PDA

View Full Version : Broken Wrist Recovery



justbishop
09-20-2013, 06:16 PM
I have a 16 y/o character who required outpatient surgery for a badly broken wrist suffered in a car accident. What would his situation a week or so out be like? I was assuming it'd be casted, but I need to know for sure. I have him resting for a week at home (there were also concussion type-issues and a seizure), and doing some playing in the snow with the MC six days post-surgery.

Thanks in advance!

Stew21
09-20-2013, 06:37 PM
When my son broke his wrist, he had 5 1/2 weeks in a cast.

He was not in pain after it was set, and didn't require any pain meds,
He was not very happy about missing out on activities he thought he should be able to do (P.E. in school). He was back in school the day after he got the cast. Broken arm didn't really slow him down at all.

He had a waterproof cast, so he could still shower and swim.

They x-rayed after the cast was on for one week to make sure it stayed set. Then x-rayed again after a month later to be sure it was ok to remove it.

The cast went from his hand (around thumb, under fingers) all the way up to his elbow to stabilize him and to prevent him from twisting his wrist, but in the ER before he saw the orthopedic surgeon, he had a temporary cast that went up to his bicep and a sling (precaution until the could ortho could get a good look at it himself).

He resumed all normal activities and sports when the cast was removed.

Shamus Fignasty
09-20-2013, 06:40 PM
I broke my wrist ten years ago. I had surgery later that day.

They used one of the most sophisticated nail guns I had ever seen. At an angle they inserted two surgical devices I can only describe as the sexiest ten penny nails I had ever seen.

The cast I received immobilized the radial movements. I wore that for over six weeks in various iterations with each replacement smaller than the last.

Finally I was given three viscosities of putty to squeeze while watching TV. Then cleared to go back to lifting weights.

justbishop
09-20-2013, 06:42 PM
Thanks guys. But having a nostalgic play session in the snow 6 days post-surgery seems realistic, as long as they put him in a waterproof cast?

Stew21
09-20-2013, 06:46 PM
yes. for a teenager, i would say after a week, a little light playing in the snow would work fine. And yes, waterproof casts are great. The only thing is, for the cast to dry completely, he would need to be back inside where the temp was above 78 degrees F for it to dry thoroughly. So just make sure you get him a towel and in the heat again in a reasonable amount of time.

justbishop
09-20-2013, 06:51 PM
Great, thank you :)

WeaselFire
09-20-2013, 10:27 PM
We used to wrap a garbage bag around the cast and hold it on with rubber bands. Arm/wrist stays out of the way, the opposite arm can thropw snowballs, whatever. Snowboarding is contraindicated... :)

Jeff

justbishop
09-21-2013, 12:25 AM
We used to wrap a garbage bag around the cast and hold it on with rubber bands. Arm/wrist stays out of the way, the opposite arm can thropw snowballs, whatever. Snowboarding is contraindicated... :)

Jeff

Yeah, I'm thinking that this is what most people would have in mind and it'd be common enough knowledge that I don't really need to mention the mechanics. At one point I have the MC mentioning him doing something with "his good hand," but that's about all the attention I've given it in this draft. Will revise if needed later.

M J Austwick
09-21-2013, 12:48 AM
A decent cast shouldn't impede finger movement and the hand should be in something approaching a position of function, so throwing a snowball is feasible, but you'd be better off putting something like this on first.

http://www.healthandcare.co.uk/limbo-cast-protectors.html?gclid=CK237r7r2rkCFVDItAod1FEA9g

In the UK waterproof casts are not the done thing, they simply don't dry out properly and water pooling over a surgical wound is always a bad thing.

To be honest it all depends on how badly broken, and in what configuration. Different surgical fixes require different post-op care. From a simple manipulation under local held in a cast, through to k-wires, volar plates etc that need less in the way of casting.

regdog
09-21-2013, 01:12 AM
I broke my arm in the winter, no surgery needed but I absolutely went out sledding with either a plastic trash bag wrapped around the cast or a couple of rubber surgical gloves. It was quite a few years ago so I had two plaster casts. One full arm and then a subsequent lower arm cast.

If your characters wrist required surgery they would only be able to sled if they didn't use external fixaton. That would have the metal braces and pins on the outside. The use of external fixation depends on the severity of the break.

justbishop
09-21-2013, 02:32 AM
I never went into detail about the severity of the break, other than the MC saw his wrist at an odd angle in the moments following the car accident, and the fact that it needed to be set surgically. Am I right in feeling the average YA reader either wouldn't care past surgery -> cast, or that they'd assume this was the type of injury that would allow for some snow fun (no sledding or anything, just running around and tossing snowballs with his good arm and stuff)? It just didn't seem like more detail was needed.

M J Austwick
09-21-2013, 10:18 AM
If it's not relevant to the plot then leave it out. A "bent" wrist can be straightened under local and cast to hold the bones in place. Job done. However if the cast gets wet, replacing it is a big deal as it is all that is holding the bone fragments in place.

blacbird
09-21-2013, 10:37 AM
I have a 16 y/o character who required outpatient surgery for a badly broken wrist suffered in a car accident. What would his situation a week or so out be like? I was assuming it'd be casted, but I need to know for sure. I have him resting for a week at home (there were also concussion type-issues and a seizure), and doing some playing in the snow with the MC six days post-surgery.

Thanks in advance!

The wrist break (which is highly dependent on which bone and where the break really occurred) is far less significant than the concussion/seizure issue. I've broken a small bone between the forearm and hand bones, and also a hand bone, the latter twice. Never had to stay home for even a day, and never had to get prescription pain meds. Yeah, it's sore, but they put a small cast on it, and away you go. You might not be able to use a computer keyboard or play a saxophone for a while, but beyond that, no problem.

The head injury, however . . .

caw

justbishop
09-21-2013, 06:02 PM
The wrist break (which is highly dependent on which bone and where the break really occurred) is far less significant than the concussion/seizure issue. I've broken a small bone between the forearm and hand bones, and also a hand bone, the latter twice. Never had to stay home for even a day, and never had to get prescription pain meds. Yeah, it's sore, but they put a small cast on it, and away you go. You might not be able to use a computer keyboard or play a saxophone for a while, but beyond that, no problem.

The head injury, however . . .

caw

Oh yeah, the seizure happened the day of the accident (a Saturday), they kept him in the hospital that night, surgery Sunday, and he's been home from school resting in bed until this romp in the snow exactly seven days later (Saturday morning).

I also didn't go into much detail about the playing in the snow, so for all intents and purposes, it could be assumed that it's mostly snow angels and snowman building, rather than much running around and horseplay.