Every morning for the last 30 years, my routine is to go out for a morning run. Whatever the weather, I go out to get my daily endorphin fix. I have had my fair share of mishaps over the years; tripping over kerbs, running away from would be attackers, but one morning at the end of March last year, I had my worst experience to date.
It had been raining heavily overnight and as I approached the cobblestone bridge along the canal in Camden, I noticed as I went up that it felt particularly slippery. I made a mental note to walk down it on my return. If only I had listened to that inner voice when I approached the bridge on my return home. But no, I ran down it, and as I did, I felt myself losing balance. My right arm went out to break my fall, and as I landed on my wrist, I realised something was very wrong. As I got up, I noticed that my hand was at an odd angle and my wrist bone was protruding out!
I attempted to continue running home but the pain was so intense I had to stop. So I borrowed the phone of a passer by and called Carl my husband to come and take me to the nearest hospital, UCH.
Unfortunately not only had I fractured my radius, I had also damaged the joints around my wrist. Although the A & E doctor was able to realign the bones so my arm was straight again, the X Rays showed that the break was very complex, so surgery would be necessary. The next day I had an open reduction and internal fixation of my wrist and then placed in plaster for two weeks.
The upside of having surgery was that I was only in plaster for two weeks and once that came off, I was placed in a splint instead which meant that I was able to start hand therapy. UCH have a great hand therapy unit and I was given weekly appointments for the next 6 weeks, which together with the mobility exercises I was doing at home meant my recovery was really good.
However despite all this, I was still very aware that the mobility in my wrist was not great and so I asked Richard our myofascial release therapist to see me.
My treatment plan started with a series of 5 x half hour sessions. Gradually I was able to get more range of movement in my wrist, particularly extending it backwards. I had also been struggling to hold a coffee cup or glass in my hand, and found over the weeks of consistent treatment that I was able to open my hand more widely and for this to no longer be an issue.
As a Pilates teacher being able to have a fully functioning wrist is really important. Immediately after the surgery, I couldn’t help but notice all the horror stories on the web of how people still had very limited range of movement months later.
I am delighted to say that I was able to resume full weight bearing on my arm within 12 weeks, and now, 9 months later I hardly ever notice any difference in my right wrist to my left. I am very thankful for having such great care at UCH and to Richard Dickson for his treatment.
As a footnote, I now always carry a phone with me when out running and take great care to walk rather than run down slippery bridges!
From Richard Dickson, Moss Pilates Myofascial Release Therapist who also teaches myofascial workshops for Pilates Teachers:
Julia, owner of Moss Pilates and a keen runner, had an unfortunate fall and broke her wrist. Although well repaired after surgery, she still had some pain and restriction in movement so she approached me to see if some fascial work could help restore function. I was happy to oblige.
Fascial release is often seen as muscular therapy but there is a blending of fascia from muscle to tendons to ligaments and working the joint structures can be very effective. The complexity of the wrist means it could be affected from a fall in many ways all the way up to the shoulder and neck, not just the broken bits.
The treatment, as always, is gentle feeling for tension lines and patterns that may be restricting movement. In this way, we target precisely the most significant structures. There were some musculo-tendonous restrictions, on impact the arm would probably have been braced, and restrictions between the the radius and ulnar bones and in the distal and proximal joints in forearm and carpal joints.
Using a listening touch and connecting the points of restriction, receptors in the fascia are stimulated sending signals to the brain as to the status at that place and then, via the nervous system, the body itself releases the tension patterns whilst I augment this or re-stimulate accordingly. The overriding principle is that the body does the work. In this way it gradually adjusts to a happier place without forcing anything. Gentle but very effective.
After 5 x half hour sessions Julia had much more extension of the wrist and could also open fully between the thumb and forefinger and a restriction with forearm pronation vastly improved.
More information on the Moss website here