try to wrench my wrist up down and sideways.... [ It was hard to believe]
This article is really helpful because in truth, no one took much time in explaining the likely time frames, and frustrations involved. Even the advice about how much to attempt is also vague. Simply knowing that the reactions are typical is a support - and that this is going to take time.
Thanks Ricardo, and everyone.
Veronica Fiscus on February 02, 2017:
Thank you for the article. I fractured the distal radius and the ulnar styloid of my left wrist almost 3 months ago. I finished 4 weeks of physical therapy about 2 weeks ago. The only issue I have is rotation. When I open my hand it's almost flat, but if I rotate it the other way, it only goes about half way. So I can't reach up to touch my shoulder and small things like that. The doctor said that was the last thing to come back and so did the PT. But now I'm discharged from both. So when should I be worried if it doesn't improve? I'm left handed so it's getting a little annoying now. Thanks.
Anne on January 30, 2017:
I broke my distal radius and ulna three months ago in a fall, am 65 years old. I had an external fixator device on only the radius for 6 weeks. Three weeks after my fall my ortho told me to start rotating the wrist and I told him I couldn't. He didn't believe me and the first time I tried, the ulna dislocated and stayed out of joint for the next two weeks till I saw him again. He reset it with no anesthesia -- so painful, will never allow that again. So when he said there is no pain in removing the fixator device pins, I didn't believe it and took two pain pills before the appointment, which I would recommend to anyone having that done. Other than the first couple of days post surgery and the hours after my ulna was reset, that was the only time I've needed pain meds, but it's nice to have had them left over after surgery, because I really needed them for both of those episodes. I only wish he had let me take some during the reset of the ulna.
I've been going to physical therapy twice a week and do exercises many hours each day. My hand freezes up within a half hour if I don't aggressively move it. I'm hoping the extreme stiffness will reduce over time because I can't just keep spending my life doing this.
I had a lot of swelling in my hand for weeks and finally found some great tips on youtube videos that took the swelling down overnight. After finger and hand massage, I lightly massage the nodes in my neck and underarm toward the core and do some quick breathing exercises -- pretty quick, effective, easy and painless.
I have a bone chip at the end of my ulna that causes nerve pain and I suspect always will. I can't rotate my wrist much and my ortho is upset about that, thinks I'm afraid of pain. It just feels like it won't move, not pain. I hate to see him because he usually jerks my hand, arm or shoulder in a hurtful way and tells me I'm not trying enough. I will probably switch orthos soon, I should not be afraid to see him or tell him what is going on. Thankfully I have a great physical therapist who I trust. Yes, sometimes it hurts but she stretches things first -- the ortho doc just wrenches things.
I think I'm over the worst of this experience but unpleasantly surprised at how slow progress is, but with my age and having some arthritis, it sounds like my experience is not much different than others who posted here, so I'm very thankful to see that my slow progress is not just that I'm not trying enough, because I really am trying so hard.
Karen on January 29, 2017:
Thank you for this information. I broke my left wrist (I am left handed) in a fall down a stairs in the dark when the hydro went off. I needed surgery with titanium plate and screws. It has been 9weeks and my whole hand is stiff and I cannot write or lift anything but very light things. When I turn my wrist it clicks and the little finger is healing bent and cannot straighten out. also that side of my hand is tingly as if there is damage to the nerves.
I explained this to the surgeon but he did not recommend therapy
Reading your story made me realize healing takes a long time. Thanks again!
