One of the most common injuries seen in a hand surgeon’s office is termed the distal radius fracture. It is a common injury that afflicts one of the bones in the forearm. The significance of this injury lies in the fact that the distal radius serves as a surface upon which the wrist rests and moves. If this surface is disrupted by a fracture (broken bone), it can present a significant and potentially lifelong complication for the patient.
The sequelae of distal radius fracture can range from nothing to having constant pain, loss of motion and complete inability to use the hand. While the bone can heal on its own, timely putting the broken pieces in their proper place can avoid most of the complications of a distal radius fracture.
Some of the most challenging cases of distal radius fractures present when it is too late and the pieces have fused in an incorrect position (called a malunion). This can happen in just several weeks after the injury. Such patient can present a special challenge to the treating surgeon.
While statistically such cases are rare, we see a significant amount of late presenting distal radius fractures at ROC. One such patient presented to Dr. Yevgeny Shuhatovich. She had fallen several months ago and sustained a distal radius fracture. The surgeon who saw the patient immediately and correctly recommended surgery. The patient could not have the surgery at the time. She was then placed in a cast and remained in it for several months. After the cast was removed the patient tried to rehabilitate her wrist, arm and fingers, but she could not due to extreme pain.
When she presented to Dr. Yevgeny, she was told that because of the orientation of the fragments of her bone, she would always have pain in her wrist, unless she had corrective surgery. In such cases, the incorrectly healed pieces of bone have to be re-broken. Then they must be put together in the correct manner and held together while they heal.
After successful surgery, the patient presented for a first follow-up and immediately noted, that her pain during motion is already better than it ever was. Dr. Yevgeny prescribed a home exercise program to the patient. At 2 weeks, her sutures were removed. At 2 months, the patient had full motion and absolutely no pain. She cannot wait to go back to the gym and start back with her favorite exercises.