Broken hand...

Saw the doctor for my one-month-out-of-the-cast follow-up and all’s well. He says my progress is actually better than average with regards to range of motion. I do have some lingering pain in my wrist and palm which is probably related to soft tissue damage done in the fall which making itself known as I add stress to the hand over time, but that should heal.

I asked about physical therapy and he said he sees no reason at all that I need it. So we’ll see how it goes as I ramp up the stress on the hand over the next couple months and hope everything goes smoothly. Everyday life, including typing (which I do for a living being a programmer) is going so well now that I forget about the hand entirely for hours at a time, if not most of the day.

And I’m cleared to ride a bike! But I’ll be sticking to the mountain bike on the road to minimize impact stress for a while yet. I don’t want to risk uni riding because a fall to my hand could re-fracture it and even on the road, stuff happens on a uni sometimes. Full pre-break strength takes about six months and I’m just over two months since injury at this point.

No radiation (x-rays), torture (traction), or power tools this time - what the heck am I paying these people for?

Glad your healing well Namlak. Just out of interest were you wearing any hand or wrist protection when you did the injury? I notice in your profile picture you seem to be wearing gloves but dont remember you mentioning if you had anything on at the time of the fall?


No wrist protection, just gloves. I’m not sure a wrist protector would have helped as the injury was sustained by my hand bending backwards, with most of the force under my knuckles. But there is a likely chance that at a certain bending point, a wrist guard might have hit the ground and taken some stress off my metacarpals and saved this one.

I’ll be ordering up a set of guards when I’m ready to ride and risk a to-the-hands fall. If anything, to protect my wrist which was probably sprained and may be weaker ongoing as a result. I’ve sprained one of my ankles badly three times and know that once you stretch things out like that once, it’s pretty much weakened forever. I wear hard, hinged ankle braces every time I muni.

Though the braces on a wrist guard help take the bending stress off your wrist as well as just providing direct protection - they transmit the force from your hand to your forearm. That results in your forearm moving more under impact and your hand moving less, thus decreasing the stress on your wrist. Certainly a good enough wrist brace would have saved you in those circumstances - the only question is how effective the braces people typically use are. Personally I always wear KH gloves with built in braces when riding tricky stuff (I have a malunion of the wrist I need to protect - even a small knock can cause me problems) the braces aren’t all that stiff and probably wouldn’t protect from a really bad impact, but they’re a lot better than nothing.

I’m not trying to be mean here, so please don’t take it personal, but we both know you should have been wearing wrist guards, but you weren’t wearing them because they are uncomfortable and most of the time unnecessary :roll_eyes:

When I mountain biked I averaged a ground fall every 30-90 days (15-45 rides). As a mountain unicyclists I average at least one ground fall every week (3-4 rides). So in terms of ground falls, I hit the ground at least five times more often on a muni than an mtb.

BUT, I have far, far, far more UPD’s on a muni than an mtb, all of which could be ground falls, and when I do fall I tend to land harder and tend to land on my hands, whereas on an mtb I land on my shoulder, hip, or knee.

In all the years I have ridden BMX, road bikes, and MTB I never had a hand injury outside of a palm scrape. Since riding muni I have had six finger fractures and multiple wrist sprains. The only thing that has kept me from breaking my hands worse is wearing the Hillbillys.

A quality wrist guard does protect against hand and wrist fractures, esp the double sided guards like the long fingered Hillbilly. I no longer ride with a set on a day to day basis; now I’m using a lighter weight wrist protector because I’m falling less and riding easier stuff, but I keep a set of Hillbilly gloves in my bag and I always wear a set for tech stuff.

Get some Hillbillys and wear em’, breaking your hands sucks!

I like KH stuff, but the wrist guards do not provide enough protection.

And just so you don’t think I am unsympathetic to your injuries:

Rib Fx, football
Rib Fx, skiing
Back Fx x 1, motorcyle
Wrist Fx/thumb Fx, skiing
Finger Fx, six fingers, five falls on muni
Jaw Fx, MVA
Ankle Fx, skiing
Foot Fx, motorcyle
Foot Fx, MVA
Foot Fx, martial arts
Foot Fx, rock climbing

And if you think your hand hurts now, wait till it gets cold :astonished:

I wear tripple 8 gloves (like the hill billys) Percussion leg armour and a helmet every ride. Apart from my own uni biting me with the pedals my leg armour has never earned its keep but I know the day I don’t wear them is the day I will need them (they are required every 5 minutes doing trials :p). My gloves have protected my palm and wrist many times and I would never ride without them or any other item of gear.

Another thing to think about is the added confidence you get from wearing protective gear, whilst you don’t feel immortal you will have a go at more daring things. I think it one of the reason certain people are against bike helmets being mandatory on the road is because of an alleged the false sense of safety (which I don’t buy into as most normal road riders are not there to push the limits just mindlessly ride to work or the shops).

Gloves and protective gear is good and to me and actually looks normal, when I see people on bikes riding offroad in a t shirt and shorts and no helmet etc I think they look out of place and ridiculous. If it wasn’t for being on a MUni they would probably be mocking my Lycra Shorts :stuck_out_tongue:

Regarding risk compensation and bicycle helmets in relation to road riding, the issue is more one of the risks drivers will take around cyclists - a study has shown that drivers will pass closer to a cyclist if he is wearing a helmet. Though if you were to consider the risks cyclists take, then there might be a greater tendency to do that dodgy filter, or to jump a red light when wearing a helmet - taking risks isn’t just about gnarr.

Let’s not turn this into another helmet debate though - I’m hoping my comment is neutral enough not to inspire further discussion.