JoAnne on January 26, 2017:
Thanks so much for your article. It was well written and very helpful. I am 5 weeks post fracture of my dominant wrist. I had a closed reduction with percutaneous pinning. My cast was removed last week and yes, having pins removed in the office was very painful! After reading your article, it made me feel better to know that my thumb pain is not unusual, & it will take a long time for the stiffness to subside. The doctor told me it could be a full year before the swelling is gone & I could wear my rings again. I start therapy in 2 weeks. Thank you again for your article and sharing your experience. While my fracture was not as severe as yours, it helped to know in advance that the pain, swelling and stiffness will probably be with me a lot longer than I anticipated but I am on the mend!
lizzy on January 26, 2017:
I have found reading everyone's stories very interesting, many of us seem to have similar experiences. I fell off a ladder on December 13 and had a distal radius fracture, I just knew I had broken my arm because somehow the pain was inside my skeleton. I was home alone so I had to call an ambulance, the pain was bad but by the time I got to hospital it was agony. I had the bones re-aligned under local aesthetic, and two days later I went back for an operation to pin and plate the bones under general aesthetic. I do get some pain, Im still in plaster cast, but my worst thing has been walking because I'm scared I will fall and hurt my arm again. I guess I have to work through this fear. I'm not normally fearful I horse ride and cycle. I have been taking calcium supplements and comfry to help my bones heal. I wish you all good healing.
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on January 20, 2017:
Nice to meet you, Pamela, thank you for your comment. I personally believe that the pain, as you well said, has something to do with acceptance and that takes time... different brains/experiences, different time it takes. I`m sure you`ll make your time worth it, keep going with your routine exercises and soon you find that the pain is starting to ease. I never had any issue with my scars and they soon became part of me, they blended in fine. But of course I`m not a girl so I would perhaps recommend you to use regenerative and skin protective products as well as antioxidant supplements. Wishing you fast and complete recovery!
Pamela Morigeau on January 13, 2017:
While looking for info on wrist fractures I came across your site. It has been useful and like you, I haven't been able to find much about it. Well, I should say I haven't found much about detail recovery. I did find technical information such as medical description of procedure and recovery in very broad terms.
I slipped on ice and landed on my right hand, my dominant hand. Ended up being a compound distal radius fracture with deformity, the bone looked like a pyramid.
At the ER they did a closed reduction but the ortho recommended an open reduction to secure the bone. I thought well, 2 months in a cast and I'm good to go.
The surgery went fine. When the arm block they gave me wore off, I felt like metal was cutting into my bones. The pain was pure agony. The meds felt like I was taking tic-tacs.
You had the hardware removed without anesthesia!!!
Stitches were removed and I felt like Sally from the Nightmar Before Christmas.
From the day two after surgery I moved as much as possible my fingers. I read about stifness so I wanted to avoid it. It has been 4 weeks already from surgery and I don't feel pain if I do not move the hand. Now when I move it, specially my thumb to exercise it, it feels like I am in someone else's body. It hurts but in a weird kind of way like this effort is killing me, way. I do not give up. I do my routine exercises. I feel nervous, uncertain, I wonder is the pain of moving going to go away? I knew my hand was going to lack strength but I did not associate that with pain. I guess I did not really comprehend the severity of the injury or the surgery. I know now I have a long way to go but knowing and a acepting it are so different.
Life is harder because my hand can't do anything. How long does it take for the pain to go away when you slightly use your fingers? How long to be able to use a pen or comb your hair? Simple activities? How does the scar look after? I am a girl so my vanity is concern.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on January 08, 2017:
Hi James, thanks for your comment. Congrats on your recovery, it seems like you (and the doctors) did everything right. Personally I wouldn`t overdo with the pushups... of course it`s a great way to regain strength in your arms, but after a wrist fracture it`s natural that the injured wrist will struggle more before being able to hold the weight without pain. In my case I can only do fist push-ups because of my right wrist but I still prefer to do pull-ups grabbing something like a metal bar, depending on the setup you can do push-ups (if the bar is closer to the ground) or pull-ups (higher bar). And yes, I`ve also went through times when I pushed myself into more radical activities and even though it would make the pains worst the feeling of accomplishment was worth it. I`m not unrestricted but I make it look like I`m... :D
James on January 08, 2017:
A year ago I was climbing and fell about 15 feet onto my wrist. 24 hours later I was heading into surgery. I broke my radius, ulna, and scaphoid. The doctor put in a plate and a half dozen screws (which are still in there). Initially it was pretty devastating. Other than tearing my ACL, I have never had a major injury and I really didn't know what I was in for. After 6 weeks in a cast I was moved to a splint and then went through a month or two of PT. I have to say at that point I was extremely optimistic about my recovery and still am! I am one year out from the incident and I have full motion, hardly even think about it, and am not really restricted in any way. (Reading these other posts it seems like I have it really good).
