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Recovery from a broken wrist

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by bananna, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Hi all, I registered this account to see if anyone has been in a similar situation and could share any anecdotal experience/advice.

    First off, I am the biggest motorbike noob in the universe; I know that they’re loud and that’s probably about it.

    Anyway, my brother recently (a few months ago) had a pretty bad accident on his motorbike and ended up in ICU with some nasty injuries (street light pole didn’t get out of the way in time), a broken wrist included, which was probably the most minor of the injuries but is seeming to be the most difficult to rehabilitate.

    Was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and how difficult/lengthy it was physically to recover the movement to be able to get back into riding?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who has any experiences they’re willing to share and apologies if I made this thread in the wrong area or if there are other pre-existing threads with a similar theme – I did have a quick look and couldn’t find one.


  2. Can't say I'd had a broken wrist but dislocated my shoulder plenty of times. All I can say is that as soon as you get a chance to start some physio or any excercies a doc may prescribe do them religously - not only do they help to get things moving again they should strenghten the muscles to that should avoid any pain or further injury down the track.

    All the best with the recovery - in the grand scheme of things a accident that you can recover from is best of a bad situation
  3. I broke mine badly a few years ago in a push bike accident. It still aches from time to time now, breaking joints is always problematic. At the time I wasn't into motorbikes but was riding push bike every day, I think stress on the wrist wise that's probably worse anyway.

    From what I recall the recovery of muscle tone and strength was quite quick. After a bad break there is the psychological element too of being very protective of the damaged area.

    My advice would be take it slow, don't do too much too soon, but, assuming you have recovery physio do EVERYTHING you are told, meticulously, essential to recover full range of movement. It often hurts quite a lot, do it anyway ("pain is just the feeling of weakness leaving the body" - right....).

    I did buy various wrist strengthening devices but didn't use any of them.
  4. I've currently got a wrist injury (not broken, but motorcycle related :oops:) and the bastard will not heal up. Been like this for 4 months now and the doc's solution is to just give up riding (!). Yeah right.
    So, I can almost imagine how bad an actual break would be, and they are difficult things to get right again. I've heard there are surgeons who specialise in this and can work wonders, but they aren't covered by Medicare.
    I am beginning to agree that exercising - lightly - as soon as you can is the best thing you can do.
  5. 4 months? Yikes that really sucks. I think my bro is coming up to 2 months since the accident soon.

    He did have surgery, but in the public hospital system, although it seems like they did a reasonable job considering the wrist was almost completely shattered. It was his right wrist (not sure if that makes a difference in terms of motorbike riding).

    I believe he has a ton of exercises to do, although he probably wouldn't take too kindly to getting nagged about it by his little sister. >.<

    Thanks for the responses so far everyone. Really appreciate hearing from people who have walked in those shoes before.
  6. Nag him, nag him lots!

    Physio sucks but has to be done.
  7. ^^Mirrors my experience to a Tee and the advice I would have given. My right wrist still hurts years later. I've been told that based on the kind of break I'm a monty for arthritis so at the time I upped my calcium to hopefully promote the bones knitting, and I've been chomping on fish oil and glucosamine ever since.
  8. I went over my handle bars at speed which caused my tendons and muscles to be hyper extended (?) or something. Doc was surprised they weren't broken considering the circumstance. When I got up from the kitty litter I couldn't lean on my hands to get myself up and was in major pain.

    Anyways this was April 2010 and my wrist still hurt if I put too much pressure on them if placed awkwardly. For the first 2 months I did a bit of hand exercise to get some movement into my wrists (just before the pain starts) and over 3 or 4 months after that I forced myself to increase their movements. About 6-7 months after, I had pretty much full movement, however putting too much pressure on them while bent (say push ups with open palm), there was still pain but nothing unbearable. 10 months I was back at the gym doing weights, however as soon as pain was felt, I stopped.

    These are some of the exercises I did during my recovery if you want to pass them on it's up to you, but I am not a doctor or a physiothe******...also I didn't break my wrists, just muscle and tendon damage.

    Early stages I used a stress ball which I would squeeze every day whenever I can (at computer, watching TV etc). While squeezing I would rotate my wrist in any direction until a bit of pain can be felt. I also rotated hands/wrists whenever I could.

