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Distal Radius Fracture – Healing Timeline

January 27, 2021


“Fortunately, after treatment, bones will heal. An uncomplicated simple fracture treated with a cast is usually healed for the purposes of returning to light activity within four to six weeks. Patients with poor bone density, with other underlying health factors, or patients with very severe fractures that require extensive surgical treatment and rehabilitation will often be restricted in their activities until it’s certain that their bone is strong enough to withstand more vigorous use. That can take three months or more. On average, people should be expected to be out of their normal activities for at least six to eight weeks after these injuries. Once the bone heals enough to return to light activity, there is usually a period of time where there are still some restrictions on those activities. The bone will gradually become stronger for up to six months after treatment. And therefore your doctor may recommend that you hold off on very, very forceful activities, such as heavy weightlifting or full weight bearing or any activities with the potential for impact with your hand and your wrist for at least three months. If you’ve had a cast and the cast has removed, you’re likely to be stiff.

The hand won’t feel normal and you’ll have weakness which may persist for several months. Hand therapy or physical therapy may be helpful in minimizing the duration of that period. After surgery, you’ll have swelling, some pain for a while, and again, stiffness and weakness. All of these can be addressed with therapy, with home exercises and gradual strengthening and a return to activity over the next several months until you feel you’ve reached a plateau at a more normal level of function. Typically by six months, people feel that their symptoms are minimal or have resolved entirely, and their strength should be plateauing as close to normal as possible.”

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