practical news, for practical harpists

Forums » Professional Harpists » i fractured my wrist and i am...

About Forums

Welcome to the Harp Column forums. Please read the Terms and Conditions before posting. By using this forum, you agree to adhere to these terms.

Want to add links or emphasis to your posts? Read the Harp Column blog about posting shortcuts.

i fractured my wrist and i am looking for feedback

  • Elizabeth
    Elizabeth Ahlgrim

    hi everyone..the unthinkable has happened.  i fractured my wrist.  on a scale of 1-10, it is about a 4.  i was able to get a sub for my upcoming gigs but i am hoping to be ready to go in 4 weeks if i have the surgery.  has anyone had any experience with this?  thanks.

    replies to "i fractured my wrist and i am looking for feedback"
    • Sylvia
      Sylvia Clark

      Yes, here it is.  I had a "smithereens" (the Dr. said that...the break didn't fit a category...it was just shattered)  broken wrist from rollerblading back in the 90s.  What kind of surgery are you having, and are you getting a cast? Your info was pretty general.  

      I did not have a cast.  I had two surgeries.  The first surgery, they put on a fixator and waited a few weeks to see if the bones would re-assemble.  For the fixator, a hole is drilled in the bone in the hand and another in the arm and an external metal rod is fixated above the arm.  That holds the whole mess in place.  The bone fragments refused to regroup, so the second surgery, they put in a plate.  Two doctors worked on it...one told me later they had to look at it a long time after it was opened up to decide what to do with it.  I couldn't put any pressure on my hand, so I couldn't use my left hand.  The fixator was in place about three months.  The accident was in mid-November, and I didn't play again until March.  I didn't use a sling, but my left arm was weak, so I used my smaller harp (Aoyama Etude- what a blessing it is!) instead of  my LH until November. 

      I think your situation depends on how severe the break is and what they do with it. Some people (who haven't had a broken wrist) think it is nothing serious, but as you now know, you have to re-organize your whole life because of it and hope for a good outcome.  My left hand won't bend back quite as far as the right, but no one would notice it unless I showed them...and since I don't keep my wrists in to play anyway, it doesn't affect my playing.

    • Carl
      Carl Swanson

      I broke my right wrist in what's called a spoon fracture. it was awful. Both bones-the Ulna and the Radius- broke near the wrist joint and my right hand and the stubs of broken bone sank down and slid under the broken bones that led up to my elbow. I didn't need surgery. The wrist was set and my arm put in a cast for 5 weeks. When the cast came off, my lower arm looked like it had been harvested from a cadaver. The muscle was all wasted away. As far as range of motion was concerned, the worst problem was the inability to rotate my hand and wrist. Physical therapy took care of that.

      You need to wait until you have completely healed from this to schedule any gigs. Don't assume that once the cast comes off everything will immediately be back to normal.

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth Ahlgrim

      ugh..that is what i was afraid of... was really hoping to be playing again by 11/11.  mine is near the joint. its not too serious, only 2 small breaks,  i am in a splint.  doing two more xrays tomorrow.  i already have exercises to do which i am doing religiously.  i am not scheduled for 3 weeks but things are packed from 11/11 on.

    • Eliza
      Eliza Morrison

      It will continue to heal for a long, long time after the cast has come off; physical therapy will definitely help. Make sure the doctor knows you are a musician. When I broke my right hand a few years ago, I actually really enjoyed doing some practicing with my left hand only. It was amazing the musical discoveries I made that I wouldn't have if I had been using both hands! Best wishes to you for a full and complete recovery. 

    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Oh I'm so sorry!

      I've never broken a bone in my body, so I don't have any experience with this. But I did want to say that I'm truly sorry, I know what it's like to have to take a break from jobs/practicing the harp and it's really awful. Just make sure you give your wrist time to heal, it'll be tough now but in the long run your wrist and harp will thank you! I hope you feel better soon, God bless!

      --- Natalie

    • Alison
      Alison P

      Carl's absolutely right, don't expect anything to happen for say 2 months after you get the pot off.  I broke my arms 4 times by the age of 14, and once aged 10 had only a week's holiday between one cast coming off the left arm and a new break on the right arm.  Not fragile particularly, just a boisterous childhood.  Physio is crucially important, for flexibility, mobility and strength and I am sure the harp helped, once I could touch it again.  If your elbow is free, you'll have an easier recovery with only the wrist to worry about.  Keep your fingers moving and grip things too.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Kraichy

      I broke my wrist when I slipped on ice. It hurt, but I had a gig to play. I played, not knowing my wrist was broken and during my gig my thumb suddenly collapsed and I could't raise it. (Right hand)  I "limped" through the gig and stopped in the emergency department of a hospital on my way home. They took x-rays and discovered I had a broken wrist. They put on a heavy cast, clear up my arm. (Looked great- as I was still in my evening gown). Then, they discovered my "limp thumb." I had severed a tendon while playing the harp.  I had an emergency operation two days later and even my thumb had a cast on it.  Needless to say, I couldn't play harp and it was at least two months before I could play at all. I did teach, but it was very frustrating. Eventually, my cast was smaller and I had to go to Physical  and Occupational Therapy at the hospital. I also had hot wax treatments. Put clothes pins on a board to flex my wrist. I acually progressed faster than those in my class who weren't harpists.  The harp actually helped my wrist get back to normal.  This happened years ago and I'm sure there has been alot of improvement in recovery and treatment for broken wrists. All I can say is to keep up your hope and determination, follow your doctor's orders and you'll get back to playing as well as before your accident. Mine was more serious with the severed tendon., but now I'm back to normal. 

    • Kent
      Kent Vogel

      Mr. Swanson if I may ask,..What type of a fall was this? I broke one of my wrist floating bones called the vicular (sp?) and played nine football games with a broken wrist. The human body , could it be said,  has tremendous abilities to heal.

    • Carl
      Carl Swanson

      Slip and fall. As I was falling backwards, I put my right hand out in back of me to break the fall. I heard both bones break at the moment of impact.

    • Alison
      Alison P

      Are you back in one piece and playing now ?

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen Cover

      I karate-chopped my left metacarpal (hand bone below the little finger) on March 31, 2011 when I fell on some cement stairs.  It was a clean break. However, I apparently damaged tendons and soft tissue.  I went to hand therapy for ten weeks.  I could not play my harp for five months. My hand is still not healed.  Not playing makes my hand stiff, playing makes my tendons ache.  I read a lot of websites and patient sites about this and found it can take up to two years to get better.  I just had my hand xrayed and the break has healed.  Because this was an accident, everything has been covered by insurance without a deductible.  I am so sorry you broke your wrist. Make sure you get an evaluation by a physical therapist and do the exercises if prescribed.

    • hitomi
      hitomi momose

      I hope you are on your way to recovery by now. I broke my wrist 3 years ago, underwent surgery. A plate and 7 small screws are there. It healed with no dysfunction in daily activity. I can do girl sit-ups. Only limitation is "la table" playing. best wishes.