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Physical Rehabilitation Medicine/shoulderpain after Distal Radius Wrist Fracture


I broke my right wrist, 'typical Colle's Fracture' with slight dislocation, Sept. 8/12 treated with a very tight cast till Oct. 31 (7 weeks). Consequently, hand was always swollen, but have had some PT and now do the prescribed exercises faithfully, which has reduced a lot of the swelling, and am starting to make a fist. A week after the cast was removed, felt a sharp pain from my arm to my shoulder, and now am dealing with restricted arm movement with a lot of pain in the shoulder area especially at night.I use ice packs to help reduce inflammation on my hand/wrist area and also on my shoulder. I have another appt. with the doctor (O.S.)but have reservations about his care and want to be prepared with questions to ask. I am an active 61 year old female, 122lbs, no other health concerns. I can give you more info about the x-ray results post fracture if required. Thank you for any direction you can give me.
With gratitude,
Arlie DeGiuli

Well that's typical.  The benefits of a non or minimally displaced fracture is the option of casting.  However, that involves immobilization which isn't good either.  That's why many folks who have distal radius fractures repaired with plate/screw fixation they often have excellent results.  Because they are able to move usually day 3-5 post op.

I would stop the ice.  That's for acute swelling/edema.  You likely have a brawny, thick edema.  Heating things up are what you need to do.  

I'm not able to help you with the pain if it's so diffuse.  If you could describe the pain, location, etc.  Pictures or videos are even better.  Most likely you have shoulder stiffness from not using the entire arc of motion while you were casted.  Most likely if you are "just now starting to make a fist" I would assume lots of other joints are stiff/tight such as the wrist/elbow/digits.

So...try sending me pictures/videos...descriptions of pain, when it hurts, where, etc.

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Brian Neville, OTR/L, CWCE


I can answer questions about both conservative and post-operative rehabilitation for UPPER extremity injuries. These include but are not limited to: fractures, tendon repairs, tendon transfers, nerve repairs, lacerations, tenolysis procedures, TFCC injuries, repetitive motion disorders, reconstructive procedures. I have an advanced knowledge of UPPER extremity anatomy and industrial rehabilitation. I have extensive splinting skills for injuries to the upper extremity. Although not a physician or a surgeon I have worked closely with world renowned upper extremity specialists for over 10 years. I can give general information on what some of the most common upper extremity surgeries involve. I can reference those procedures as well. PLEASE DON'T ASK ME QUESTIONS ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE NECK, SHOULDER, ARM/HAND. I'M NOT QUALIFIED AND KNOW ABSOLUTELY ZERO ABOUT BACKS/HIPS/KNEES/ANKLES/ETC. THANK YOU!!!


10+ years working closely with orthopedic and hand surgeons and their patients. I have treated patients with small lacerations to major reconstructive procedures. My knowledge base includes both conservative and post-operative rehab protocols and care for upper extremity injuries. I have treated patients all the way from day 1 post-op to return-to-work status.

Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association American Society of Hand Therapy National Nurses in Business Association Roy Matheson and Associates

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Occupational Therapist former Certified Hand Therapist (license currently inactive) Deep Physical Agent Modalities Instructor Certified Work Capacity Evaluator

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