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  1. #1
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    How long does it take these old bones to heal???

    Did a stupid thing August 17 (which we won't get into) and crashed on my bike . Broke my hand in 3 places. Thank G-d I had my helmet on!!!! Had surgery so 3 pins could be put in the left hand. The pins were taken out about four weeks ago. I had therapy twice a week and then once a week. I also do my therapy exercises religiously. Here it is December 3, and I am sitting on the couch loaded with Ibuprofin again trying to deal with the swelling (which has gone down), the stiffness, wrist pain, and soreness. Of course, after the crash, biking was over for me for the season. I tried to go to spin classes a couple weeks ago, but the hand hurt so much during the class I haven't been back.

    I am going to be 60 and wonder how long i will be before the hand is back to normal so I can ride again???? Any advice on how I can make sure I am healed up before spring? I live in Minnesota so riding is pretty much out until for me until late April

  2. #2
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kajero View Post
    Did a stupid thing August 17 (which we won't get into) and crashed on my bike . Broke my hand in 3 places. Thank G-d I had my helmet on!!!! Had surgery so 3 pins could be put in the left hand. The pins were taken out about four weeks ago. I had therapy twice a week and then once a week. I also do my therapy exercises religiously. Here it is December 3, and I am sitting on the couch loaded with Ibuprofin again trying to deal with the swelling (which has gone down), the stiffness, wrist pain, and soreness. Of course, after the crash, biking was over for me for the season. I tried to go to spin classes a couple weeks ago, but the hand hurt so much during the class I haven't been back.

    I am going to be 60 and wonder how long i will be before the hand is back to normal so I can ride again???? Any advice on how I can make sure I am healed up before spring? I live in Minnesota so riding is pretty much out until for me until late April
    This is a medical issue, book an appointment with the doctor who did your surgery, have them assess it, and see, if it's progressing the way it should. You should still be in PT, I know insurance companies want PT to be only a few visits, but the exercises that you do can change during the healing process. You also need to make sure the PT and doctor are on the same page, which means if you see the PT on Tuesday and the doc on Thursday, tell the PT about the doctor visit. The PT sometimes has comments or questions for the doctor, and will write a note to take to the visit. The doctor reads the note and writes a reply that you take to your PT on the next visit.

  3. #3
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    ^ +1

    Wogster has this one nailed. Please do this.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

    "We can't control that we have Parkinson's, but we can control how we live with Parkinson's" Davis Phinney

  4. #4
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    Several Docs have said that they are not Physical Therapists so take the surgical report to one and follow instructions. But, regardless, daily at least physical therapy is very important. Once you learn the exercises it may not be necessary to use the PT except for periodic evaluations and tuning.

    How long to heal? The fact is that us elders don't heal as fast as youngsters. No one I've talked to will even hazard a guess on time since it is so individual. Just push, push, push; but not too hard.

    A good conversation with a patient centered doc and the PT will give you a good idea about pain. We all know some people who don't seem to have any pain nerves at all. Others are very sensitive. Latest I have seen puts the difference to different genetics and amount of wear and tear.

    Just don't give up. Mental attitude if not everything comes pretty close.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Good question.

    I broke my hip on Labor Day. Progress has been slower than I had projected, but I still can see day-to-day improvement. Thursday I was able to tie my shoe for the first time but I can't put on my own sock. My PT scared me by asking if my doctor thought I would get my full range of motion back. Until then it hadn't occured to me that I might not.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rkokish's Avatar
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    Good advice from HawkOwl. Healing is very individual and doctors are very fallible. A month before turning 60 I broke my arm just below the rotator cuff. Orthopedist said the shoudler was likely damaged and I would probably need a new one within 10 years. PT was painful and took 6 months to get back to normal. It's been 11 years and I have had no problems with the shoulder at all.
    Ron Kokish
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  7. #7
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    Another thought that might help: I'm doing a lot of flying in and out of CO right now. In that flying I am meeting a good number of people who want to share their experiences. I'm on a cane so the conversation usually starts with: "Did you have a hip or knee replaced"; followed by: "Nope I had spine surgery a few months ago due to an accident". They then tell me they had back, shoulder, knee, hip, etc surgery in the past months, years, and so forth.

    Most are still in some degree of pain even after a couple years post-op. Older ones say that even after a year they still have limitations and don't expect to ever go back to pre-surgery fitness. Many were very active before the event that caused the need for surgery. But, some weren't sedentary but would not be considered athletic either. One person who had a shoulder replaced says he is doing fine but he has a new life now. All, that to say life will most likely be diferent. Doctors don't like to include post-op life changes in their definition of "success" and their standards of acceptable life for us elders is considerably different than ours'.

    It seems to me the only thing to do is choose to push as much a a person can to get as much as possible. But, to be mentally prepared to accept whatever happens. Actually, isn't that what we have been doing our whole lives?
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  8. #8
    Senior Member locolobo13's Avatar
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    Several years ago I was diagnosed with a back condition. The prescribed treatment was physical therapy. The insurance paid for 6 weeks. After that I asked my therapist for a routine to continue. Over the years I have relaxed that routine but have been unable to completely stop. When I try to stop the pains slowly begin again several weeks after stopping.

