Vanessa was in a traumatic motor vehicle accident in which she experienced a fracture of the distal radius in her left wrist, which is the larger of the two forearm bones located beneath the thumb. Based on the seriousness of her injury, she needed to have a surgical procedure to repair the broken bone, and afterwards, was referred to physical therapy. It was at this point that Vanessa came in to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City seeking out a course of treatment to help her recover.
After performing a full evaluation of Vanessa’s left forearm and wrist, it was found that she had severely limited range of motion in all directions, as well as increased sensitivity, pain, swelling and stiffness in the elbow, wrist and hand. She also had significant scarring and scar tissue from the surgery, decreased grip and grasp strength, an impaired ability to support herself with her left arm, and she experienced limitations with many daily activities like dressing, grooming, working and doing household chores.
Before beginning treatment, Vanessa stated that her goals were to reduce her pain and the swelling and stiffness in her wrist. Ultimately, she wanted to work towards regaining the full motion and strength of her left forearm, wrist and hand so she could teach at her out-of-state university positions as a literature professor for the upcoming summer and fall academic semesters.
What we did at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City to help Vanessa improve
Based on the evaluation, our therapist gave Vanessa several recommendations intended to help reduce her swelling and scar tissue formation. These included massage, ice, compression, elevation and kinesio taping, which is applied to the skin with the goal of reducing pain and inflammation. Vanessa’s therapist also gave her exercises designed to improve the range of motion of her elbow, wrist, hand and her upper body, as well as her grip strength. Finally, she was given an aggressive home and self-care program to be performed regularly, since she only had a limited amount of time before resuming her job.
After only six weeks of physical therapy, Vanessa regained 90% of her wrist/hand motion and strength. She was also able to return to teaching and lecturing around the country successfully, and currently maintains her home-exercise program, which allows her to continue making gains on her own.
Vanessa had this to say about the outcomes of her treatment: “I was so scared I would not return to normal, that my wrist would never come close to 100% after the accident. Your therapy helped me so much to function normally with my hand again.”
Here at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we understand how difficult it can be to deal with such a serious injury and the fear Vanessa had afterwards of not being able to regain her wrist function. But we are extremely pleased to see that Vanessa made such significant progress in such a short period of time and is now back in the fold with her profession. We wish her continued success with her recovery, and invite you to come in for a visit to find out how we can help you experience similar outcomes. Call us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here to read our last blog on distal radius fractures.