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To think its crazy I have to wait until the 18/12 to have my hand put in plaster

(20 Posts)
ReallyTired Mon 10-Dec-12 14:45:48

Yesterday I broke my thumb and the doctor says it needs to be put in plaster. They could not do it straight away as the doctor wanted to wait for the swelling to reduce. My poor thumb is about three times its normal size. The break is in a really difficult to place to immobilise. I have damaged the joint where the thumb joins the hand.

Surely the bone will be healed by the time I am put into plaster.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 10-Dec-12 15:13:42

The bone will take 6 weeks to heal. There is a risk of more swelling if plastered this could compromise the blood supply and could be very dangerous. When the swelling subsides the plaster will be loose and can cause more problems than no plaster at all.
So there are very good reasons for waiting.

valiumredhead Mon 10-Dec-12 15:15:48

The swelling needs to go down as much as possible first before a plaster is put on. I had to wait 5 days with 4 breaks in my ankle before I had a plaster put on because the swelling was so bad.

In the mean time use ice and/or cool compresses to help reduce the swelling for 10 mins at a time.

bubbles1231 Mon 10-Dec-12 15:17:10

What Lonecat said.

freddiefrog Mon 10-Dec-12 15:19:43

Agree re the swelling

A friend's teenage son broke his arm falling out of a shopping trolley (he and his friends were pushing each other down a hill in the park in it.

He had to wait for the swelling to go down

Startail Mon 10-Dec-12 15:32:43

Don't worry bone's don't start knitting immediately.

A skilled Dr. with a strong thumb was still able to straighten DDs arm 3 weeks after she broke it. Even then the bones were sort of plastic. She was incredibly brave, it was obviously really painful.

Two weeks after that she was on holiday climbing and swimming and swinging off it as if nothing had happened and it didn't hurt at all.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 10-Dec-12 16:59:05

YABU. Unless you have magic powers that allow you to know more about broken bones than doctors do with no medical training whatsoever.

ReallyTired Mon 10-Dec-12 18:59:37

Startail,
I feel scared. My poor thumb hurts enough as it is. I suppose the doctors know what they are doing. My FIL had a plaster put on really quickly when he broke his arm. I am surprised they are waiting a week. The swelling is reducing quite rapidly.

I was under the impression that the body went into repair mode as soon as the the injury happens. I broke a finger twenty years ago and it healed really quickly. From what I remember it took 3 to 4 weeks.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Mon 10-Dec-12 19:01:01

Yes, the doctors will know what they are doing.

DowntonSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 19:04:03

They cannot put you in a plaster while there is swelling. It would be dangerous to do so.

They may be able to give you a splint or even a half pot but I would think wearing it in a high sling to keep it upright and protect it while the swelling goes would be enough.

DowntonSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 19:05:11

I don't mean upright- I mean raised!

valiumredhead Tue 11-Dec-12 08:30:03

Joints are different from simple breaks which is what your FIL had by the sounds of things.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 11-Dec-12 08:43:19

There are different types of break and their position relative to major blood vessels determines how they are managed.
I broke my leg and the fracture was actively held apart and prevented from mending for the first six weeks due to the damaged blood supply.

Shutupanddrive Tue 11-Dec-12 08:47:09

When I broke my ankle in 3 places they put it in a half plaster to keep it still (plaster at back, bandage at the front) while I was waiting for an op the next day. It was so painful they had to cut the bandage open as the swelling was making it too tight. The relief was instant, though obviously it still hurt! They know what they are doing, just try to be careful with it in the meantime.

valiumredhead Tue 11-Dec-12 08:48:13

shut I had that too - was agony but instant relief when they cut through!

Allergictoironing Tue 11-Dec-12 11:08:58

As others have said, it very much depends on the type of break and where it is. The purpose of the plaster cast is to immobilise the break so it heals in the correct position (there's a bit more to it than that, but that's the basics). If there's too much movement then the break can't really heal well as the movement stops the ends being "glued" together, so any break that can move about takes serious amounts of time longer to heal. The amount of movement of a break not in a cast also has a big dependency on the muscles in the area - it's pretty hard not to use any muscles in your leg that have an effect on whichever bone is broken, but the thumb uses just 2 small muscles in the lower arm so much easier to control
Bear in mind that it isn't feasible to put certain areas of the body in a cast at all, and very impractical for others (think collar bone or ribs) - these are common breaks that heal fine but take a fair bit longer than say a leg or arm in a cast all things being equal.
As it's a joint you've damaged, they are probably needing the swelling to be almost completely down so they can be sure that when they DO put the cast on, they have everything in exactly the right place. In addition, if they put on the cast with the swelling they will have to remove & replace it within a few days anyway as it won't fit. I'm talking from personal experience on the cast replacement thing - I broke my leg badly years ago & they needed to immobilise it immediately (VERY messy break), so they put on a "backslab" as described by Shutup above. They then had to change that for a full cast 2 days later when they did the operation to reset the leg, then that one was changed a week later again a bit of fiddling with the break which was needed as the bones had moved about a bit because the cast was loose, then again the following week so a total of 4 casts in 16 days.
If you heal in a cast and something is slightly out of position you could be stuck with that for life.

Plomino Tue 11-Dec-12 12:47:49

I currently have a fractured fibula after a stupid riding accident . They only plastered me for one day as the problem is right up by my knee , and they didn't want to immobilise my knee for too long as apparently it can cause more problems . They gave me a huge Velcro brace and some weapons grade painkillers instead , and 4 weeks on, it's finally starting to feel a bit less painful . Still swollen however , which doesn't help matters .

ReallyTired Tue 11-Dec-12 13:17:43

Plomino, I'm sorry to hear you hurt yourself. I hope you are feeling better soon.

My fracture is at the base of the thumb. At the moment it is wrapped up in a mountain of elasterplast which is keeping it relative immobile. This morning my dd innocently grabbed my hand and I nearly swore.

Thanks for the explanation I got on this thread. I had no explanation at the hospital as they were so busy.

Shutupanddrive Tue 11-Dec-12 21:42:30

I also broke my elbow and didn't have that in plaster at all as it was a joint. Was a small fracture though not a bad break. Hope your on the mend now OP?

QODRestYeMerryGentlemen Tue 11-Dec-12 22:00:00

Problem is, you never know whether you really DO need to wait that long, or if its just when they can fit you in.

I guess if the Dr actually said to come then, rather than the clinic sending y that date, then its right

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