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Katie1011 12-03-2012 11:01 PM

ulnar shortening post op
I had my surgery Oct 30,2012. Had the shortening, fixed the tear, and she cleaned up the damage at the wrist. I'm currently in a hard cast. I am finishing up my first week of only taking meds 1 or 2 times a day verses every four hours on the dot. I'm in so much more pain now. But I can see where the meds can be addicting so I wanna ween from them. But I thought it'd go better, I didn't know I'd have so much pain. I've read some things about post op and i'm worried.....
How long will recover be? How long will I be in a hard cast? my doctor said if I can't keep it protected in a brace she will keep the cast on for 12 Weeks!!! (omg this thing stinks so bad already) i've seen some say they didn't regain full strength after surgery? What!?!?! I would be so mad. I already regret going the surgery and if it ends up being worse I'll be so upset. I wish I knew how this is gonna turn out. I just wanna go back to minimal pain. :%

MountainReader 12-04-2012 08:06 PM

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,

Katie1011 12-06-2012 12:33 PM

Re: ulnar shortening post op
Thank you. I'll have to try the vacuum. I've been putting baby powder in the places I can fit it into. my pain is in both places, where the plate is located and at my wrist where the tear was. I got a bone stimulator now. I'm hoping that helps speed things up. the surgeon already told me she plans taking the plate out 6 months after surgery. My newest concern in PT. My swelling has gone down which means my cast is loser and I can move my wrist some. I know she will put a tighter one on in 2 Weeks but i'm hearing PT hurts really bad:( I do wish I didn't do this surgery and just dealt with the pain.

MountainReader 12-06-2012 09:19 PM

Re: ulnar shortening post op
I hope your bone stimulator works well.

I had to get my first replacement cast at 4 weeks because so much swelling had gone down that my hand was flopping around alot. Unfortunately, there was one spot that I had where the 2nd cast rubbed some and I hated it even more than the first.

While I was frustrated during PT, it wasn't from pain from the PT itself. I was more frustrated when I stalled before regaining full palm-up capability and the fact I still had pain from my original tfcc area wrist pain. Most of my PT consisted of heat, ice, massage and ultrasound. I had one exercise that focused on some ROM. I didn't add any weight at all until my last couple visits. Insurance cut me off from more PT before I got any further. The big thing the therapist wanted to do was work on the scaring and scar tissue. The ROM work was done passively by the therapist.

Both of my PT's now have said that with wrist therapy there should not be pain with what we do because that causes inflammation which is contradictory to healing of the wrist. I wouldn't worry about PT pain at this point.

My first surgeon didn't think I needed the arthroscopy so I only had the shortening first which made my healing a bit different from yours. I just had my arthroscopy 2 weeks ago.

Unless it isn't allowed with the bone stimulator, I still recommend using lots of ice to help you with some of the painfulness.

I wish you well with your healing and weaning off of the meds.

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