However... I never really did push-ups in the past, and I decided to make it my New Years resolution to do 50 push-ups a day in hopes of getting my shoulders stronger and strengthening my wrist even more. For the first few days it was just like everything else... no significant pain or soreness. But just yesterday my wrist started aching more than it has in over 6 months. I am almost certain it is from the push-ups. This pain is a little disheartening because I truly thought I had gotten to a point where I was unrestricted.
I guess I'm writing here to ask if anyone else pushes through pain for some activities? I'd really like to continue to do 50 push-ups a day. If its not damaging my wrist, and the pain is a side effect of strengthening then I'll keep going. Do you think the daily push-ups are bad for me? Should I use an ice or heat pack before or after the push-ups? (I know I could do fist push-ups, but I'd really like to use them to also strengthen my wrist). Thanks for the advice :)
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on January 06, 2017:
Thank you all for commenting and sharing your experience and questions (sorry for my late replies). After a wrist surgery it`s normal to take a few months to regain normal sensitivity, the pin sensation can be result of the adjustments on the nervous system network. Of course that different people get different feelings/pains but it`s all needed for the body to heal from an injury. When a plate is needed, the time for the body to adjust can vary... sometimes muscles and tendons can take a long time to adapt to this new circumstance.
Shelly Katzung on January 06, 2017:
I broke my distal radius 7 months ago and had internal fixation. I still have pain in the wrist, and understand that full healing can take up to a year. But, yesterday when I was having a lot of pain at work, I started to massage the wrist, and noticed I get a sensation of pins an needles in the area when doing so. It does go away when I stop. Is this to be any concern? I also experienced a popping of the tendon over the knuckle of the middle finger, once I was able to regain any movement in the hand post surgery (probably about 3-4 weeks post op) Was seen by a hand surgeon, upon recommendation of the orthopedic surgeon), who said it is too hard to prove that it was caused by the fall or surgery or PT, because of the bone spurs and arthritis I have, and that it is due to my arthritis and bone spurs. I know I've had bone spurs in my hands, but never experienced this popping before the break. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you
Ruben on January 05, 2017:
Quick question, so 5 months ago I fractured the radius of my forearm and I had to undergo surgery which in fact now I have a small plate there now and my surgeon recommended me not to start weight lifting yet until my sixth month of therapy. I am now on my sixth month and I just started working out with a few 5 pounders and even 10. My arm somehow still feels weird and shaky and at times even looks crooked is all this normal? Due to the fact that my muscles are adjusting to the plate?
a girl on January 02, 2017:
Thank you for this. I have a distal radius fracture and the tip of my ulna broke as well (on x-mas eve). I just had surgery to get screws and a titanium plate put in. Your article is reassuring me that things are healing correctly. I had questions that you were able to answer. Thank you.
Sandy on December 31, 2016:
Thank you so much for sharing your story! I'm 62, fractured my my wrist 4weeks ago. Have pins, plate and screws, no cast, removable splint. The numbness and pain in my palm and fingers are my biggest issue. Will this ever get better? I know my wrist probably saved my life, because I hit my head but no concussion. My wrist took most of the damage. Again thank you for sharing!!
