Whilst skiing in Niseko, Japan, I decided to have a go at snowboarding on a miserable, windy day when only the nursery lift was open. I had a great time learning however when we were on the last run of the day, before a well-earned beer, I caught an edge on a flat and icy part of the slope at the bottom of the run. I fell down with a lot of force on both of my wrists and, possibly due to my previous history with wrist injuries, my left radius decided to give up at the distal end and misplaced itself. This fall caused rather a painful experience for me over the next 12 hours whilst I waited for the local health clinic to open. Once it did, they reduced the fracture under sedation and put me in an enormous cast for travel back to London. Once back in the UK, I saw my GP and was referred to the hospital, where it was confirmed that the fracture had moved back to its original position despite the reduction.
Ramon explained exactly what had happened in the injury and the options of non-intervention or the insertion of a plate. He recommended surgery, which would involve an open reduction and internal fixation of the left distal radius. Given my activity levels and reliance on my wrist for my most vigorous sports of squash, skiing and climbing, I knew this was the best option for me. I felt confident with Ramon’s decision and had the operation a week later. He and his team provided clear guidance to me before and after the operation and everything ran smoothly, I even left the hospital the same day.
After the surgery, I used my hand as little as possible and had a removable guard for it in the upcoming week. I then enjoyed a rapid recovery after that, returning to day-to-day tasks like typing and drinking tea. After two months I achieved the biggest test, when I returned to the squash court and was amazed that, apart from some weakness on the back hand, my wrist felt great and my game was essentially the same as it was before. Alongside squash I went swimming, scrambling over mountains and generally experienced little or no complaint from my wrist.
My arm has improved to the point that I don’t really notice the difference anymore, I’m occasionally reminded by a slight ache if I do certain strenuous things, but motion is back to the full range and my grip strength is the same between my two hands. There’s definitely still some strength work to do, as my left arm should be stronger in general.
I met Alex for the first time soon after he returned from his trip. Very sensibly, he decided to return to the UK for his definitive treatment – many people who sustain injuries while skiing feel pressured into having surgery almost immediately while overseas. In fact, most fractures of the hand, wrist, elbow and clavicle can safely be treated with surgery within two weeks of the accident, allowing people enough time to return home in a plaster or sling.
Alex is a young professional who sustained a typical ‘high energy’ fracture of his wrist. This means that a huge amount of force was required to break his healthy, strong bone.
As a result, the configuration of the fracture was such that his radius had broken into many pieces and had moved a considerable distance into a poor position. Alex understandably wanted to return to normal function, including work and sports as quickly as possible. I felt that the best way to achieve this would be through fixation of his fracture with a plate and screws designed specifically for this type of injury.
Strong internal fixation of his fracture with restoration of normal position of the bone allowed Alex to start moving his wrist within a few days of surgery. His cast was removed and physiotherapy began almost immediately. This ensured a rapid return to normal function and minimal pain. Despite the fact that he had sustained a particularly serious injury, Alex now feels that his wrist looks, feels and works normally.