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Injury Time Out with Capilano Rehab: Distal Radius Fracture

| January 7, 2016 | Reply

Fracture Distal Radius (forearm's Bone)Thirty years ago, Back to the Future Part II predicted that there would be hover boards by 2015.  And low and behold, one of the most popular presents this past Christmas was…you guessed it, the hover board!  Marty and Doc were right!  As teenagers and adults opened their shiny new hover boards and hopped on for that maiden voyage, the last thing on their minds would be the ensuing trip to the ER from falling and breaking an arm or wrist.

Falling onto an outstretched arm is a common cause of a distal radial fracture.  Your radius is the larger of the two bones that make up your forearm, the part of your arm from your elbow to your wrist.  Even though it is the larger of the two, it is the most commonly broken arm-bone.  There are different types of fractures that can result:

  • open or a closed fracture (did the bone break through the skin or not)
  • non-displaced or displaced (did the bone stay in place or did it shift)
  • intra-articular or extra-articular (did the break extend into the wrist joint or not)

Obviously, some fractures are worse than others as some may require surgery while others do not, and the healing time can vary greatly between individuals.  Whatever the specifics, forearm and wrist fractures usually have one thing in common:  Physiotherapy can get you moving after your injury.

After you have been in a cast for 6 weeks, you will have muscle atrophy, muscle stiffness and a decrease in your range of motion.  For Alberta residents who have a valid Personal Alberta Health Care Number, you are eligible for up to 7 Physical Therapy visits for the assessment and treatment of your broken wrist.  Some injuries may require more treatment, some may require less, but these fully covered visits offer a great start.

I spoke to one of our senior Physical Therapists, Christy Pederson, about what you may expect during the course of your rehabilitation.  Keeping in mind every fractured wrist heals differently and also that every individual heals differently; here is what Christy had to say about wrist fractures.

“Depending on the presentation, there are a variety of treatment options that I can utilize.  Generally, range of motion is my initial main focus.  Everything is stiff from being in a cast, so I implement a treatment program to help with that.  Soft tissue release, joint mobilization, flexibility exercises and stretches can all help with range of motion.  If you had an open or a displaced fracture that required surgery, I may also perform some gentle scar massage.  If the scar adheres to the underlying muscles, then it can have an impact on your range of motion.  I have yet to see a patient get out of a cast and not have any muscle atrophy so I also will give patients a home exercise program that includes strengthening exercises to help regain the muscle loss.  This program will focus on your wrist, but often can include your elbow as well because muscles that move your wrist actually originate around your elbow.  I use a variety of modalities with my hands on treatment, including IFC, moist heat, K-laser or ultrasound depending on whether or not you have pins or plates in your arm.”

Whether your sore wrist has been caused by a hover board, snow board, or simply a slip and fall, don’t wait for a DeLorean to show up in the future!  Call Capilano Rehab today at 780-466-1104 to book an appointment with Christy or one of our other skilled Physiotherapy Team members.



Capilano Rehab Centre | Physical Therapy Capilano physical therapists have provided state-of-the-art physical therapy, sports physiotherapy, back pain, WCB, accident, whiplash and injury rehab to clients in Edmonton for over 10 years.

5832 Terrace Rd Edmonton, AB. T6A 3Y8

(780) 466-1104

Category: Active Living, Clinic News, Community, Graston Technique Therapy, Healthy Living, K-Laser Therapy, Physiotherapy, Sports Rehab, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

I am Capilano Rehab Centre’s Community Care Coordinator. I have been with Capilano Rehab for 9 years primarily as a Physio Assistant, but also as a Receptionist. I have a Physical Education Degree from the University of Alberta, which I will eventually use when my two young children are grown up. In the mean time I am enjoying helping people in the Community through my role as Community Care Coordinator and bringing awareness to how a Physiotherapist can help you get back to the activities you love the most!

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