Relief from Carpel Tunnel (Post Distal Radius Fracture)

by Alice H.
(Toronto, Canada)

Just prior to cast removal discomfort with pins/needles mostly at night which has never diminished. Good healing confirmed by orthopaedic and did course of physio - Subsequently nerve conduction test (by neurologist) indicated severe carpal tunnel - Hand numb with loss of strength in hand/ upper arm.

Surgery was recommended (by Neurosurgeon) if nerve damage cannot be verified until procedure - if confirmed only 90% success is possible - at this point have not agreed to surgery - having some acupuncture (six sessions, but no relief)

Afraid damage is permanent but would like to avoid surgery - do not know what is best treatment and if possible to reverse numbness/weakness etc.

Thanks you for anticipated advice you have so kindly offered. I am 75 year old female in good health - no drugs/conditions other than present one which was result of a fall on the ice in December 2008.

Will be doing the ice water treatment you suggest and praying a lot I await any further advice you can offer. Thanks again.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Alice.

Ouch, breaking a bone is never fun.

It's -possible- that when you fell and fractured your Radius that it dislodged something that is pressing on a nerve, that surgery can theoretically remove.

Granted I am not seeing you in person, but I feel confident saying that surgery isn't going to fix the problem, unless you have broken bone pressing on the nerve.

Taking into account your age, the common physical progression and pattern of aging, and the dynamic of carpal tunnel pain and numbness, it is safe to say that:

1. The Scalene muscles at the front of your neck are too short and tight and are compressing your nerve at the neck.

2. Your upper arms are rotated inward and compressing the nerve to some degree at the front of the chest and shoulder.

3. Your nervous system is on high alert after the fall, and it is trying to protect you from further damage by tightening you muscles and releasing chemical which enhances your pain.

4. When you were in a cast and immobile, your connective tissue shrunk wrapped down around your structure.

5. Strength loss in upper arm is not going to be coming from the wrist. I
suspect with you that muscle loss is because the nervous system is on such high alert that it has your muscles be -so- tight that there is just very little strength potential left. (that is a very brief explanation)

Surgery isn't going to reverse any of that. You might get benefit for a while, but it's not a fix.

Plus there's the question of how fast are you going to heal from a surgery?

So what do you do?

Ice Dip as described. You can even up the number of dips per day. Ideally, for a week, you will dip as many times as possible throughout the day.

That will help the lower arm, wrist, and hand, and if those spots are the culprit of the numbness, that will help.

You may want to find a skilled massage therapist and tell them to gently open up your Scalenes, reverse the medial rotation of the upper arm, and loosen the connective tissue of the forearm and wrist. A skilled person can do this, and last I heard, Canada had high requirements to be a massage therapist.

Also, increase your Omega 3 fat intake, increse your calcium/magnesium intake, and your protein intake.

Natural anti-inflammatories like Turmeric and Omega 3 oils like fish oils.

Also, if it's sunny up there, get out into the sun every day for a little bit, with the sun directly on your skin. If no sunshine, get a Vitamin D3 supplement.

Vitamin D3 plays a huge roll in health and healing.

Keep me updated and ask me more questions.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Comments for Relief from Carpel Tunnel (Post Distal Radius Fracture)

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Aug 23, 2012
Tingling in fingers goes on and on after compound fracture of right wrist
by: Steve R

On July 1, 2009 and had a terrible auto accident. I had a compound fracture of my left leg, and my right wrist.

Surgery was done within a few days of the accident at a great Baltimore hospital. I had several weeks of PT and nothing helped the tingleing in my two main fingers and the left side of my ring finger. Then after different medications and lots of excerise, I had a nerve test and then some time after that carpal Tunnel surgery.

Then following that was more PT and my personal excersies at home. To no avail. I stopped PT which was not working.

Now almost three years later, it still tingles and hurts. I do excerises and use ice sometime and heat other times. If I touch anything sharp I go through the ceiling. It is very sensitive and uncomfortable and I have lost all hope and realize I will likely have this the rest of my life.

My wrist was in really bad shape when I was flown to the trama center and the surgeons did miracelous work just to give me the use of it so I am very grateful to them. I can type work with tools, etc.

I have to ignore all the sharp messages I get from my fingers and just keep going.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Steve.

Well, there's three options (or combinations thereof) as to the cause of the ongoing nerve pain.

1. Nutritional deficiency. Various nutrients are required for optimal nerve function. That you're lacking in them is highly likely.

2. Tight muscle and connective tissue compressing the nerve. Like stepping on a water hose.

3. The compound fracture and then the surgery (which doesn't sound like it did anything good or bad?) may have jacked you up permanently.

Maybe it's 0%/0%/100%. Maybe it's 33%/33%/33% or some other combination. There's just no way to tell at the moment.

First things, first, deal with the nutrition. It's cheap and easy and necessary for a healthy body anyway. We'll see what happens.

Then, some manual self care to open up too tight structures. We'll see what happens.

If you get good at the first two, you have a chance of things getting better.

There is a chance it's permanent, but I wouldn't even begin to go there yet. If it's nutritionally based, and/or if it's something we can touch/change by getting a finger on it (to open up the tissue causing the compression), then we can make it better to some degree.

