Old Man Winter seems to love twisted and broken wrists. Why is that? Does he freeze our bones so that they break easier? NO. Winter in Alberta means ice and snow, and ice and snow cause people to slip more frequently. Unfortunately, not all of us can nimbly recover from a slip, so we end up falling, and as we fall we outstretch our arm to absorb the fall, and falling on an outstretched arm breaks our wrist.
What is a broken wrist?
You have two bones that make up your forearm between the wrist and elbow, the Radius and the Ulna. Your Radius is the bone on the thumb side of your wrist, and your Ulna is the bone on pinky finger side of your wrist. When someone breaks there wrist, the most common break is at the distal end (by your wrist) of the Radius. So a broken wrist is usually referred to as a Distal Radial Fracture. Depending on the severity of the fracture (is it a small crack or was the bone displaced) you might only need a cast, or you might require pins or surgery to realign the bone.
My cast is off…what next?
Well after you give your arm an amazing scratch and a good scrub to get all the dead skin off, you may notice that your wrist does not move the way that it used to. You might find your forearm looks smaller now when compared to the other and you might have difficulty with little tasks like turning a door knob, washing dishes or pushing up out of a chair. This is all normal. When you were in a cast for 6 weeks you could not move your wrist, so all the muscles that are usually used every day did nothing for 6 weeks causing them to atrophy (shrink). When these muscles atrophy they lose flexibility because they are not being stretched and used daily.
Am I weak forever now?
Nope. 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 but with Physio Therapy you can gain back what you have lost.
How can Capilano Rehab help?
We have a large team of highly skilled Physical Therapists that will create a treatment plan for you based on your initial presentation. There are a variety of treatments and techniques they may use:
- Soft tissue release and joint mobilization, flexibility exercises and stretches can all help with range of motion.
- Home exercise program that includes strengthening exercises to help regain the muscle loss.
- IFC, moist heat, K-Laser or ultrasound (only if you do not have pins or plates in your arm) will help to relax the muscles and aide in pain reduction.
Well, now you call Capilano Rehab Centre at 780-466-1104 and book in with one of our anti-Old Man Winter Wrist Twist Physical Therapists!