Oh and personally I don’t wear the level of protection you do - I very rarely wear leg protection for muni riding, and whilst I normally wear KH gloves I put on some nice warm ones instead for recent riding (that’s when I did wear leg protection just to keep my lower legs warm!). If we’re talking riding in general, then I often use no protective kit at all.

I’m not 43 years yet, but so far I only break parts. It’s because I don’t see my body as a part, or need to have it wrecked to not think I’m wasting my life.
Try to see if you can watch Mat Hoffman on this matter (warning: somewhat graphical).

I wear the helmet, KH leg guards and Hillbilly short gloves. I’m 62 and …knock on wood…haven’t broken anything yet. I haven’t taken that many ground falls yet, but I did have one that would have scraped up a palm and another that would have hurt my wrist. It was a little sore even with the gloves. I would love to ride without all the gear, but I am programmed to wear it now. Like wearing my seat belt. Maybe I’ll never have a serious fall, but I’d hate to get hurt because I didn’t wear gear that could have helped.

No doubt, every injury you get will pain you much worse in the long run, so avoiding them to begin with is the best choice, just some of us take more risks and as a reulst accumulate more injuries.

I have slowed down, having far fewer “debilitating” injuries after age thirty, only one broke rib and a few broken fingers, some stitches, and some muscle tears, otherwise I’m as solid as a horse; one of them sway back horses they put out to pasture :roll_eyes:

But I went riding last night on my 36er with lights, and tomorrow I’m going for a big muni ride in Asheville or Chattanooga.

They will have to knock me out and tie me down before an injury will keep me from getting the goods :stuck_out_tongue:

I wear the same things as Young@heart every time I ride. I have my kids trained to remind me if I forgot something. So far no real injuries.

I had the good fortune of getting whacked in the ankle bone with a pedal while crusing around and drinking coffee with only a helmet.
I had to hop off for a car that wasn’t watching and the uni hit the ground and bounced into my ankle. It hurt like a bugger for about a week but it made me aware that stupid things happen when you least expect them & a simple easy ride can still result in annoying injuries.

@Feisty, Always wearing the leg armour also means that small things you wouldn’t notice with armour on could have really hurt without it.

KH leg armour & Hillbillies is the best $100 I ever spent!

Well if we’re doing age and injuries, I’m 42 and haven’t broken a bone for almost 20 years (having broken ribs a couple of times and the wrist I mentioned above in the previous 5 years). Lots of soft tissue and overuse injuries from running (though actually rather less than most runners) which does sometimes affect my uni riding.

Do the Hillbillys have stiffening up to the base of the fingers? I can’t find any information about their internal construction online. I’m still not convinced they would have helped in this instance as the force was applied way out at my knuckles and the bone snapped between wrist and knuckle - i.e. it wasn’t a wrist flexure that caused the break it was knuckle-to-wrist.

Either way, your point to start wearing more hand/wrist protection is well taken, no matter if it would have had an impact in this specific instance and also considering your extensive…um… experience with injuries in this area. I’ve sprained a finger pretty badly while muni-ing and have a fattened finger joint to show for it.

I would have never expected muni to be so hard on the hands until I got into it. But the number of ground falls seems to be key.

I’m not sure they would have helped in your situation. The Hillbillys are great wrist protection, but won’t prevent that bend backward motion. I used to use Hillbillys. I use the KH now, but they are not as protective for the wrist. They are good for what I do. They wash better and stink less. If I were aggressive, I would stick with the Hillbillys. I do wear knee/shin and helmet as well. My elbow pads stay home.

for me i wear helmet, gloves, shinpads some times and proper shoes

Been there. When I broke my finger they put it in a bent splint. It was in the splint for… I want to say 8 weeks. Bad break, slow heal. After I got it out of the splint it took a good 3 weeks before I got decent range of motion back via PT.

Yeah, after about 5 months or so I was mostly back to normal, though the finger swelling is permanent. Now that it’s gotten colder out it’s starting to hurt and stiffen up again. :frowning:

I’m back!

Back on the muni for the first time in over 4 months and it felt great! Did a 6 mile up-and-back fireroad ride with 1200 feet of elevation gain. My legs and back are feeling it but not too bad - I’ve been on the bike for a month now and that has helped.

The temp was 48 degrees at the end of the ride so pretty chilly and no issues with the hand at all in cold temps so far.

I was showing my riding buddy where my break was and noticed by feel on the back of my hand that the edge of the break is smoother than it was a month ago - probably a good sign that the bone is reforming itself and things are progressing. I’m holding off on technical muni for a couple more months just to be sure. The doc said 6 months for full bone strength so I’m shooting for that.

Aside from the bone break, it has become evident that I sprained my wrist and stretched/strained a number of other soft parts which didn’t come to light until after the cast was off and I’d worked my mobility out enough to tell. But all that has healed up and I’m pretty much symptom-free at this point other than the odd angle or force on my hand/wrist giving me a little reminder.

And my wedding ring fits again - barely!

Oh, and I also picked up a pair of Hillbillies. That wrist guard really gets in the way of the handle. I’ll stick with them and see if I get used to it, especially when it comes time to ride technical again.

Glad to see you up and riding again! Hope your hand continues to improve.

(My daughter gave me a pair of Hillbillies for a Christmas present. They’re great protection, but they are a little “clunky.”)

cheers, LanceB

I agree they are clunky. I never do technical riding, so I don’t know how much they will interfere with that. I’m more smoother trail/fire road rider (though I do like it steep). They were never a problem for that. I’m glad that you are back to it.