Fractures often take upwards of 8-12 weeks to heal, but your physician will be able to give you a better idea of the time frame they expect for your particular injury. After surgery, you will spend time focusing on control of pain and swelling, as well as maintaining range of motion in your other joints.
Post surgery you will be referred to one our physical therapists at Orthopedic Physical Therapy Institute, who will instruct you in the next steps of your care. One of the first concepts you’ll learn about is the R.I.C.E. method of treatment. This stands for:
Anyone who’s experienced an illness or injury knows that the first recommendation doctors make is to rest your body. This is especially true for the injured parts of your body. Following wrist fracture surgery, you will likely have some sort of wrist support, be it a plaster cast, a brace, or a splint. These should be used according to your doctor’s instructions.
Icing your wrist will help reduce swelling and pain. Ice packs can generally be used for about ten minutes at a time, several times a day. Your doctor will be able to give you specific instructions.
Compression dressings, such as bands or gloves, can help reduce swelling, and should be used when elevating your wrist. Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, so as not to cut off the circulation to your fingers by making the dressing too tight.
Keeping your wrist above your heart is also critical to recovery and controlling swelling when recovering from wrist fracture surgery. You can often do this by propping your arm on pillows when seated or lying down. If you do a lot of standing in your daily life, your doctor may recommend you use a sling to keep your arm elevated during the day. Make sure that your arm is never dangling at your side. This can lead to significant swelling and retention of fluids.
In addition to the R.I.C.E. method, it will be important to maintain the range of motion in your elbow and shoulder. Your doctor or physical therapist can give you recommendations for keeping your joints and muscles as healthy as possible during your recovery.
Recovery from wrist fracture surgery can take anywhere from six weeks to four months, depending on the severity of the injury, and the type of procedure performed.
If you have questions please contact us.