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Old 12-04-2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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Re: ulnar shortening post op

Hi Katie,

I'm sorry to hear you are going through such a tough time. I had my ulnar osteotomy in February of this year. There is another poster on here who had her surgery around the same time. We have a post on the Bone board titled Ulnar Osteotomy if you want to see our surgery journeys.

This is a rough surgery. For me, they took out 4mm of my bone. I didn't have a tear repair though. Looking back, I should have pushed my surgeon for arthroscopic evaluation though. I just went back in right before Thanksgiving for a second surgery because I still had pain after surgery from my initial injury. I had a ton of clean up done on my wrist this time and ended up having my plate removed.

My Occupational Hand Therapist told me it was a rough surgery to recover from. It seems to me that you've been in excessive pain for a long time. It may be fairly normal though. I didn't find a need for so many pills for the pain for such a long time. My Orthopedic Surgeon offered refills of the pain meds. Over the course of my recovery, I went through one script and a couple pills from a second script. Most of those pills were taken over the first 2 weeks. I did need a few when I got my first cast and when I got the cast off initially. Mostly, I used tons and tons of ice, even over the hard cast. It really did help. I just crushed it like snow in my Ninja and put it in a plastic bag which molded over my arm.

I'm curious, where is your pain located? Is it where the bone shortening was or where your tear repair was?

I was in a splint cast for the first 2 weeks, then a cast for 4 weeks. (No splint after that.) For the last couple weeks of that, I had some trouble with the fiberglass cast so I got an Exos splint cast. It was removable, but it was hard as the fiberglass cast and molded to my arm like the fiberglass. 12 weeks seems like a long time for the bone repair. I'm wondering if your doctor is more concerned with healing your tear.

I started PT as soon as my cast came off. The therapist did tons of work on my scar and did a lot of passive motion stuff. I regained my strength and most of my ROM back. I was just shy of being able to get my final bit of movement to get a full palms up. I struggled though because my insurance cut me off so I never got to finish my PT. I think the fact that my original injury wasn't fixed also played a role. I'll be able to tell you in a month or two how much ROM I'm at since I start PT tomorrow for my second surgery I had a 2 weeks ago.

Wierd question: Do you have access to a vacuum cleaner with a hose? If so, hold the vacuum hose up against your cast for a while... maybe about 5-10 minutes at a time or until you feel better. It actually pulls air from the ends of your cast up and up through the fiberglass. It should help with some of the stink. I used this trick (with a special holder that I payed too much for) during the duration I had the cast on and never got the stink. It also helps keep the skin dry. I'd encourage you to give it a try.

I will caution you that about 1/3 of people who have the plates put in end up needing them out at some point afterwards. I didn't really understand that in full until recently.

My recommendation to you now is to keep icing and elevate when you can. Also, try not to overdo things.

I wish you well,
Asthma, Allergies, Dry Eye, severe LPR/GERD, TMJD, Hearing Loss, Ulnar Impaction Syndrome, Shoulder Impingement, Ankle ligament repair, arthritis, Joint Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder