/ Wrist injury not healing - can anybody out there help me?

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nekonainen - on 21 Feb 2013
I am looking for any help with a wrist injury which I attained three months ago and which is not only stopping me from climbing but also a massive hindrance just on normal daily life.

I hurt my left wrist/ forearm when climbing hard roof problems at a time when I knew I was too tired and not properly warmed up (you may be able to guess how much I regret doing that now). Went to GP several times, and in the end I had to really fight to get an MRI as the GP insisted it was only a muscle strain. The MRI, taken about one month ago showed that I have/had internal swelling in the wrist, tendonitis in two tendons, a bone bruise and a small ganglion cyst. The main problem is that I am only seeing very slight improvement after resting for 3 months. I have ended up doing almost everything just with my right hand, because even little things like typing, doing the dishes or holding up my phone for a couple minutes when looking at it can bring on the pain. The GP is now saying that because I didnít rest the wrist sufficiently straight after the injury he cannot help me with anything other than painkillers and has also put me in the queue for physio. I have been in the queue for 7 weeks, now another 5 weeks before they can give me an appointmentÖ Meanwhile I am doing cold/hot/cold treatment on the wrist at least once a day which seems to help a little, otherwise am just trying not to use the left hand for anything much. I am really going out of my mind due to lack of climbing or any other exercise. Only running seems safe for the wrist and I really donít like running at all.

If anyone can advise me of some sports/climbing wrist/hand injury specialist in London/South East who might be able to help, I would be most grateful. (I am currently unemployed so have limited funds as well)
jayrenegade - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to nekonainen: I had a finger injury that didn't go away for a very long time, about a year. It was really disheartening. I ended up going private because the NHS physio where I was wasn't up to much, but one of the main things my private physio made me do was iceing the injury all the time. I have to say it made a big difference. I never did a hot and cold treatment, just cool it down all the time. If it's an inflammation causing you problems ice will help get rid of that. What was apparently happening to me was that the inflammation was causing further irritation, thus a never ending cycle. The NHS physio only ever gave me stretches to do, no mention of ice. The other thing that might help is light massage, but I'd be careful with this, I was told to massage it by my private physio, and the next week I felt worse, and he thought that I'd probably over done it.

Also be careful not to burn your self with the ice, i did that, and that is the worst, then you have an injury, but have to wait until the skin heals before you can ice it again. Also if you can I'd recommend going to a private physio if you can afford it. Mine was £34 a session and it really was worth it. I could only just afford it at the time, but 2 months later it seemed like it was nothing to be able to have strong fingers again. Also shortly after I started there was a scheme called fit for work, and that allowed me to get some free physio for a few sessions. Might be something similar in your area. Good luck.
nekonainen - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to jayrenegade:
Hi, thanks for the advice. It's good to hear that even after a full year you can get better. Actually, I have been icing for over a month, and now just trying out cold hand baths interrupted by a comfortably warm one when I can't take take cold for any longer (which is not for very long at all, even when trying to distract myself with funny clips or swearing). Fit For Work schemes are not available near me, so I may have to look at forking out for physio myself.
Alkis - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to nekonainen:

I'm still having issues with a wrist injury I got under similar circumstances... 4 years ago.
:-S
jayrenegade - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to nekonainen: Just a quick one, maybe try less ice, not so cold, if you use an ice pack let it warm up for a bit before you put it on. I found that I could more or less ice it for as long as I wanted so long as I didn't do it too cold. Thats what was recommended to me, otherwise you risk burning your self with it. My physio was of the impression that you couldn't ice your self for long enough, but just don't give your self an ice burn. Try and do it all the time, thats what I'd do, it definitely worked for me. Best of luck with it.
GeoffRadcliffe - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to nekonainen: You can wear a special compression glove to try and reduce the swelling (you can buy them from sites such as Amazon). Hot and cold treatment can also be useful but you need to do it several times a day.