    It does make sense to me to see your Doc again and discuss the problem. Good luck.

  9. #9
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Nice thing is you had surgery - that means things will heal more quickly. Example - broke my collarbone in 2005... it took about 10 weeks to "heal" . In 2007 I had surgery on the collarbone because the bones never meaded together - I had only scar tissue holding them in place. After surgery within 2 weeks I was on a stationary bike and spinning. After the original break.... I could not even dressed myself for a month!

    Something learned (as this is not my only injury)... I don't take any pain killers, not even Tylenol unless I am desperate. There is something about having the pain that tells you what you can and cannot do. Masking the pain will sometimes lead you to do stuff you should not - this is what happened to my break in 2005. Within 10 weeks I did a century but I was loaded with pain killers. Probably should nto have done that!

    Actually do what the dr and therapist tell you to do... it's better to get it healed right the first time then be miserable and have to deal with the injury again.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Exactly what Wogster said.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  11. #11
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    People and injuries vary so it's impossible for us to say. I recommend following Wogster's advice. As a comparison point, I broke my hand two years ago (third metacarpal) when I was 48. I was back on the trainer about two weeks later and rode a 6-hour with the cast still on (the race director let me drop down from the 12-hour) just 4 weeks after the injury. I did not require surgery. It was an option, but I opted to have the bone pressed back into place as the cast was hardening. I did have occasional throbbing pain for ~3 weeks after the injury and I think the light exercise on the trainer helped reduce it.

  12. #12
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    Let you body tell you when you are ready. In the mean time keep up working with the PT and before you know it...
    Chief Executive In Charge Of Diddly Squat.

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  13. #13
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    Thank you for all the comments and advice

    Update:

    I am making an appointment with the surgeon who did the surgery. The therapist I worked with is fantastic. She kept in close contact with the surgeon regarding my progress so they both know where things stand.

    I have been doing my therapy 2-3 times a day. After doing my therapy, my hand always feels so good. Itís loose and relaxed. An hour later itís like I didnít do anything at all.

    I am surprised that there still is a small amount of swelling on my hand after all this time but at least my hand is no longer that awful greenish-purplish color. My hand still feels stiff and the skin on my hand also feels ďtight.Ē Iíve heard that this is common, although no one seems to know how to ďfixĒ it other than the passage of time.

    I hope my hand will be strong enough by January. I want to start back with the spin classes so I will be in shape for the MS150 in June. If I donít ride in it I might not get invited to our team leader's Christmas party.

    I really hate to think I might have to give up riding if I donít heal. Biking is about the only exercise I truly enjoy.

  14. #14
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    Kajero, your wreck was just 4 days before mine on Aug. 21st. I did a lot more damage than you and will have a long time in recovering.

    HawkOwl, what spine surgery and how long ago? My crash in August I crushed the T9, damaged T7, 8 and 10. Broke 4 ribs and did significant muscle and tendon damage. I'm fused from T7-12 now. And still have a long road ahead, but am doing better than expected. I had a knee replaced last year and healed quick. I had pain but it was easy to manage. Much easier than dealing with my back. I'll be 49 next month but right now, I feel 79.

    My point is, everyone heals differently. My wife fell down the stairs in September, and broke her wrist. She is just now getting physical therapy, and will have pain for a while. She heals much slower than I do, and has a lower pain threshold.

    If you are having more pain than you think you should, see your doctors.

  15. #15
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    I am going to bet the doc says this is a pretty normal pattern for the surgery and your age. Unless the pain is debilitating they are not going to recommend much other than to continue the exercises that the rehab gave you and report back in 6 months or so.

    I am basing this on a broken leg in 2002 when I was 52. They did not remove the plate and screws because I was too "old" at the time. Still gives me pain when the weather conditions are cold and wet. Full return to activity took almost a year. I did struggle through with the rehab exercises for at least a year and it did help.
    I also did as much hiking and such as the pain would allow. I wish I could claim this happened from a TdF style bike crash but I was walking the dog in the rain and blamo.

  16. #16
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    Had my crash Aug 10th. Broke my right hand, plus damage to the joints of middle and ring finger, left hand dislocated finger joints on the middle and ring finger. My face broke the fall over the bars after hitting a fence. T7 fracture. My back is still swollen, still have swelling on both hands. Going to PT twice a week, sometimes 3 times. My hand PT can really administer the pain, then i do PT at home and do the same. My two fingers are almost straight now on my left hand, but can only close them to about an inch from my palm. I'm six years older than you. A couple of more months should tell me how much i can get back. Pain 24/7 since the crash. Some days better than others, just keep at it and don't give up.

  17. #17
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    Yikes Rat! Don't think I even had a scratch on my face, but plenty of dirt. Feel ya on the 24/7 pain. Some days worse than others. I pulled a tendon loose in my pinky, but the rest of my injuries were all neck and back...

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