What is Distal Radius Surgery?
A radius distal fracture is a break that occurs in the distal (lower) end of the radius bone, which is one of the two bones in the forearm (the other being the ulna). The distal radius is the portion of the radius closest to the wrist, and is a common site for fractures due to its location and the role it plays in hand and wrist movements.
Symptoms of a distal radius fracture include pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected arm. Some people may also experience numbness or tingling in the fingers, or a visible deformity of the wrist. A distal radius fracture may also be accompanied by a dislocated wrist or other injuries to the surrounding soft tissue.
Causes of distal radius fracture include:
- Direct trauma, such as a fall onto an outstretched hand.
- Repetitive stress on the bone, such as seen in athletes or people with certain job that require repetitive movements of the wrist.
- Osteoporosis which can weaken the bone and make it more susceptible to fractures.
Diagnosis of a distal radius fracture typically includes a physical examination, as well as imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scan or MRI.
Treatment options for a distal radius fracture may include:
- Immobilization with a cast or splint, to help the bone heal in the proper position.
- Physical therapy, to help improve range of motion and strength in the affected arm.
- Surgery, to reposition the bones or fix them in place with hardware, such as screws, plates, or pins.
In cases of displaced fractures or fractures with significant angulation, surgery may be required. In cases of undisplaced fractures, a splint or cast is usually used to immobilize the fracture to allow healing.
Recovery time for a distal radius fracture can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the treatment chosen, but generally ranges from six to eight weeks. Physical therapy is usually recommended to help regain strength, range of motion, and function of the affected arm.
It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and not to overuse the affected arm, as this can delay healing. In addition, working with a kinesiologist or a physiotherapist can help with pain management and support the recovery process.
How can Kinesiology help me with management of pain post surgery for a distal radius fracture?
Kinesiology, also known as human kinetics, is the study of the movement of the human body and how it relates to health and fitness. Kinesiologists can help with the management of pain post-surgery for a distal radius fracture by developing a customized rehabilitation program.
- Range of motion exercises: Kinesiologists can design exercises that will help to increase the range of motion in the affected arm, reducing pain and stiffness.
- Strengthening exercises: Kinesiologists can design exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the affected area, improving function and reducing pain.
- Manual therapy: Kinesiologists may use manual therapy techniques such as massage and joint mobilization to help reduce pain and improve mobility.
- Brace or splint fitting: Kinesiologists can also help with the fitting of any braces or splints that may be needed to support the affected area during the healing process
- Pain management techniques: Kinesiologists may teach you pain management techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization, to help you cope with pain during the healing process
- Return to activity : Kinesiologists can help you to safely return to your normal activities, such as work or sport, by gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your exercises and providing advice on how to modify your activities to avoid aggravating your injury.
It is important to work with a kinesiologist who is experienced in working with individuals who have had a distal radius fracture surgery, as they will be able to tailor the rehabilitation program to your specific needs and goals. At Kinesiology for Performance, we have first hand experience and understanding of a Distal Radius Fracture and just how much support is needed after surgery and are very happy to support you. We are not medical professionals and cannot prescribe any medication.