Rehabilitation

What happens as I recover?

New bone formation (hard callus) is commonly seen on x-ray bridging across the fracture by six weeks. At this stage the fracture will not easily move out of position. If a cast was used it may be taken off at this stage. The decision to proceed is based on interpretation of the x-rays and assessment of the stage of healing reached.

Physical therapy to regain the normal motion of the forearm, wrist, and hand and to recover strength, endurance and dexterity may be needed. When bridging callus is seen on the x-ray the limb can be gently loaded and the load slowly increased back to normal over the next few weeks.

The healing process reaches 80% of eventual strength by three months post injury and this is normally enough to allow return to normal function and sports. Recent research work has shown that, over the long term, there is a small loss of strength and endurance following open reduction and internal fixation of a forearm fracture and some persistent discomfort, particularly if the fixation is still in place.

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