A wrist fracture can really slow you down. If you are looking for rehabilitation after a broken wrist in Visalia, Bacci & Glinn PT can help. Our physical therapy treatment can play is very important in assisting patients with a full recovery after a wrist fracture.
The wrist is a complex joint in which 15 different bones meet, each one with its own specific function. The radius is one of the bones in the forearm that connects the elbow to the wrist, and fractures of this bone are extremely common. When the term “broken wrist” is used, it usually refers to fractures of the distal part of the radius, which is where it meets the wrist. The treatment a wrist fracture depends on how serious it is, but regardless of what is recommended, physical therapy can—and should—be involved.
Wrist fractures account for approximately 1/6 of all broken bones, and they occur in about 15% of women over the age of 50. The vast majority of these injuries result when someone falls and lands with their hands outstretched, which is often called a “fall on an outstretched hand,” or FOOSH. Athletes who participate in fast-paced sports like soccer and basketball are at an increased risk for wrist fractures, but so are older adults who may suffer an accidental slip or fall.
Every year about 1 of every 3 adults over age 65 experiences a fall, and many of these accidents lead to a fracture of the wrist or some other bone. Unfortunately, research has also shown that older adults who suffer a single wrist fracture are more likely to have difficulties with their balance, which places them at an increased risk for additional injuries in the future. On the flip side, poor balance has been identified as the number one factor that leads to the majority of wrist fractures. So it appears that poor balance, wrist fractures and falls are all closely related: poor balance increases the risk for falling and fracturing the wrist, and wrist fractures in turn impair balance as a result.
This highlights the need for an intervention that addresses all of these factors, and physical therapy may very well be the best solution available. A course of physical therapy can be used to conservatively (non-surgically) treat wrist fractures that are not too severe, and it is also strongly recommended for rehabilitating the fractures that do require surgery. In addition, physical therapists can create balance-training programs for older adults who may be at risk for falling, thereby improving their balance and reducing their risk for a fall—and a wrist fracture—in the process.
One recent study investigated the effectiveness of physical therapy in treating a group of 74 patients with distal radius fractures by comparing a supervised physical therapy program with a home-based exercise program. Six months afterwards, they reached the following conclusion:
A supervised physical therapy program is more effective for improving function in the short- and medium-term when compared with a home-exercise program in patients older than 60 years with an extraarticular distal radius fracture without immediate complications
So if you’re concerned with your risk for falling, have recently experienced a wrist fracture, and need rehab after a broken wrist in Visalia, seeing one of our physical therapists may very well be your best bet for a successful recovery and to protect you from injury in the long term.