    Once I felt like I could squeeze the ball with ease, I moved up to one of the wrist/hand squeezers (level up!)...looks similar to this.


    Same as previous, I would squeeze and move my hand around until pain can be felt. This was pretty much for the first 4-5 months...even after being able to squeeze the wrist squeezer easily, I kept squeezing it once a day to keep the muscles working.

    At this point, with most likely greater wrist/hand movement, I start to stretch my wrists more. Either by bending them backwards and forwards while leaning against the edge of a table or interlocking fingers and stretching them palm outwards in front of your body. Anything to increase the movement of the hands but at the same time being careful about pushing the limits. It will still be painful but it will help once the pain goes away and muscles regain full strength. Open palm push ups is not recommended at this point, however you can for a little while (maybe 2 or 3 push ups) and then start fist push ups while keeping the wrists straight as possible.

    Between 4-8 months, I was also using some weights on my hands. Obviously starting low and increasing the weight. One example: Hold a low weighted dumbbell on either side of your body with your fingertips and roll the fingers into a fists so that the dumbbell sits in your palm. After rolling the dumbbell up into the palm, bend your wrist upwards and then drop it back down and unroll fingers so that the weights start at the finger tips again. (probably doesn't make any sense and trying to find a clip of said exercise proved to be fruitless). Another example would be to hold a weight in the palm of your hand in front of you in the vertical and bending at the wrists up and down (working left/right side of wrist)...or hold it horizontally and bend wrists up and down (working top/bottom of wrist). Hold weights in front in your palm and twist the wrist while keeping elbows from moving with the twisting action. The above can also be done without weights at first to make sure the movements can be done without too much pain.

    From there I started to up the weights and went back to my normal gym routine, making sure my wrists were kept straight and are not placed in an awkward position.

    Wrists aren't as painful now but definitely not the same as they were before.

    Hopefully that might help out a little. My doctor said wrists are by far the more annoying joints to ever get back to normal, if ever possible. Hope your brother recovers quickly :).

  9. =1 above.
    Or if your cheap like me just use old tennis balls.
    But first get advice from your physio!!!!!!!!!!!! Find out how far you can push yourself first.
    Usually the quicker you start the rehabilitation the better it heals
  10. Wow thanks for all those replies. What a great community you've got here!

    Phong, how long did it take before you were able to ride again?

    Sounds like recovery is in the order of months and months (or close to a year?!?). That sure does suck. :( (Also gotta think of a new xmas present now - was going to get some sort of motorbike magazine subscription but now it would just be mean. Damn.)

    Cheers for the awesome replies, would love to hear from anyone else.

  11. rehab is what you make of it.
    some people work hard at it and never give up.
    others just spiral downward and get lazy, eventually depressed.

    if the doctors prognosis is a year, make your goal 6 months.

    patience and perserverance. no weakness can be tolerated.

    if the wrist is the weakest point, then it must be made stronger than it ever was before.
  12. They say hand jobs help what? just saying
  13. i broke my right wrist and was in cast to the elbow for 6 weeks. took about 4 extra weeks to get strength back and feel comfortable again then another 2/3 months to be where i was before the crash.

    but my collarbone took 3 weeks until i was riding again.
  14. I broke my wrist(scaphoid) in a riding accident...........I fell off a camel.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Has that been medically proven? Not that you'd have people lining up to be in a control group for that experiment...
  16. Well the biggest wankers usually lead in motocross.
    So I am guessing they don't suffer arm pump.
    I rest my case.....
  17. i used a stress ball to try to keep strength/gain strength after i busted my wrist.

    but you may want to try this...

    • Like Like x 2
  18. I crashed on the race track and didn't have a registered road bike until the start of this year so can't be too sure on the time frame. At a guess, I would say probably 4-5 months was enough to get me back to riding since I had good grip strength and most of my movement back.

    I don't know...didn't hasten my recover :p
  19. Is that video for real? To me it looks like something else....

    Anyway, thanks for sharing Phong. Good to have a rough idea of a time frame.


  20. Ha ha JimmyD that's just a wanking machine lol. I want one.