Physiotherapy after Colles’ fracture

If a person has fallen down on an outstretched hand, then perhaps he or she has suffered from a Colles’ fracture. This is also known as Foosh Injury. Such a fracture involves injury to wrist bones where a person has suffered the fracture. Physical therapy for a Colles’ fracture involves improving wrist and arm range of motion and strength so as to maximise functional mobility in the injured arm.

A Colles’ fracture requires surgery to reduce and one may have a long period of immobilisation in a cast or splint after the injury. Physical therapy for a Colles’ fracture involves improving wrist and arm range of motion and strength.

Normally, a physical therapist will perform specific treatments to help a person — who has injured his or her wrist bones — to help regain normal mobility in arm and wrist.

One important component of the Colles’ fracture rehabilitation is the home exercise programme. The exercises that are performed independently at home by an injured person would help augment his or her physical therapy treatments.

A step-by-step exercise program that one may do during physical therapy after a Colles’ fracture can help one to understand what to expect from a physical therapist for this type of injury. Before starting this or any other exercise program, please check with your doctor to ensure that it is safe for a person to do.

Wrist Range of Motion
Following a Colles’ fracture, one wears a cast or a splint and during the healing process the muscles and joints around the wrist feel tight. This, however, is quite normal and the initial exercises after removing the cast should be geared towards regaining wrist range of motion.

In order to regain wrist range of motion, one has to hold his arm in front of him as if he is giving a signal to stop. Then hold the injured hand with the other non-injured hand and gently add over-pressure by pulling hand and fingers back. Keep this position for 5 seconds and relax. Repeat the exercise 5 times.

Now, flex wrist down while holding arm in front and gently add overpressure by grasping the hand and bending it further into flexion. Hold the position for 5 seconds and repeat this 5 times.

Handgrip Exercises
Once the doctor removes the cast after Colles’ fracture is healed, the injured person’s ability to grip things is diminished. The physio therapist may prescribe specific exercises to help improve the handgrip strength. Such exercises may include towel gripping, hand grips with a Digi-flex device and Putty gripping exercises. Perform the exercises slowly and repeat them for a few seconds.

Putty exercises for thumb and fingers
These exercises help an injured person to improve the strength of fingers after a Colles’ fracture. The physical therapist may prescribe putty exercises to perform. He may give the patient some putty or the patient may buy some Silly Putty or make his own at home.

Hold the putty between your thumb and fingers, and then squeeze it between two individual fingers. One can also roll the putty into a long tube, shape it into a ring, and place the ring around your fingers to work on extending your fingers against resistance.

Wrist and Forearm strengthening Exercises
After a Colles’ fracture, the muscles around the wrist and forearm may become weak due to the injury and also due to the period of time one’s wrist was immobilized. A physical therapist may then prescribe wrist strengthening exercises with a dumbbell to help improve the strength of the arm.

One may start slow with a light weight. Once a person can perform 15 to 20 pounds of a particular wrist strengthening exercise, he or she can progress to a heavier weight. Check in with Physical Therapist to ensure that he or she is using proper resistance for specific condition.

Doing the right exercises would help a person in regaining normal functional use of his or her arm and hand after a Colles’ fracture. By working hard with physical exercises one can surely get back to normal.