I fell off my muni a month ago and broke my 4th metacarpal - Had to have it manually reduced (aligned) the day after it happened and because it’s a rather oblique break, it needed to go onto “the rack” to have it pulled apart under traction and re-aligned - twice. OUCH.
The last-chance traction/alignment @ 2.5 weeks seems to have gone well and it looks like I may only lose about 2mm of bone length which isn’t bad but not spectacular, either.
I’m out of the cast in two more weeks. I know my hand and fingers will be stiff and the doc says about a month for reasonable flexibility to return with some basic stretching exercises (and the fact that I type for a living - programmer). They’ve mentioned the bone shortening as possibly affecting grip strength. They’re not concerned about rotation, the doc was actually very pleased with the lack of rotation.
Doc says 3 months to return to activity and 6 months for 100% bone strength and that’s about when I can risk falling on it again (in the normal non-breaking sense!).
Does anyone here have some experience and/or insight for my recovery and possible long-term effects of this particular injury? This is my first broken bone. I’m 43 years old.
Oh, and the fall was the “perfect storm” - I slipped, twisted right just in front of a mound off to the side and basically drove my open left hand into the mound as I was falling. I felt and heard an unmistakable snap and once I figured out the joints were OK, I felt the bones crunching around in my hand and knew what had happened.
Unlucky chap, I am sure Nurse “Broken Fingers” Ben will be along in a minute to give you some advice
I would so be riding anyway (stupidly) I would strap my hand up in some sort of guard/glove to protect it, short of a broken leg/foot I am stupid and stubborn and don’t like being told what to do by doctors or my body
I broke my ankle about 6 weeks ago…I knew I had to do something to stay active…It can get depressing…So I rode my bike and swam…I have never stopped exercising after an injury. I just look for an alternative until my injury heals. I always try to figure out a way to get as much blood flow to an injury to help it heal…I am back riding my 36 in. woooohoooo.
It’ll heal, that’s what broken bones do, just be sure and use it carefully until the doctor releases you to play rough. The risk is not rebreaking it so much as displacing it. I didn’t follow the doctor’s directions, played rough, and mine displaced, oops :o
You’ve only provided one pre-reduction Xray view, but it doesn’t look too bad. Only slight volar angulation, and not really that shortened or displaced.
I guess you would notice it more if you were were a typist, but 2mm is probably no more than the natural variation people people have between their fingers- probably wouldn’t notice it, or you’d adapt fairly easily.
I posted the view that is the most spectacular - that’s what the Internet is for
The view straight-on to the hand doesn’t look bad at all. The view along the plane of the hand shows the end pointing to the wrist jutting up from the back of my hand (nothing penetrated the skin) as seen here:
Me too - lots of splinting, and backing off on the riding so I was fairly sure I wasn’t going to fall on it. At least unlike riding a bike you don’t have to put any weight on your hands when riding a uni - though I still rode a bike in a wrist cast (and did weights, etc. with one - would probably have gone kayaking if I’d been in it long enough and could have got a waterproof one).
Which brings me to my broken bone experience. I used to say I’d never had a broken bone. In fact I spent 18 months saying that only to find that I’d been lying, hence after 2 weeks in a cast (and the surgeon deciding that I was better off not having an op - with the benefit of 20+ years of hindsight that was the right decision) I still have a malunion in my right scaphoid. And right back to the uni riding, that’s why I normally hop left foot forwards with my left hand on the handle (though I’m getting better at hopping the “right way round” for using that hand).
I am stubborn and bloody minded (good qualities for a uni rider) so a hand would be strapped up (maybe across my chest so no chance of putting it out?) and I would ride whatever I was told. A foot or leg I would head advice on (well maybe start riding easily a week or so earlier than recommended as “they” always err on the side of caution)
Definitely not fun, and wish you the best for your recovery.
I’m headed back for a third surgery, this time to remove more (and hopefully all) of the metal they put in me in January for my broken leg. I got in some riding this year, but was really weak from sitting in a chair for several months. I recommend you get a stationary bike to keep your strength up, and you’ll be good to go in the Spring.
Just build up a support out of 2x4’s, threaded pipe, or heavy PVC, and put on a cheap cushy seat so you can sit upright. I’d offer to lend a hand if I were close to you (sorry, couldn’t resist that one ).
Well, out of my cast for three days now and at the last visit the x-rays showed that the pieces had once again slid up on one another. Doesn’t matter now as after 5.5 weeks things are too solid for any further repositioning. I estimate about 2mm of metacarpal shortening. The doctor doesn’t expect long-term problems once things “learn” where they are at.
But I’ve definitely got an uphill battle with the hand. My fingers and wrist are quite dysfunctional after being put in solitary for 5.5 weeks. I’m doing gentle stretching as advised and have a follow-up appointment in 4 weeks to check on range of motion and consider formal physical therapy. The fact that I type for a living is a good thing as it gives me lots of finger movement and retraining. Nearly 6 weeks in a cast tends to move one’s finger alignment around, touch typing is already doable but sometimes a bit weird as the two (ring and pinky) that have been held motionless don’t land quite on the keys like they used to but it’s workable. Typing causes cramping feelings back in my atrophied forearm muscles but they feel better each day and I’m way ahead of typing ability vs when in the cast so work will be more bearable.
There are a few interesting pains with certain movements that might be caused by soft-tissue damage that we’ve not been able to work out since the focus has been on getting the bone back together. Only time will tell if any of it means anything. There’s no doubt that my hand bent a LOT if it was enough to break a bone and I’m sure everything in the area got flexed/sprained pretty good.
I think handle bars are a long way off, still some under-the-skin bruising and palm sensitivity. At the 90 day mark, I’ll be cleared for normal activity so I can start riding uni again, sticking to the road for a while but I live in some steep hills so I can handily keep my fitness up with that. I’ll be on the road bike on the trainer for the next few weeks still - thank <insert favorite deity> for Netflix!