Bri on December 22, 2016:
Hey so my story goes I fractured my growth plate in my right wrist last year in November and its been 1 year 1 month since it happened and it still makes a popping sounds and hurts alittle every now and then what should i do please
Valerie on December 13, 2016:
I broke my wrist and shattered bones in back o my hand on August 5th. It was put in a cast for two weeks. There was a 50/50 chance this would work. That was not the case. At the end of the two weeks I had to have it operated on with an external fixated with 11 pins. I too had this for two months and had the pins removed without any pain killers. Horrible pain. Two months later I am still doing exercises. Hand and wrist still hurt especially after exercise and is still swollen. Hand still stiff. I am also 68 and did this playing pickleball. Who knew it was such a dangerous sport. We. are now at 4 mos. Expect at least that long again. Most people say a yr. Hope for sooner.
Aloha Leslieq on December 12, 2016:
Thanks so much for your story! I'm a woman many years older than you (69), but pretty active. November 1, I broke my left ulna and radius playing pickleball and fell hard with my left hand behind to help break my fall. Totally unconscious, but the body knows how to protect other body parts. Like you, I had a internal fixation device and on December 9th, I had my cast removed. As a medical massage therapist, my greatest concern was having a complete healing as soon as possible so that I can return to work! I'm supplementing my diet with extra Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium and K2 to ensure strong, flexible new bone growth.Your story is very inspiring, definitely encouraging. It's helpful and hopeful to hear from others. Thanks again!!! Merry Christmas and Happy HolyDays!
Georgia on December 10, 2016:
I am only a kid and I think I have fractured Mr wrist it has lots of swelling and it is really sore and I can not bend it orobally my thumb feels slightly numb but I am going to the hospital to get it checked out I hope it is only sprained both my friends jumped on my wrist than I banged it against the wall andiI woke up it was SO SORE!!! It is summer holidays so I want it to only be sprained!
Cam on December 07, 2016:
Yes. Thanks for writing this. I broke my wrist mountain biking at a DH bike park. Though I'm in the physical therapy stage. I was just curious of how long it'll take to get full range. So thanks again
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on November 29, 2016:
Fairly normal!? Come on Lynette... we all know how extraordinary you are! And I`m pretty sure you`ll become even better after going thru this healing process. ;)
Sending much love and strength for those moments when nothing else seems to help, whishing you a fast and complete recovery.
Lynette on November 28, 2016:
Thank you for writing this. It has been helpful. I broke both my wrists at work. They were splinted right away. Since it was a workers comp issue I could not get into the orthopedist until the following week. He did surgery on both the next day. When they removed the stitches I was put in removable cast. It has been 5 since my accident and they are still very swollen, my palm is numb and bruised. After reading your story I have hope that I will get back to fairly normal.
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on November 08, 2016:
Hi everybody! Once again I`m sorry for not replying every comment here, specially to Ona66 who I thank for keeping us informed on your wonderful recovery (I read all the comments but I fail to reply to everyone). As I previous said it`s overwhelming to realize how many people are going through a broken wrist... at the same time is very rewarding to know that this article and my experiences have somehow helped so many people around the world. All your comments make this article more complete and useful for those who are now facing the healing process, thank You all! Whishing everybody fast and complete recovery, take care!
Ona66 on November 07, 2016:
I wrote couple months ago( unfortunately no one replied), but really no hard feelings. I broke my right wrist 4 months ago. Took my cast off at the beginning of August. went to 14 physio therapy sessions and I can say that I am feeling great. I can do everything with my right hand, and I am shocked that I am so good. I am 50 years old and the only thing is that I can't bend my wrist all way , but I am optimist it will come. I have no pain at all. I drive, clean, hold heavy bags, vacuum, cut with knight,mop,rinse and squeeze clothes ect..... my doctor is very surprised with me. I wish that everyone can feel , just the way i did. Good luck, and keep moving your hand as much as you can, because I did it a lot in the beginning.
victoria mckenzie stewart on November 02, 2016:
Thank you so much for your extremely informative article. I am 74 years old, female, now almost four weeks out of ER and three out of plate and screws surgery for radial beak/ulnar fracture). The timeframes you experienced are way way longer than anything I heard regarding my particular case. I have numbness in index and thumb on left hand. My most concerning symptom actually, but am told 99 percent of feeling returns! Again, I imagine this could take lot longer than - obliquely - projected. I do believe - although "doing very well" with hand therapy - I am in for a long haul full recovery - more like years than weeks or months.
