Recovering faster from a broken wrist - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Recovering faster from a broken wrist

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Madison (MedStar) -- Not long ago, having a broken wrist meant months of recovery and rehab.

  But innovations in wrist fracture care help patients recover faster than ever.

  Jeweler Joyce Mooné thought her career was finished after a mishap with her dog.

  She said, "I didn't realize that my Irish Terrier was right behind my heels, and I fell over him, and when I hit the ground I knew immediately I had broken my wrist."

  Joyce had put out her hand to break the fall.

  Doctor Mark Cohen said, "then all the force is transmitted from the hand into the wrist, and just above the joint, there's a soft area of spongy bone that's very susceptible to fracture."

  Doctor Cohen says the wrist is one of the most commonly broken bones, and until recently, was set using a bulky metal frame.

  Doctor Cohen added, "when I started, we treated two or three people a week with, for wrist fractures, with an external frame on their arm."

  Now, a tiny implantable plate mimics the action of the external frame but works from the inside.

  And instead of immobilizing the wrist, it encourages movement.

  "Within a matter of days, we can start people moving their wrists and rehabilitating. Where in the old days, you really didn't start until about six to eight weeks," Doctor Cohen said.

  The implant's secret: special screws that lock into the plate, not the bone.

  Doctor Cohen also said, "what happens is the screws actually twist into the plate and then they don't move relative to the plate."

  Since the bone is stabilized from the inside, patients don't need a cast, and don't have lingering issues.

  Doctor Cohen also said, "we rarely saw people get all of their mobility back. Meaning, all of their rotation, all of their wrist flexion and extension. And what we're seeing now is not only a more rapid return of motion and function but a complete return."

  It's a level of perfection joyce appreciates.

  Doctor cohen says wrist fractures are seen regularly throughout the year, but they're more abundant during the winter when people slip and slide on the ice.

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