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Broke my Wrist

  1. May 13, 2012 #1
    So when I was about 14-22 years old, I was an avid skateboarder. It was something I was very passionate about. Something happened and I stopped doing it. I picked up bad habits that some young adults pick up and the things I once cared about fell by the wayside. I ditched those habits and went back to school at 25. Now I am 32 and have completed my degrees and have a decent job. I have a lot of time on my hands now that I finished grad school (40-hour work weeks are a joke by comparison).

    About a month ago I started skateboarding again on the weekends. It made me really happy to be doing something that I once loved so much again. Then I fell. It was a simple fall. Nothing glorious or risky. It was equivalent to walking in your driveway and then slipping on ice or wet leaves. I fell forward and put my right hand out instinctively and much to my horror, when I made contact with the ground, it broke!

    Is this really what happens as we age? Or am I just malnourished? I have felt the past few years that my wrists are on the weak side, but this is ridiculous. I need to find a way to shape up a little. I have no intent of not skateboarding again, but I can't have my wrists breaking every time I fall. And I will fall again. And I will not be able to avoid sticking my hands outs every time I do. It's just too natural.

    I am going back to the specialist in a week. I am going to ask for his thoughts on preventative care. But I am thinking of starting swimming when the cast comes off. And then some sort of weight training (starting small of course).

    And thoughts or similar experiences?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 13, 2012 #2


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    By mid 40s or early 50s, it is probably easier to break bones, and certainly it takes longer to heal.

    It's a good idea to do reasonably frequent weight training to maintain some strength, and also some agility training.

    When falling don't put an arm out straight, but slightly bent. And be ready to allow the hand and arm to fold to lessen the stress on the bones and joints.
  4. May 13, 2012 #3


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    I broke my wrist when I was 7. :biggrin:
  5. May 13, 2012 #4


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    Sorry to hear that salad. Can you wear wrist splints?
  6. May 13, 2012 #5
    I took up skateboarding again when I was 25 and I'm 31 now and still get out for a roll, albeit (!) on the tamer side of things. I don't like street skating so much, the pain factor is too great, but I get out to a mini-ramp or bowl when I can and it's a lot easier on the old body. I do wear knee pads when I skate ramp - a small inconvenience, and I try to plant my knees when I fall to take the brunt of it. I've hurt my wrists quite a few times over the years - it's hard to break the reflex of putting out your hands to break the fall, but touch wood, haven't broken anything yet. Speaking of wood, it's much nicer to fall on than concrete, if you have the option of a wooden ramp.

    I don't know if you're into bikes, but I get a similar thrill from cross country mountain bike riding, it's fast, rough and there's plenty of room for getting some air, drifting on the loose stuff, and generally having a good time, and while I have poleaxed myself a few times, I don't hurt myself anywhere near as much as I do on my skateboard.
  7. May 13, 2012 #6

    D H

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    To some extent, yes, it is. Your body is on a long downhill slide once you hit 25 or so. Don't overextend yourself.

    However, a broken wrist is a common injury in skateboarding regardless of age. You might have just been lucky when you were young. Or you might have learned how to fall correctly and forgotten that little tidbit of knowledge. Or you might have worn wrist guards a decade ago and forgotten to use them this time around. Wear protective gear. You might look like a nerd, but you will be a live and relatively unscarred nerd.

    Another problem is that you used to know how to skateboard. You don't know how to do that anymore. Mental memory has a lot more persistence than muscle memory. Don't try the tricks you used to do, at least right off the bat.

    There's one exception to mental memory being long-lived, and with skateboarding it's a big exception. Mental memory goes south big time with a brain injury. Now that you have finished grad school your brain is your biggest asset. Make sure you protect it.
  8. May 14, 2012 #7
    I'm 57, and my main exercise is to walk a couple miles a day. I often run into a guy on my walk who looks to be my age, who is out there on a skateboard. He's definitely unusual, but it shows it can be done. I expect he's probably a lot more conservative about his speed and choosing the flattest places to ride, than a 15 year old.
  9. May 14, 2012 #8
    About 15 years ago, I slipped on ice, fell to the left, and the hand/arm hit the ground first. Nothing became broken but the stress on the arm resulted in black and blue patches from the shoulder to the wrist from the small tearing of tissue . No swelling.

    Last week a girl tripped at her place of work and fell on her arm. All she has is one bruised spot on her elbow but her arm has swollen up and her movement is limited.

    In your case, with the luck of the draw, you broke your wrist.

    Remember the distinction between cartilage and bone from biology. Cartiage is a rubbery connective tissue and can be found, in many places throughout the body, including in the joints between bones. When you are born your body is something like 95% cartilage and that is your temporary skeleton. A baby cannot walk not only because he/she does not have the strength nor motor skills but also because the legs are just about all cartiage which will flex under the weight. As one grows older the bone replaces the cartilage, and that is a continious process throughout life.
    So while when younger, as a teenager and even into your twenties, what would have just resulted in some temporary pain, as an older person who is now not as rubbery could be a broken bone.
    And then there is the loss of bone mass after one reaches middle age but that is not where you are yet.
  10. May 14, 2012 #9
    Swimming is great. For the wrists, squeezing some sort of rubber ball, or one of those things with handles will strengthen them. I play tennis, so that keeps my right-hand wrist really strong.

    This might help:

    Be careful with weights. I think it's a good idea, as you noted, to start with really light (for you) weights. Also, it's my understanding there's lots of little muscles, tendons, etc. that can/should be strengthened before attempting weights that actually feel heavy to you.

    Not sure how to do all of that. I just play a lot of tennis and make sure to never fall down. :smile:
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  11. May 14, 2012 #10


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    I'm 56, and my main exercise is to walk to the fridge a couple of dozen times a day to snag a fresh beer.
    A few years ago, the hockey rink across the street from me was converted to a skateboard park during the summer. Someone from one of the new condo complexes beside it came hammering on my door, demanding that I sign a petition to ban the skaters. I politely invited her to indulge in fornication with the nearest inanimate object. My mother donated that land, and the rest of the 5 acres that it inhabits, to the town on the condition that it never be used for anything other than public recreation. The only inconvenience that the skaters presented was on the opening day. Since there was no sound system installed, about half a dozen or so of the kids tuned their car radios to the same station, cranked the volume, and left their doors open. It woke me up. The only reason that it woke me up is because I was working night shifts, and this was at 11 am. Once I realized what the sound was, I went back to sleep. I sure as hell preferred having them next door than having them randomly shoot across the street in front of my car, as had happened several times prior. I damned nearly killed a couple of them, because they just don't seem to understand the concept of stopping distance. (Which makes sense when you consider that they had never driven a car. If the largest vehicle that you've controlled was a bicycle, it's hard to grasp what is entailed in putting the binders to 2 tonnes of steel.)
    Anyhow, as to the question... my recommendation would be to pad yourself extensively and shoulder-roll (or whatever similar technique is appropriate) into your falls instead of trying to break the fall with your arm. Bone porosity is a fact of advancing age. Perhaps calcium supplements would help, but there have been adverse side-effects reported in the past few months. I suggest that you ask your physician for advice.
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  12. May 14, 2012 #11


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    Did you wear wrist guards? Also, take some training in how to break a fall. I know some people who've done martial arts and found it very practical in dodging cars or knowing how to fall off a bicycle when intoxicated.
    You could've just been unlucky that too much weight was put onto the bone during the fall, which doesn't need to mean that you're malnourished. Breaking bones does make them stronger, so you're on the right track there :smile:
    I once broke a foot-bone when stepping out of a bus, nothing glorious or risky either. The bus didn't stop at a sidewalk so the distance was bigger than usual and I landed on the front of my foot, so the resulting force was just too big. At first I tried to walk it off, but found out later it was really broken. At least I learned something from that, which was to distribute forces when high impact is expected..
  13. May 14, 2012 #12


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    Now, see... if you'd gotten those helium implants when I first suggested it, you could have just floated off of the bus... :uhh:
  14. May 14, 2012 #13


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    Good that you're going to see a specialist - he or she will be able to address your concerns.

    IMO, it's good that you broke a bone. Once you're an adult, bones will (eventually) heal, but soft tissue damage is really hard to recover from - cartilage, tendons, bursa, etc.

    Swimming is great exercise but since it's not weight-bearing, it won't strengthen your bones (bolding mine):

    Weight lifting is great for bones, though.
  15. May 14, 2012 #14
    That's sad to hear. I'm 28 and I feel like I'm just now getting my life started. You're telling me it's all downhill? I was hoping to go uphill for at least 10 more years.
  16. May 14, 2012 #15
    Ouch ...

    Never broken my wrist, but I did sprain it once, in a similar situation.
  17. May 18, 2012 #16
    Thanks for the advice and encouragement folks. :smile: My wrist is feeling good enough to type now! I am seeing the specialist on Monday. I will be sure to inquire about exercises and nutrition. I will probably look into a wrist guard at least until I feel confident about my wrist strength.
  18. May 19, 2012 #17


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    +1 to what lisab and D H mentioned.

    Coincident with age for professionals is the fact that one will spend more awake time behind a desk, i.e., working at a more or less sedentary job. Exercise, particularly weight training, is important for maintaining strength, agility and cardiovascular fitness. Doing some activity is also important so that one retains a familiarity with the moves.

    As D H mentioned, in dynamic acitivities, such as cycling or rollerskating, where one is moving quickly, it is important to wear the appropriate protection to prevent injury resulting from a mishap.

    Older folk don't heal as well as younger folk, and it gets worse with age.
  19. May 20, 2012 #18


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    In one regard, you got the worst of it. A sprain hurts an awful lot more than a break, and can sometimes be harder to heal.
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