Fractured Wrist: In splint for 5 weeks, soreness/swelling normal?

Posted by tina8808 @tina8808, May 25 7:27am

I’m a 55 year old female (not too active), I fell on a slab of concrete (landed on the palm of my hand) and broke my wrist. X-rays determined that I have three hairline fractures, one in the elbow and two at the wrist area.  No further scans (MRI, etc) were taken. I’ve been in a splint for 5 weeks (they gave me a choice between a cast or splint extending two inches from my elbow). I am being careful not to pick up anything or use my arm in a stressful way (not even typing).  Although I do move my fingers to keep range of motion.   After a five weeks in the splint, my wrist is still sore and swollen, my forearm is sore and I can’t extend my elbow.  

1. To feel constant warmth in the palm of my hand?
2. Wrist swelling at this stage? (About 2 millimeters)
3. Forearm constant warmth and soreness, even when not in use?
4. Inability to fully extend my elbow?
5. Should I still need to take Ibuprofen every eight hours after five weeks, to maintain swelling?

Thank you

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@tina8808 Good Morning Tina, and welcome to Mayo Connect. We are a community of patients and caregivers who support one another, not medical professionals.
I can tell you that discomfort and some swelling at this point is common, but beyond that these are questions for a medical professional.
Have you seen an orthopedist or a hand doctor since the initial treatment? Or do you have a followup appointment scheduled soon? It is important to have the level of healing evaluated, and then to begin therapy to regain use as soon as it is appropriate.
Broken bones are no fun, and can affect our lives long-term if not treated well.


Hi @tina8808 – I also fell and broke my right wrist at 54. I had a cast for 6 weeks and did not use it even to type. The bone healed fine and quickly. I also tore ligaments and those are slower to heal. I never fully regained my range of motion as far as bending my hand down toward my wrist. I also had a strange swelling or lump on one side that even baffled the orthopedic surgeon. It stayed for years. I just looked (I'm 64 now) and it's still slightly noticeable only if I'm looking for it. I can tell you that my wrist hurt for a full year whenever I would pick up anything even slightly heavy with that hand. Not unbearable but noticeable. It finally went away.

Definitely bring up all your issues to the orthopedic surgeon and be sure to get physical therapy to correct that range of motion issue as soon as possible. The long something goes on, the harder it is to fix. Best of luck to you.


Thank you Zebra, very helpful.


@tina8808, so sorry to hear this. I can empathize as in 2016 I took a backflip off my bathroom counter (I was up there painting), landed in a deep garden tub, banged my head on the back of the tub, and broke my right arm right at the wrist. I had surgery to put in a plate and screws.
Have you been keeping your arm elevated as much as you can? That can help the swelling. Also, does the splint feel particularly tight? That, too, can cause swelling. If you're still in pain enough to need pain meds, you really should alternate the ibuprofen with Tylenol.
If you take the splint off at times, you might try a cold pack on there to help the swelling.
It sounds like you need to see your doctor again to talk about your concerns and find out when you can start some physical therapy. When I broke my arm I was 67 and had to realize it was just going to take a bit longer to heal than it would when I was younger.
Good luck. I know it's frustrating, but hopefully your doc will be able to give you some answers to your concerns.

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