DANIELLE on November 01, 2016:
wowzers, after breaking both my wrists at the drag strip on my motorcycle I'm not sure how I feel about it still. im three weeks in, two surgeries and really hope I'm on the quicker end for recovery and getting back on my bikes. Thanks for the write up I'm glad its not just me that does things like this.
Hamza on October 30, 2016:
I got my fracture playing foot ball.I just want to ask that can I resume my daily activities like playing and taking heavy things in my hand.
Iits Aravin on October 12, 2016:
i fractured my wrist 9 weeks ago... i can know move my wrist as per normal but i still have a little bit of pain in m wrist can you please explain y? i really cant wait till it heals
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on September 30, 2016:
Thank you all for your comments! No one can tell you how long your pains will last... it`s up to you to find ways to mitigate pains (both physical and psychological).
Pushups... only after 1,5 to 2 years I was able to do it but with my fists, it took time for me to regain my muscles. Thanks to martial art trainings and bicycling the process felt much easier!
Wishing that all your pain can have an end soon!
Erin B on September 29, 2016:
Hello- I found your story, and the fact that you are a nutritionist very interesting. I believe vitamins D, C, fish oil, collagen, biotin and zinc have helped my healing process. I fractured my radius and ulna on July 18th. I had surgery the nest day with a plate and 12 screws put in. The plaster cast came off after 2 weeks and i had a removable splint instead, to facilitate physical therapy and massage. It's now been 10 weeks and I am back to most of my fitness activities. I have no pain, only a little stiffness but that continues to improve every day. The only thing i can't do right now is bear full weight on my hands like in a plank position or push up. Have you been successful in regaining the ability to do push ups? If so, how long after your last surgery did it take to be able to do them? Thanks for any insight you can offer!
CDB on September 21, 2016:
OMG, your treatment follows mine almost exactly...I knew I hadn't written it but it sounded exactly like mine. I broke both of mine in a fall back in 2000. Just recently, I broke one of them again. It is miserable and I hope every one heals nicely! Thanks for the article.
Sophie on September 18, 2016:
Thanks for this. I broke my wrist 5 weeks ago on holiday in New York. I was getting out of a taxi when the driver drove off with me half in the car! I hit a parked car and tumbled and was dragged slightly along the road. I'm in the shorter cast now and it's due to be taken off in a week or so but I've been getting really sharp pains the last few days. They seem to happen when I catch my wrist in a certain movement and are so painful. Is this normal? It was less painful near the beginning! Thanks.
Simen on September 15, 2016:
I got in an accident 5 years ago. I got an hairline fracture on distal radius, witch went almost all trough the bone. Since then I have had problems with pain, in different severity. It seems to get worse when cold and after activities like driving long distances or writing on the computer for a long time. I can neither play sports like volleyball, basketball etc.
I have had several trips to the doctor, and they have always said that I should be totally fine in a couple of days. I have taken a lot of x-rays, the last one was about 1 1/2 year ago now, but they never see anything. I get an bandage to use until it's good again, and that's it. Then it goes some days, some weeks maybe if I'm lucky, and it's back. Now I have just stopped going to the doctor even if it's really bad, because it will only be a waste of money.
I guess I just wonder if this is normal, or the doctors may have screwed up somehow. It just can't be possible that I sprain my wrist every time I play basketball or the weather gets cold...
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on September 14, 2016:
Sometimes when checking this page and its commentaries I wish none would ever brake a bone anymore... I even (almost) forget it happened to me too...
Pains... such a difficult subject. It all depends on the person and circumstances... I tried my best to reduce painkillers intake by the less amount possible. I would recommend natural painkillers...
