I suffered a FOOSH (Fall on out-stretched Hand) Injury about a month ago. It took a couple of weeks for my arm to regain full movement again without pain. I am currently on restriction with the right forearm stating I cannot lift more than 20lbs with it which was a move up from not being able to use it at all.
When the fall occurred the only thing that hurt most was my elbow. But now that it has gotten better it hurts only rarely and usually effected by weather. But since the elbow has come around my wrist has been hurting more. At a follow up appointment the Dr said that I suffered a Radial Head Fracture and a sprained wrist.
My elbow feels fine right now except for minor "pains" here and there. But my wrist has seemed to really be hurting a lot worse. If I pick something up that is less than 20lbs it feels like my fingers cramp up in that position. I feel tingling and pain in the tips of some of my fingers. My wrist cracks when I move it. There is also sharp pain under my thumb in my palm which from researching it is my scaphoid. Everything I'm reading is suggesting that Scaphoid injuries are common with FOOSH injuries and that they are usually fractured but not caught with the first x-ray.
I go back in a week to get re-x-rayed and I am afraid that they will discover it is fractured and place me in a cast further limiting me.
My question is, is it possible the scaphoid is just bruised at this point and still healing even a month afterwards? My wrist did not hurt on impact nor when I was at the ER only starting hurting after my elbow came back around. The color of my skin under my thumb is purple/blue-ish. It doesn't hurt all the time only when I'm lifting something (even under the 20lbs) or using my fingers.
I realize without x-rays no one can give an accurate answer, I just want to know possibilities.
An arm sling, rest ice and anti-inflammatory drugs is the first treatment, for SIX weeks, not two. This isn't one of those 'man-up' situations.
You had a fracture and fractures need to heal before use or therapy. I'm sure this isn't want you want to read or believe...no one does. I just had surgery last week to repair a broken arm. It really gets in the way of what I want to do, but if I want full use of my arm again I have to respect its needs! you know?
I find it irresponsible that you were told you can lift as much as 20 pounds on a broken bone...any kind of break. Bone does not heal that fast. Neither do hyper-extended thumbs. I had one of those too. After the bone is shown to be solid in an X-ray is when light use (like picking up an envelope) and physical therapy can begin. The thumb needs PT as well. The ligaments can be further damaged and take months longer to heal with use as usual.
Bone has no nerves, so you can't rely on pain level to tell you what is going on.You could even need surgery or a metal plate and not feel it.
So please don't take your injury lightly. I will be glad to share more details of my experience if you want.
I was given an arm sling when I left the ER. I must say I feel they didn't fit me with a proper one as my wrist hung out & down from the sling which may or may not have added to the issues with my wrist. I was only prescribed Vicodin for the pain but didn't take it, hated the way it had me feeling.
When I saw the orthopedic for my first follow up he stated that because it was a radial head fracture and a sprained wrist that the "care plan" for that is a sling for the first week and then nothing after that. He was also the one who suggested the 20lb lifting requirement. After working with my arm and still I realize that I cannot lift 20lb, 3lbs even seems heavier than usual with that arm.
You are right what you said is something I didn't want to hear since I just want to get back to work and off light duty asap. But at the same time I want to resume my regular activities and further hurting my arm isn't best, so I do appreciate that.
Since this is a workman's comp claim I was told who I had to see, now I am wondering if maybe I should have someone else look it over.
I would appreciate hearing the details of what happened to you and thank you for taking the time to help me out.
You're welcome, OneEskimo. I have gotten so much help here I am glad to help out. At least you can know you're not alone.
I find it absurd for an orthopedic doctor to ignore a radial head fracture and a sprained wrist and recommend nothing after one week. Definitely not to recommend lifting 20 pounds. Really get some x-rays done by someone who understands...a D.O. doctor would be a good start but definitely from an ortho with some education and experience that is NOT working for the business insurance company.
I understand wanting to get back to work asap, but do what is best for your arm. A break isn't insignificant, and it may be one that will heal without complications if treated and rested appropriately. It's a hardship, but take it from me who kept charging full speed ahead through past injuries (I also had a broken leg). The result isn't at all worth it. That's how I learned my lesson this time.
I am with you on disliking how narcotics affect me. I used some right after the fall, and after surgery which was done two and a half weeks ago. Icing is pretty effective, and I use 400 to 600 mg Motrin to relieve the inflammation when too achey to sleep. But I don't use it during the day because I tend to overdo if I feel no pain.
What happened to me is five weeks ago I slipped and fell onto my back putting my hand down so it hit first, shattering the hand end of the radius bone, and the bone spit toward the elbow in several places. Thankfully none of the small hand bones were injured or displaced. I attached a picture of how it looks now that it was secured with a plate. A year ago I fell forward on my other hand and hyper-extended the thumb of my dominant hand. I used it too soon and so it took six months to recover full extension and strength. Before it got well I didn't know if it would ever quit hurting, but now it is fine.
My wrist hung out of my sling, too. was not good. Emergency care is just to stabilize us...we always need to get checked out further and get better advice.
If you don't have a primary care doc you need to find and establish one. I didn't have insurance or a PC, but did know an orthopedic expert of whom I asked if he would just give me his opinion. He said yes, did x-rays in his office, and said he would take my case. Many specialists refuse to see anyone not referred by a PC...big deal...try asking anyway...ask friends if they will call their docs and ask them to see you for a second opinion.
I ended up cutting off the emergency room plaster splint and cutting it down so it was not around my elbow or stopping my fingers from moving, and my Stanford level orthopedic doctor told me I was smart. I totally believe you need to find the most expert orthopedic doctor you can afford. I would not trust my care only to a workman comp recommended doctor as they most often accept kick backs from the WC ins. for minimal treatment. It's just a fact of life.
Let me know how you are doing and if you get another opinion outside that doctor's group. It seemed like malpractice to me. Your hands are obviously your livlihood. You may need a good personal injury attorney before this is over.
__________________ Tree Frog
Last edited by Administrator; 08-28-2010 at 05:35 PM.