Rehabilitation for distal radius fracture

What to expect during the bone healing process?
There are so many different types of fractures and treatment options for a wrist-related spoke fracture that it is difficult to predict the impact for each individual case.

Most fractures cause moderate pain over a period of two days to about 3-4 weeks.

For many patients, ice cooling, elevated positioning (the arm must be held above the heart) and anti-inflammatory drugs already provide sufficient pain relief.

An effective combination of drugs consists of ibuprofen and paracetamol (analgesics).
Both drugs together have a much greater effect than one alone.
In case of severe pain, prescription drugs, e.g. narcotics, can be taken for a few days.

Plaster and rails must remain dry.
The surgical incisions must be kept clean and dry for at least 5 days or until the stitches are removed.

What to expect after bone healing?

Most patients return to their original state of health and resume their normal activities without any problems.
The type of accident, method of treatment and reaction of the organism to therapy influence the final result, therefore the effects vary from case to case.

However, some general statements can be made.
The cast is usually removed after 4-6 weeks.
If the doctor deems it necessary, the patient starts physiotherapy a few days after the procedure or after the plaster cast.
Most patients are able to perform light sports activities, such as swimming and lower limb exercises, within one to two months of the plaster cast or surgery.

Three to six months after the injury, sports such as skiing and football can be practiced again.
Almost all patients complain of stiffness in the wrist, which subsides within two months of plaster removal/surgery.
Complete return to normal health is expected after 6 months at the earliest.

Stiffness and residual pain can still be noticeable for two years at certain times, especially if the patient is older, suffers from osteoarthritis or has suffered a particularly severe trauma.
However, the stiffness is usually low and does not affect the overall functioning of the arm.

These are just a few rough guidelines that do not necessarily apply to everyone; the individual case must be discussed with the attending physician.

What rehabilitation is needed after a distal radius fracture?

Magnetotherapy can speed up the healing process, recovery times can be reduced by up to 50%.
Unfortunately, it is rarely prescribed by doctors because they do not know it or doubt its effectiveness; however, there are scientific studies that have certified its high effectiveness years ago.

Once the cast is removed, a physiotherapeutic or rehabilitative exercise program should be started to regain normal range of motion and muscle strength.
Particularly important are the exercises to promote the rotational movement (pronation and supination of the forearm), e.g. as they are performed when pouring a glass of water or pressing down a doorknob.

Pronation and supination, i.e. turning the hand in and out, are indispensable in everyday life: they are carried out while eating, dressing, driving and working; with a broken wrist they are very limited.

A fracture of the wrist also causes the stiffness of all fingers, from the thumb to the little finger, so physiotherapy must also take these joints into account.
Rehabilitation must continue at home to speed up healing times.


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