Regaining arm, hand and fingers mobility... I can only talk about arm and fingers results because my wrists were not expected to have mobility anymore. I think that after this kind of injury most people are afraid and avoiding any movement, I believe it`s just a natural respond. I struggled to regain back my right arm movements because I spent too much time without almost any movement... only after many sessions of physiotherapy ("painotherapy") my body/mind started to work together and I was able to adapt this new situation.
Being a nutritionist myself, I would recommend that anyone going through any healing process should reinforce antioxidants intake... if you need any other advise on this subject please feel free to email me (rnfunride at gmail dot com).
My thoughts are with those going through pain and suffering... wishing a fast and complete recovery! Take good care.
Farzy on September 13, 2016:
I broke my left wrist 5 weeks ago. Yesterday I went to the hospital and the doctor took my cast off but when I came home, after I couldn't turn my hand at all but also the doctor gave me another appointment next but please I would love to know why can't I turn my hand..
Jolynn on September 13, 2016:
Hello and thank you so much for this information! I am only 5 days out from surgery on my left arm, fractured distal radius while on vacation in Florida. I have plate and 9 screws after tumbling down rock stairs in the dark. As you say it could have been much worse! I didn't even hit my head. Escaped with broken arm and lots if bruises. This is the type of info we crave after a fall and or break. Much more than we get from our medical professionals . Thank you not only for the info and first hand experience (no pun intended) but also for the optimism that situation will improve! I see ortho specialist tomorrow for redress and next steps. Can't wait to get back to boot camp exercise , which probably helped that it was not worse to begin with! I am 58 years old, with my first ever broken bone. Take care, continue to heal! Jo
Heather on September 12, 2016:
how long can I expect to have severe pain I have broken my wrist & have k wires instead of a plate due to the fact I have had ancillary node clearance due to breast cancer it is 4 weeks since I fell & I am still in a lot of severe pain I am on endone & panadol as directed by dr but this is only taking the edge off it I don't want to have to keep taking these strong painkillers but I am not coping with the pain I had my cast renewed last week as I had severe swelling that is all ok now we live about 4 hrs from drs I don't know if I need to contact the dr again or not as all they did about it last week was write another script for more endone if anybody has any suggestions to help ease the pain I would be most grateful I have used ice packs heat packs & elevation Regards H
Ona66 on August 21, 2016:
I started phisio 2 weeks ago. I did 3 sesions so far and my hand is felling better, although my wirst is not bending forward at all.Phisio therapist is focusing in this movement. I have lots of pain after the phisio, but honestly I don't mind it. I am just wondering if my wrist will be moving forward at all. Please let me know if you went through this experience. Thank you!
naomi on August 14, 2016:
thsnk you for all that information. i fractured my distal radius 9 weeks ago. i should have had an operation, but decided not to. as a result i am still severely disabled. i am thinking of having the operation - they will have to cut the bone, and insert screws, etc. i am still unable to drive and have much pain.
please reply to my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on August 12, 2016:
Hi, Abdul! The healing process is always different and each person has different ways of going through it... in your case, did you got internal plates? Did your doctor said you`ll have to go through any more surgery?
You soon will start physiotherapy and that will help you to relearn how to use your hand and fingers without feeling pain. Some people may take longer to realize/accept that some experiences in life leave a few scars and perhaps also some limitations... whishing you all the best and a fast and complete recovery. Take care!
Abdul on August 10, 2016:
Hey thank you for that article
Which I found while searching for more information to calm my worries
I broke my wrist while skateboarding, had external fixtion for 2 month and now it's already removed, honestly I do worry why I can't move my hand easily wzout pain! And how long it should take to be like before and it gonna be 100% as before or it's just a dream ! I am a photographer and that's what I'm worry about holding the camera and filming now that easy with this in comfortable hand ! I see it need like 2 to 4 years to be as before and it won't be 100% right ?
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on August 07, 2016:
Thank you for all your comments! Sorry for being away and not replying to everyone on time.
