Rehab after a forearm fracture treated with a cast for three months


Q: My forearm was broken as a resultof defending myself from an aluminum bat.i been in a cast for 3 mnths.i moved to different part of the country and lack medical coverage. i took the cast off because it is fully healed, but the joints in wrist is slightly swollen. and elbow is hard to bend.i assume this is from lack of use in both cases of joint do i rehab the area.i also suffer from type 2 diabetes. thisis why the healing process took so do i rehab my arm?


A:   Rehabilitation of a fractured radius and/or ulna depends on the type of fracture and length of immobilization. The main focus of rehabilitation should emphasize restoring full range of motion and strength while maintaining independence in as much of their activities of daily living as is possible. Rehabilitation may be administered by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or hand therapist. Hand dominance and the involved extremity will greatly influence the individual's degree of disability during recovery. In order to decrease pain and edema, modalities, including heat and cold, may be beneficial. When indicated, range of motion and strengthening exercises should be started at the involved wrist and hand, emphasizing both intrinsic and extrinsic hand muscles. Special attention must be paid to regain full supination (palm-up position) and pronation (palm-down position). Exercise intensity and difficulty should be progressed until full function is achieved. Individuals are guided in performing activities of daily living that correspond with the stage of recovery. Bone healing may occur within 6 to 12 weeks; however, the bone strength and the ability of the bone to sustain a heavy load may take up to several years. It is Important not to overload the fracture site until the bone has regained its full strength. The following exercises are commonly prescribed to patients with a fractured ulna following confirmation that the fracture has healed, try to bend and straighten your elbow as far as possible pain free, repeat 10 times; with your forearm supported by a table or bench and your wrist and fingers over the edge, slowly bend your wrist forwards and backwards as far as possible  pain free, repeat 10 times; with your elbow at your side and bent to 90 degrees, slowly rotate your palm up and down as far as possible pain free, repeat 10 times; with your forearm supported by a table or bench and your wrist and fingers over the edge , slowly bend your wrist from side to side as far as possible pain free, also repeat 10 times. Squeeze a tennis ball as hard as possible and comfortable without pain. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

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