Physical Rehabilitation Medicine/COLLES FRACTURE with K WIRES


Hi.  I fell and fractured my left radius on 31 Oct 2014. On 2 Nov I had K wires drilled into the bone and a cast up to just below the elbow, which stayed on for seven weeks.  It was a great relief when the cast was removed but my fingers and hand were still swollen with the  edge of my thumb very numb since the operation.  It is nine weeks since the operation and the swelling has gone down a bit but hand and fingers are stiff and I am unable to make a fist or bend/rotate the wrist, I can just see my knuckles.  It feels like a combination of stinging/soreness, burning, numbness and pain. I haven't heard anything from the hospital yet regarding physio so I went to see my GP who has now referred me for hand therapy.  Can you tell me how much longer the healing is likely to take after having K wires and will I eventually be able to get full mobility restored?

Ok.  First, the median nerve likely has a neurotmesis meaning it has been compressed or moved during surgery.  Basically the nerve is irritated and should get better barring any damage or severe, longstanding compression.  Seven weeks in a cast is a long time but unchecked, brawny edema can be severely debilitating.  It's basically swelling that turns into a thick substance resembling scar tissue which will "stick" to anything.  It can cause significant joint stiffness to include the wrist and digits as well as the forearm (put your elbow to your side and try to turn your palm up.  

Regarding healing, most fractures are healed at 8 weeks however the lasting effects on the digits and overall motion can be permanent.  Make sure you see a certified hand therapist if at all possible...go to

Good luck!

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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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