I must admit sometimes I feel overwhelm and I struggle to find words for each and everyone who share his/her experiences with broken wrist... it`s been almost 9 years since my incident, and although I don`t expect improvements, I still keep taking care of myself (food, supplements, physical activities, rest, music, etc.) knowing that the way I feel depends on how I treat myself. Every healing process can be an unique opportunity for personal growing and better understanding about ourselves and others.
Treat yourself gently and patiently, it will make all the difference while you`re recovering and healing from any fracture.
My thoughts are with you and everyone that went or is going through some rough times.
Jessica on August 06, 2016:
Hey... I broke my right wrist about a little more than a year ago. I hasn't hurt since a while ago but now I can't even ride a bike or vacuum. I don't know if this is temporary or maybe I should go to the doctor? If anyone could tell me some tips that would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Ona66 on August 06, 2016:
I broke my wrist 6 weeks ago.Cast was taken off after 5 weeks an splint was put on for a week. My two fingers got very stiffed and the doctor decided to take cast off and did an x-ray.today i took the splint off and went in the bathtub to clean my hand, because it smelled bad and take the dry skin off.I can't turn my hand at all. I can make a fist , but that's all I can do. Please anyone can tell me is this normal?? I tried to put my hand on the table and let my wrist hang a little , but withou any result. My wrist is frozen like an ice block :(
Lisa on July 24, 2016:
Hi all, I hope someone can help!!!!!
I broke my right wrist 5 months ago and still stiff etc like expected, however, today I was sat on floor and without thinking I tried to stand by pushing down on wrist, I heard a crunch and extreme pain run up my arm. My wrist is now swollen and very painful, and I also have pain running up my radius.
Anyone have any ideas what I may have done, surely it won't just break again just like that??? I have taken painkillers, elevated it and applied ice but hasn't made a lot of difference.
Thanks in advance x
Jill on July 24, 2016:
I broke my left wrist 5 days ago falling off a low wall. It was broken in 4 places and I had a plate and screws put in.It is painful but I am coping.I have no plaster only a dressing and want to know when I should start exercises to improve mobility.I am worried that I might make things worse.I am 59 and worried as I also had a serious break in right upper arm about 5 years ago
Sarah on July 22, 2016:
So relieved to find this & read everyones experiences. I've been having a bit of a panic, feeling like a complete wuss with no pain tolerance! I broke my left wrist (radius, displaced), 4 weeks ago. I live in France, breed horses & was just finished a poultice on a horses hoof when I lost balance & fell awkwardly. They planned to plate it the next morning but during the night it moved, blocked my circulation & they had to do a quick general anesthetic, closed reduction & plaster.
Today they re-xrayed, its still in place & the radiologist told me it still had a little way to go to be completely healed. I saw the consultant, the next thing they've taken my cast off, wrist agony every time I moved, & sent me off with a note for the physio. No aftercare notes, just told not to use my sling anymore.
My physio was more helpful, sympathetic, told me to do hot & cold soaks (as its still very swollen), try to move my fingers, use my sling & put a support bandage on it. First physio session is on Monday. I have a wheat bag that is brilliant, heat up in the microwave & it stays warm for 30 mins. I have no movement vertically or horizontally & my thumb can only reach to my first two fingers.
I'm terrified of rebreaking it, is that mad? Is it likely just from moving it out of its comfort zone?
I've caught/moved it a couple of times & the pain has been so terrible I've cried. I'm still trying to work with the horses/around the farm but without my cast it feels really vulnerable. I just want to wrap it up/splint it. I'm dreading sleeping tonight. Is it normal to be scared to move it?
One thing I have been doing to help heal quicker is take a lot of extra vitamins/minerals for bones. Having done a lot of research I settled on a Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium supplement plus seperate ones for D3, K2, Triple Boron & Omega 3 & a protein powder (double chocolate :-) ) to get an extra 23g of protein per day. Is it working? Well 4 weeks & out of my cast would suggest yes, just wish the pain was less.
