“The recovery period after surgical treatment of a distal radius fracture is directly proportional to the severity of the injury. Relatively minor fractures that are treated in a straightforward fashion with some pins or a small plate are usually able to start being moved fairly quickly within a couple of weeks after surgery. When the fracture is stable and we’ve achieved rigidity in that fracture by use of our hardware, we can then get patients into exercises under the direction of a hand therapist in a short period of time to help minimize the delay and return to function. However, some fractures are so unstable and there are often other associated injuries that will prevent people from getting into therapy and starting back into motion and strengthening and function as early as they would like. That determination is made by the surgeon at the time of surgery and in the follow-up period, and is based on how the bone is healing, how stable it appears.
And other factors such as soft tissue injuries that may be associated and may take precedence. But as a general rule, we like to get patients back to exercise and therapy and moving as quickly as possible to minimize the stiffness that can and will occur during healing. Because distal radius fractures affect the function of your hand, it will likely affect your ability to return to work. Initially, pain, swelling, and the need for immobilization in a splint or a cast will prevent you from using your hand and wrist fully. So there is an obligatory period of usually two to four weeks before people can consider getting back to activities such as typing and writing and driving. If your work involves heavy physical labor and if you have a more severe fracture that required more extensive treatment, that period may be extended for several months.”