Also, inactivity will not help you. Inactivity will lead to your muscles wasting away and loss of movement. You need to do regular stretching of the wrist and fingers (three to five times a day). Consider getting some theraputty which you can use to strengthen your grip gradually. There is a host of exercises you can do such as wrist supinations, pronation, wrist flexions and extensions (use Google to find out how to do these). Another good one is to do finger extensions with an elastic band (or theraband). I am not talking about high intensity workouts, rather low intensity but regular exercise that does not cause pain that lasts for hours afterwards. If you have lasting pain, you have done too much so ease off. Some pain or discomfort during stretching and exercise is normal. You should try and use the painful hand for everyday activities (with the above proviso about lasting pain).

e.g. see
http://www.nmh.org/ccurl/58/705/theraputty-hand-exercises.pdf
http://www.toc.md/exercises_wristhand.htm


nekonainen - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to nekonainen:
Hi all and thanks to everyone so far. Seems as if I might do well to just continue with the ice, for the moment. I did try some exercises about a month in, which definitely seemed to make it worse, but I may have been rushing things. All the problems are concentrated on the under(volar) side of the wrist, so any movement grabbing or holding things can be painful.

Would it be harmful just to do the extension exercises, as these seem to be fairly pain free?

I suppose I really need to find a knowledgeable physical therapist to tell me what I can do safely. Anybody have any such contacts...?
nekonainen - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Alkis:
Hi Alkis, that's really sad to hear. How are you managing with it, can you still climb? Did you have any physio or other treatment for the injury?
unknownclimber6 - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to nekonainen:

sorry havent read other comments so dont know what suggestions have been said but heres my 2 cents -

i think for a start you want to be going back to hospital and getting the cyst removed surgicaly (have heard for people whacking them with the spine of books and has worked but wouldnt really recommend as it would hurt like hell and maybe agrivate the tendonitis)
the cyst is probably sitting between the 2 tendons and there for not letting the tendonitis heal properly, have you had any anti-inflamatories from the doctor, may reduce the swelling!

good luck how ever you plan to treat it, horrible injury but hope it heals soon.
JH74 - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to nekonainen:

Sorry to hear about your trouble. I sprained my wrist badly in a fall over 2 years ago and was initialy in plaster for 2 weeks then a brace as they thought it was broken scaphoid. AFter an MRI it turns out it was only soft tissue damage but it took a 'long' time to feel anything other than really crap. Upto maybe 6 months or so I could feel pain/discomfort by simply buttering bread or brushing my teeth. A disheartening time so I can understand why you're bummed out.

If you feel strengthening your wrist would be of help then maybe consider a powerball. It really helped me recover and beef up the area. If it's just pain relief you think you need then I don't have any bright ideas I'm afraid although maybe accupuncture would help - I too tried that but it does come at a price. The powerball I found much more effective. 2 years on and I still feel it but it deosn't stop me doing anything anymore. These things take time, annoyingly.

You could ask at the London climbing walls for specific physios who may be able to help.

Best of luck..
Alkis - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to nekonainen:

I visited a sports GP when it happened and she basically prescribed low level climbing on jugs to strengthen it while it is healing. Unfortunately, that coincided with me having to write up my final year project dissertation, so no climbing whatsoever happened. For ages it was feeling too weak and was clicking but eventually it got strong enough not to cause issues when climbing. It mainly causes me issues if pushing down on a bent wrist, such as doing press ups, pushing heavy boxes... and mantling.

One rather surprising thing that flares it up is button mashing on an arcade controller, but I can avoid that at least! :-P

About a year ago, I visited a specialist privately but at this stage he just prescribed some good anti-inflammatories for whenever it goes bad.
GeoffRadcliffe - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Alkis:
> (In reply to nekonainen)
>
It mainly causes me issues if pushing down on a bent wrist, such as doing press ups, pushing heavy boxes... and mantling.
>

Whilst recovering a broken wrist, I also found pressups very painful. However, my physio encouraged me to keep stretching and keep doing the pressups (initially easy pressups against a wall). As a result my wrist has got stronger and less painful whilst doing pressups. After 3 months of persistence, I went from not being able to do a single pressup to doing 30.

Also, using undercuts was similarly painful, so a course of graduated exercises helped (e.g lifting a coffee table from one side).
marsbar - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to jayrenegade: Finding a new GP might be a more positive way forward?
nekonainen - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to JH74:
I did think about the powerball, and will probably try one if the physio approves it will be helpful. I've just contacted one of the walls like you suggested and will make some enquiries with the contacts they gave me.
ads.ukclimbing.com
nekonainen - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to marsbar:

Yes probably so. I've moved house recently so shouldn't be going to the same one now anyway. It's just that I don't want to lose my place in the physio queue now.

I do feel a tiny bit peed off that I wasn't taken seriously in the first place, but not going to think about that too much. Better focus on recovery and making sure I'm climbing in a less stupid way in the future if I can get back to climbing.

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