Stitch

Metacarpal Spiral Fracture with Return to Climbing in 4.5 Weeks

What is your story about?
I'm a 25 year old male. I broke my hand while working and had my cast off within 2.5 weeks. At 4.5 weeks I resumed light climbing. Took a break for three weeks after 2 months from the injury. Within 6 months I felt even stronger than before the injury. My uncle is an ortho, so I mainly followed his recommendations which involved a quicker return to activity.
What is your rock climbing background?
I'm an active climber and have been on/off climbing for the past seven years, have been consistently training for the last year getting up to inconsistent V6-V8 sends in the gym and 5.10c sport onsights outdoors, 11a usually goes. I don't take training very seriously and mostly just climb for fun and to get strong in the gym. For reference, I'm in good health, 6’ tall and 165lbs.
Can you describe your injury?
I broke my hand mid-October of 2018 using a hammer drill, it jammed in some metal and slammed my hands back against my hips. I didn't think immediately that it was broken but was super nervous about messing up my hands for climbing so I went into urgent care that night, and had a splint put on, then went to the Ortho three days later for a cast. It turns out that I had a spiral fracture of my fourth metacarpal so the cast immobilized my ring and pinky finger of my right hand, which is my dominant climbing/cranking hand, but not my dominant writing hand.
What was your treatment approach?
My Uncle is a good orthopedic surgeon, but doesn't really follow typical procedures. For example, he broke the exact same bone but never even put a cast on. He says that the bone heals itself quickly and there is not much to worry about. At his advice, I never went back for the weekly checkup and within two and half weeks, I took my cast off so that I could work.
What was your recovery process like?
I listened to my body and didn't do anything that stressed my hand, but still was able to work my job as an electrician and do normal house stuff like dishes. At 4.5 weeks, I went back to the climbing gym and took it easy. I bouldered some V0s and climbed a 5.7 a few times then ended up climbing two 5.9s and a V2 at the end of the hour and a half session. I never did any PT Ultimately, I eased back into climbing and felt discomfort for at least a month during a handful of sessions and whenever that happened I just started doing easier climbs or packed it up. After about a month of easing into ...(more)