Wrist fusion + 2 months

A temporary cast was worn for 2 months and now removed; my hand looks like this. Only a 5″ scar gives a hint of the serious titanium scaffolding that lies beneath….


My hand feels pretty good at the moment. There is hardly any pain, just some minor nerve issues as it heals. I can easily make a fist, stretch the fingers as per normal, although the thumb is not as flexible as the other hand, but any difference is minor. There is a faint numbness on the top of the hand still, but it decreases daily. Being able to now wake up of a morning without that incessant wrist pain is amazing. I’m not sure what my future limitations may be, but to alleviate that pain is totally worthwhile. The measured strength in my right (dominant) hand is 48kg. Measured at 2-months, my healing left is only 16kg. The surgeon expects it might get to about 32kg as a maximum down the track.

Top (and side) x-rays at 2-months are as follows:


The surgeon was quite happy with the look and feeling of my hand; certainly no evidence of significant issues. At this stage I have permission to increase light weights for stressing the bones to aid in development and healing. Also, driving a manual car and riding a bike on flat roads/paths. If the bone fusion improves in another 2 months from now, the surgeon will be happy for me to mountain bike once more.

Current exercises for me to undertake over the next 2 months include a stress ball to squeeze, a 1.5kg dumbbell to use for side lifts, shoulder presses and bent over rows. It’s very light, but the emphasis at this stage is low weight/high reps. There is also the use of the gyroscopic ball I referenced in my previous physio exercises after the initial crash. All of this is to aid in the atrophy in my arm/hand, boost strength and co-ordination.

I should point out to readers of this that I really expected my hand to feel quite unusual. I have to say that even at this stage it really doesn’t. For people who may consider the need for such an operation; don’t read into the stories about how weird and painful it is. If you are in pain, this is a godsend and there’s very little you can’t do. Yes, there is always the risk of it not all going to plan but the success rate is very high.

Expect an update at the end of April 2016…..


11 thoughts on “Wrist fusion + 2 months

  1. My situation is a little different. 30 years ago my scaphoid partially died after being broken. Replaced with a silastic implant. That done, The outcome was 80% loss of vertical movement and pain after exertion. No loss of rotation movement. I had to change profession away from trade into admin. I recently had it hyper extended in the downward direction and am contemplating complete fusion as an answer to excruciating pain. Your blog has helped me with that decision. I’d really like to know how it is as of today if you can let me know. I can start the process. Obviously, it is the final solution to the problem and there is no going back. That is my concern. I look forward to hearing from you or others about their experience. Thanks


    • Many thanks for your post Steve.

      I’m not sure if I wrote this in my blog, but the pain I was experiencing pretty much necessitated some form of fusion. I can recall feeling quite depressed about it at the time and knew I had to make a decision to try and address it. I was concerned about the consequences of fusing; many forums you read are plagued with ‘last resort’ warnings and even some horror stories. Fairly soon after I had it done, the wrist pain I’d had was gone to my senses. I did have some (and continue to) issues with my thumb IF and only IF I really stretch it towards my pinky with a fair bit of load/force. It results in a inflammation above my wrist joint that can take a week to settle down. But now I know that I avoid it and it has not come back. It does mean doing say strengthening exercise of the wrist become harder because I need my thumb as part of it. But this is a really specific issue I personally have and its like nothing, very minor.

      Almost 1.5 years from the surgery it’s seriously a modern day miracle as far as I’m concerned. There’s no pain, only a loss of rotation that I’m totally used to and its absolutely no drama. I can drive a manual car, mountain bike every day etc. Best decision I ever made. In many ways, my wrist is a lot stronger than before too. In reality, it’s a minor shift to some things in your life. Obviously if it’s your non-dominant hand the better.

      I would highly recommend the procedure. But only a full fusion, not a partial one. Plus, choose your doctor AND their approach wisely. My doctor used the unneeded hand bones as a graft (very clever!) which alleviated getting a graft from other part of my body. Getting a graft can leave you with other pain (from the site) for life. I didn’t want to risk that. Most doctors will want to take a graft from you elsewhere I would suspect. Your choice, but think about it seriously.

      I basically just wished I’d had the fusion sooner.

      In some activities in like, my cycling, I do wear a brace for improved security and peace of mind.

      Anything else, just ask.

      • Hey! What angles did they fuse your wrist at? I’m an avid mountain biker facing the same surgery. Your experience and angles will help me make a recommendation to the surgeon.

      • Sorry, I hit “post” too quickly. In addition to my question about ulnar deviation, can you also post a picture from the profile?

        I’ve seen a case recently where a mountain biker was fused at a bad angle and has been having trouble on the bike as a result. So I want to bring a successful example to the surgeon. Thanks so much!

      • Present day pictures would be great! Perhaps from the side, back and front of hand.

        Ulnar deviation doesn’t necessarily mean the doctor touched the ulna bone during surgery. Sometimes they will lean/tilt the hand outside toward the ulna a bit while fusing, because they say it adds grip strength. But honestly, yours looks pretty straight. So one might say something like, “the wrist is fused with 10 degrees extension/back (like yours), plus 5 degrees ulnar (outside)”. But if they didn’t tell you, then you may not have any sideways/outside angle. Too much outside angle seems to trip up mountain bikers.

  2. I had a total wrist fusion on my non dominate hand and the constant pain I had been suffering is gone. I am one month post op and I am so glad I had it done.
    The first couple of days after surgery it was pretty painful but manageable. The swelling for the first week was most bothersome.
    Bottom line, if faced with constant pain or a stiff wrist I will take the stiff wrist.

    • Thanks for your post Cheryl. As time passes, you’ll hardly notice it. I do have one issue with my thumb *if* I over stretch it across towards my pinky. This can end up giving me grief for a week afterwards with a blood bruising on my wrist. But knowledge is power and I am mindful not to do this. Keep in contact, let me know how you progress.

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