Sandy on July 17, 2016:
Hi. Thanks for creating this forum.Some very encouraging stories. I am telling myself that i am having a 5 week holiday on the couch?? I am 3 weeks in after falling and breaking both wrists. My age of 56 is a concern. my left is simple break and have just had the cast removed and a splint on so I am sure it will be fine. The right in not a nice break and goes into the joint which is a worry. I was very fortunate to have been sent to an orthopaedic who only treats hands. it was borderline between plates and just cast. He manipulated into position in his rooms and put it into a cast and fortunately last week it was x-rayed and is still in position. He is hoping to remove cast after only 5 weeks as he says the 6th week is where the stiffness really sets in. I have been feeling like a baby over the pain but am encouraged that it is a real thing for everyone. I have been devastated as I am a potter and work on the wheel. It is my livelihood as well as passion. A lot of the processes for wheel work use the wrists so I am hoping it will be good physio but can only imagine how sore it is going to be!! My first deadline is for a month after the cast comes off - do you think it will be possible?
aom on July 09, 2016:
what a lucid narration.
i can imagine being on board the same train (having broken my right wrist).
your experience is a brilliant answer session to most frequently asked questions pertaining to wrist fracture.
julie on June 16, 2016:
Thank you. Most searches for broken wrist say 6 to 8 weeks and 20 weeks in with a plate that looked remarkably like your x ray I was feeling desponde with my lack of recovery and slow pace. I broke my neck in the same fall. I just want my body back. Reading your story gave me breathing space not to be so hard on myself. Maybe a year maybe two seems a much more realistic goal. Thanks
Howard on March 09, 2016:
Hi! I fell off on one of those telescopic ladders.It must have un-locked. anyway i fell from about twelve feet, dislocating my left arm, breaking my humerus bone (open fracture) and smashing my radius bone in about ten pieces.
The wrist is the major problem, as there is too many small bone to plate. The CT scan revealed all the bones had broken in a circular shape just where my wrist watch was.( I must of fell onto my wrist and crushed the watch between the concrete and my hip).
The specialist advise was to let the bones heal as they are as it will give them something to work on when they set? I've had three operations up to now and now have a fixation on to keep the radius in place while the bone heal?.
Going forwards I was told they might be able then plate it, fuse the radius to my hand the shorten the ulna bone?.
This is going to be a long, long, road to recovery.
It was nice to read your blog as you have been through something of the same and come out the other end, and given me food for though.
macy langley on January 21, 2016:
i boke my arm was in a cast for six weeks which was tight and painfull . i got my cast off thinking i would be fine but just a little pain but to my suprise! my arm felt very heavy , and week from my uper arm to my fingers! i was told to try to do every thing i did before , but its very hard for me to hold a pen , r spoon ,i can not hardly move my arm ,r wrist r fingers! i was unaware of this happing! i try to move my arm and fingers but moving my wrist is very painfull and can not move it much , am worryed on how long it will be before my arm is back to like it was before i broke it
Cougmom on December 31, 2015:
Hi Stepper, like you I have a plate in my wrist and I am approaching the one year anniversary of my break and surgery. Personally, I would not subject myself to an unnecessary surgery. I don't care for the idea of having "something" in my body either, but the idea of another surgery overrides that! Just my perspective, good luck in your decision making process on this!
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on December 30, 2015:
Hi Stepper! I kept my metal parts... they took the first plates and replaced them during the last surgery... and I will only remove them if any problems come up. Take care!
Charlygirl on December 29, 2015:
Thanks I broke my wrist and hopefully 1st n last bone... It really helped reading your article I didn't know how much time this would take... Ugh the agony... Since doc put it back n place much better but still healing n I'm in a splint go back 2 weeks for my cast yeah...
Ricardo Nunes (author) from Portugal on October 27, 2015:
Thank you, Elaine! Your comment show us how strong you are. Wishing you well, take care!