Wrists are among the most commonly fractured bones in the body. The incidence of wrist fractures spike during the winter months when footpaths are icy resulting in falls. Wrist fractures typically occur after a fall on an outstretched arm. Many sufferers of wrist fracture attend our clinic for rehabilitation after either the removal of their cast or splint or after surgery if this was necessary.
The main focus of the early stages of the physiotherapy process after wrist fracture involves restoration of movement in the wrist joint. Wrists are extremely stiff following a period of immobilisation in cast and getting them moving again initially can be a painful process.
Wrist extension is generally the slowest movement to be regained by patients. This is an important movement as it enables us to do tasks such as open our hand to lift a cup or to hold a tray for example. Progressive stretching exercises as well as vigorous manual therapy assist with the restoration of this and other essential wrist movements.
Once movement in the wrist begins to return, building strength becomes the focus of the rehabilitation. After a period of immobilisation in cast, the forearm musculature will have wasted to a degree. Simple drills such as wringing out dish cloths and simple exercises with resistance bands can be very helpful in restoring the strength to the weakened wrist.
With physiotherapy input and hard work on behalf of the patient the vast majority of wrist fracture sufferers make a full recovery from their injuries. Feedback from patients suggest that it’s approximately 6 months to the date of the injury that they begin to feel 100% pain free again. That’s quite a long time. So, of course, we suggest trying not to fall in the first place. But accidents happen and you can count on us if it happens to you.