Life Post-Cast: Brave New World, Again

person right hand
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My cast came off! I started therapy. I had lots of questions:
Would I use a splint or brace? (No).
Would I need more time in a new cast? (No).
What would my skin look and feel like? (It was scaly, dry and brownish).
Did I ‘lose’ muscle? (No, just flexibility. My muscles were Very tight!!)
What exercises would I need? (Lots of painful stretches).
How was my range of motion? (Wrist had some. Fingers, there wasn’t much. My fist was non-existent.)

I still had to ice my wrist and hand regularly and both were Very swollen.  I didn’t need the sling anymore except if there was pain.  Mostly, that wasn’t a problem, at least not in my arm. My hand and wrist were another matter.

I tried not to worry about how this would turn out, but I did wonder, a lot, about the end result. Would I get my hand “back” and when? Both in-office therapy and home exercises hurt, A LOT! And this would go on for 12 weeks, three times a week.

I had to keep doing the exercises, regardless of the pain. Otherwise, I might not get back to full function, and that was definitely a concern.

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A “New” Cast

person putting white bandage on left hand
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One night, my hand was swelling and getting numb/tingling. I called my ortho’s office and they told me to go back to the ER the next day.  I was given a “clamshell” cast. Basically, the cast is cut, front and back of the arm, and wrapped with a bandage. The two halves are strapped together but can be separated and adjusted to make room for the swelling. This was a great improvement. It was much better. It still swelled so I applied lots of ice as often as directed.

Pressure points were still a problem. The cast pushed on a spot at the base of my thumb making it very sore. And hard to get at. Why!? And I have incredibly dry skin on Both hands. Lotion, lotion, lotion!!

Note: I got the cast off after five weeks. I had nasty looking dry skin and no flexibility in my wrist. I was told I must do physical therapy exercises or my hand would end up being just a fly swatter. Certainly a gruesome image. And an incentive to get moving, literally.

This is all new and a bit scary, not knowing what the end result will be, how long it will take to get there.