Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
Now my plaster has been removed, what should I do?
Once the Clinical Team have agreed it is safe for you to use and move your wrist, your cast will be removed. When the cast is first removed, it is normal to feel pain as your hand has not moved for some weeks, it may feel vulnerable too.
If you have been given a splint, wear this for the minimum recommended time, as wearing it for too long will restrict normal movement. Movement is important for the recovery process.
If you require it, pain relief can be very useful to help minimise any pain and therefore give you the confidence to exercise and use your hand.
If you have been given pain relief, you should take them as prescribed. You should always read the label if using over-the-counter medication and, if you are in any doubt, speak to your pharmacist or GP. If your pain becomes severe or is continuous, you should contact your GP.
How should I care for my skin?
It is normal for your skin to feel dry and flaky when the cast is first removed.
Unless you have had an operation on your wrist, you should:
- Soak your hand and forearm in warm water, allowing your hand to float and move.
- Pat it dry with a towel and then moisturise thoroughly. Do this 2 – 3 times a day until the skin feels normal.
- Not pick or rub at the skin as this can make it sore.
If you have had a wound, do this as soon as the skin is fully healed and the scabs are off and the wound is dry.
How can I reduce my swelling and help manage my pain?
Swelling is common and normal after you have fractured your wrist and when the cast is removed, and will get in the way of normal movement.
Therefore, reducing this swelling is important.
You should do these activities to help reduce swelling:
- High elevation – rest with your elbow up at shoulder height, with your hand upright, as often as possible.
- Pump your fingers open and closed, then apart and together to boost the circulation (refer to exercise 1).
- Massage the whole of your forearm and hand from the tips of your fingers to your elbow 2 – 3 times a day. Take your time over this.
The exercises shown in this leaflet will also help to reduce any swelling.
How can I help myself?
It is very important to get as much movement back in your wrist as soon as you can. This will mean you can start to use your hand normally and perform your daily functions.
You should aim to perform the following exercises 3 times a day. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise. If you feel this is too much, reduce this to twice daily.
Managing your pain, reducing your swelling and doing your exercises throughout the day will help this happen quicker.
Exercise 1 – Hand and finger pumps
Start by making a fist. Then spread your fingers apart, bringing your fingers together now make a fist again.
Exercise 2 – Elbow range of movement
In sitting or standing, bend your elbow as far as possible and then straighten as far as possible.
Exercise 3 – Ulnar and radial deviation
Start by putting your hand on a flat surface. Bend your wrist in the direction of your little finger. Then bend your wrist in the direction of your thumb.
Exercise 4 – Wrist flexion and extension
Rest your forearm on a table with your hand relaxed over the edge. Bend your wrist up as far you can and back down as far as you can.
Exercise 5 – Wrist supination and pronation
Rest your forearm on a table. Turn your palm upwards as far as you can until your palm is facing up, and then turn it back towards the start position. Keep your upper arm still throughout.
Exercise 6 – Opposition
Prop your elbow up on a chair arm or table. Straighten your fingers as far as you can, aiming to get them fully straight. Now aim to touch the base of each finger with your thumb.
If you have any questions or need further advice, please contact:
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
Physiotherapy Outpatient Department
Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 4.30pm
Any non-urgent messages can be left on the answering machine.
Telephone: 01642 624486
PIL Number: PIL1058
Date for Review: 10/11/2024
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
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Telephone: 01642 617617
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Telephone: 01642 383551
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or: