Wrist Injury Precautionary Checkup

After hurting my wrist about a week and a half ago, I figured hey – maybe I won’t wait several months before I get this checked out. So this time around, I made a call in to revisit Dr. Wiedrich at the Chicago Center for Surgery of the Hand.

My hunch is that I stressed my wrist when I first helping clear the garage in Valpo… it didn’t really “pop” on me until a week after. It happened rather randomly, and just started to ache a bit (with some swelling).

Since then, it’s steadily (albeit slowly) improved on its own. I even helped out in Valpo last weekend, and didn’t really feel super troubled by it. I definitely wasn’t at 100% with my wrist, but I also didn’t feel like I walked away from that day feeling more injured.

So in going to see Dr. Wiedrich, it seemed more like a cautionary thing. Just to be safe.

Sitting in the room, I realized how comforting the picture on the wall was. It made me think about being active and outside, but not at all about my hands (just my legs). I wondered if choosing this photo was intentional.

After some assessments, Dr. Wiedrich told me that what I had was “ulnar abutment/impaction.” Basically the cartilage (I think it was cartilage) has worn down over time.

Apparently, in 9% of people (and I am in that 9%), they have a slightly larger bone in their arm by the wrist area. And due to this increased length, it wears on the cartilage. And “like the sole on a shoe,” it wears down and eventually perforates.

There are four stages to this condition, it seems. And at his estimation I’m at Stage 2. I think Stage 4 was arthritis.

Interestingly, the same treatments are used (and have the same success rate), regardless of what Stage someone is in. There are some options like cortisone shots, or splints + medical-grade anti-inflammatories, or surgery. But the success rate for each stays the same, regardless of the stage you’re in.

The issue really comes down to discomfort, and it’s the treatment of that discomfort. It’s not about doing something now, to prevent getting arthritis down the line.

Dr. Wiedrich said that if it was getting better on its own, we should just leave it be. He felt that I’d likely “tweak” my wrist again eventually, and it would also slowly heal again eventually. The fact that I’d gone 6+ years since my last visit made him feel like no additional steps were necessary.

So, overall – good news. I still have some weakly little wrists, but nothing really needs to be done about them.

On the way out, I snapped a photo of some of the jerseys that were framed in the office hallway. I believe this office also treats a lot of pro athletes – so I definitely feel like I’m in good hands when I come here.

That’s right folks, I’m here all week.

PS: Yes, Dr. Wiedrich did also sketch things out for me on paper again (though I didn’t photograph it). And yes, he also did so upside-down.

The Infirmity Gauntlet
Wrist Injury: Visiting the Chicago Center for Surgery of the Hand

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