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Fractured radius near wrist. Ulna sore and red. Can I cut hole in the brace?

Apr 2013
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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 5614 Questions
I fractured my right radius bone near the wrist 7 weeks ago. I just came out of my 3rd and last cast. The point of the ulna however is very red and sore from where it rubbed against the cast. The ulna was never broken but now hurts more than the bone that is/was broken. I find that I can't wear the brace they have me in to protect the arm. How can I treat this painful spot that will make it heal faster? Should I cut a hole in the brace so it doesn't rub there?
Posted Mon, 17 Jun 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 4 hours later
Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX Thank you for your query.

It seems like it is caused by cast pressure and irritation of soft tissue(nerves,muscle or vessels) which is commonly found after such immobilizations especially when cast backing wasnt properly inserted. But, this isnt anything serious. If there is no visible skin defect it should pass in short time. You can cut a hole or insert some cotton wool under the brace. You can also apply some ice for 15 minutes or apply topical ibuprofen cream, deep heat or similar creams. Try to keep your hand elevated as much as possible and rest with your fingers.
The most important thing is that there is no bone destruction or hypertrophy in this place so if symptoms persist after these measures just repeat xray exam.

If you notice loss of sensation and tingling in wrist and innabiltiy to move fingers or loss of pulsations in radial artery,you should visit ER.

WIsh you good health. If you have any questions I ll be glad to help.
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Follow-up: Fractured radius near wrist. Ulna sore and red. Can I cut hole in the brace? 21 minutes later
Thanks that sounds about right. I'll try ice and heat.
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 34 minutes later
You re welcome. I am sure this will help.
Also, it can be refered pain from radial fracture healing, but in every case this pain shouldnt last for long.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Fractured radius near wrist. Ulna sore and red. Can I cut hole in the brace? 16 hours later
I tried both ice and heat and neither seems to help. The entire "pointy" part of the ulna is very red and still sore. I guess if I had left the cast on much longer there would be a pressure sore but it was only on for 2 weeks.

I'm worried that this will interfere with hand therapy which starts Tuesday. Will the therapist know how to handle this?
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 15 hours later
This will not interfere with therapy but i suggest to do xray once again before therapy to check is there some bone change in this area as this redness and pain can be sign of osteomyelitis. This is rare but can be serious.
Keep ice on it every 2 hours for 15 minutes. and try to find some topical antiinflammatory medicine. There is no reason for pain to persist for more than 5 days unless there is infection. So if this persists, you should do blood tests and xrays as I said to rule out bone or joint infection/inflammation.

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