I suggest that you get Reversing Wrist Tendonitis program. That's the base from which to work. And then email me and I'll give you some specific things to pay attention to.

May 12, 2015
roller skating broken wrist radial bone 58 years old
by: Susan T

Fell roller skating on 12/13/14. Broke radial bone,had surgery and titanium plate put in. Had excessive swelling and now cannot bend fingers to make a fist.

Dr. says it's arthritis from immobility.

Therapist says it's tendonitis.

Thankfully I found your website and started ice dipping 2 weeks ago. It has gotten a little better as far as the swelling and bending the fingers go but my palm and backs of my fingers are stiff and have this weird, swollen, sensitive feeling to them.

It makes it hard to drive(holding the steering wheel) and push a grocery store carriage. I am taking celebrex.

It's not helping much. I also started taking magnesium on April 22,2015 along with vitamin B6.

What can I do to make that weird feeling go away? Is there any help for the hand stiffness and how can I get the ends of my fingers to bend so I can make a fist?

I am 58 years old with osteoarthritis but never had a problem with my hands. This all started when I broke my left wrist.

I welcome any advice or suggestions. One doctor said I may have to have the plate removed but I don't want another surgery.

Thank you.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Susan.

So, you broke your radial bone, had metal put in, were in a hard cast for a while, yes?

So downsides from immobility are playing a role, that's true.

There's a tendonitis dynamic, that's true (muscles get tight, connective tissue shrink wraps, chronic Process of Inflammation, nutritional lack, progressively building on each other).

Tendonitis can show up anywhere. It's just a dynamic of various factors conspiring together to cause pain/problem.

See: What Is Tendonitis?

1. How would removing the plate help anything?

2. What is your vitamin D level? There's no reason to continue to have osteoarthritis: get your Vitamin D level to between 60-80ng/ml and keep up the intake of magnesium (more magnesium, probably).

See: Magnesium For Tendonitis

3. Continue ice dipping. It's really effective and increasing circulation (and the good that comes from that) and decreasing pain levels.

You're going to need to start reversing the connective tissue shrinkwrapping that's been happening. I of course recommend the Reversing Wrist Tendonitis program.

4. If the Celebrex isn't helping, you may want to consider stopping it. It's supposed to be an alternative for long term Ibuprofen use, but is known to have a tendency to cause heart issues....

5. If it's just 'arthritis from immobility' then it can be reversed. It's temporary if you put the time/effort it, but will likely be permanent if you don't.

Casting, and age, and the nutritional lack that is responsible for the osteoarthritis (no it's not a lack of calcium) and the tendonitis dynamic all contribute to a particular physicality.

By default it will predictably get worse, with some intelligent self care it should be 98+% reversible.

Sep 09, 2018
Distal Radius Fracture - severe numbness of three fingers
by: Ish2003

Hi Joshua. Here's my story: I'm a 46 year old female who drives a car for my living.

05.24.18 - fell head first down 5-6 stairs in airport, resulting in very large bump to head but right arm took the brunt of the impact. Rushed by ambulance to hospital, x-ray confirmed distal radius fracture right wrist.

Had closed reduction under anesthetic performed which was unsuccessful. Recommendation was internal fixation surgery which happened on 05.25.18. My wrist was bandaged up with a dressing and splint following surgery.

I had my post-op appointment at fracture clinic two weeks later. Wound was still healing and was re-dressed with waterproof dressing and splint went back on.

At this appointment I complained of bad numbness to my thumb and three fingers of my right hand. My ring finger is the worst for the numbness. I cannot feel it at all even sticking a sharp item in it. The junior doctor that spoke with me was completely disillusioned and basically did not give a hoot. Told me to speak with doctor at home.

As I was overseas at the time of the fall, I was basically given the all clear to fly home and to get a referral to fracture clinic at my nearest hospital. Upon arriving home I visited my general practitioner (GP) and I am still waiting for a call from the fracture clinic.

I am extremely worried about the numbness in my hand, which is still there, especially as I drive for a living.

I hope you can give me some advice!
Thanks appreciate it!


Joshua Comments:

Hi Ish.

Thumb and first two fingers is attributed to compression of the radial nerve (attribued to compression at/near the carpal tunnel at the wrist), and other two fingers is cubital nerve (attributed to compression at/near the elbow/cubital tunnel). Both sections can (also) be numb from compression up at the chest/neck/shoulder.

You fell and landed on your arm (but hit your head too which includes forces than can affect your neck/chest/shoulder).

Broke a bone, had surgery, hand immobilization. All of that results in A. muscle tightness and B. connective tissue tightness (both which can/do cause compression of one or more nerves), and C. inflammation (swelling) which can compress nerve from the inner pressures.

1. If you haven't, I'd see a good chiropractor and make sure your neck etc is not out of whack. (Pay attention and see if anything happens to the numbness right after a session.)(For the record, I'm saying to go see one, not to do three months of three times a week....)

2. Answer this question, and we'll go from there. It's been a little bit since you wrote this, how are you now what has changed for better or worse?

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