[Last Tuesday ErinisEclectic – EIE – sat down with my Radio-Ulnar Ligament – RU – for a casual chat about keepin’ it shibtastic]

EIE: So, uh …a lot of people have been asking about you lately and uh …you agreed to, to come in and kind of, uh, give everyone an update then?

RU: Yeah, brah.

EIE: So then, uh. How are…how are things with you? You were kinda having a – uh, a rough time of it before.

RU: Yeah I guess you could say I was, like uh, breakin’ under the pressure man, havin’ trouble keepin’ things together, ya dig? But now everything’s all brojangles dude. I’ve been keepin’ it real, keepin’ it fresh and –

EIE: – actually, let me, uh let me stop you there for a second. I can’t help but …but notice that massive, uh massive bleeding gash in your side.

RU: Nah man. Just a flesh wound. No big deal.

EIE: Right. Well the thing of it is …well it kinda looks like you might rip in half at any moment. And uh, yeah …your, your right arm is kinda miss… kinda. Well it’s not there.

RU: Like I said brosinski – flesh wound. Nothin’ to blow a squeaker over.

EIE: Right, so umm…uh…

…Hobbies! You, you have any hobbies then?

RU: Frothin’ brah. Fully makin’ double overhead corduroy to the horizon. Ya dig?

EIE: I- uh… I’m sorry?

RU: Sometimes it gets real tense around here. Gotta wile out – shoot the curl on the reg.

EIE: Wait a tick, where’d you get a surfboard?

RU: Brosauce – that’s your problem. You gotta loosen up. Go with the flow dude. Ride the lactic acid of life. Do you catch what I’m heavin’ right now?

EIE: Yeah. Yeah sure.

…So ahh, next question then. Next question, next questiiiiooonnn, thinking of the next questionnnnn…

Right. Uh…any other hobbies then?

RU: Like I said, just tryin’ to keep it real loosey goosey. Yoga, meditation, expanding my mind a bit, stretching my boundaries. Just – like, keepin’ tension outta’ my world.

EIE: And how’s that working out for you?

RU: It’s been a pretty gnar-tastic, epic ride brah, but things are lookin’ pretty shiberific right now.

EIE: Oh yeah? Even with the gash and, and, and all that?

RU: Dude, again with the buggary? For real-sauce brah.

EIE: Sorry. It’s, well, it’s just that people have been, you know, wondering if this is gonna be – uh, if you’re planning – is this kinda it? Are you planning on making a permanent, uh a permanent attachment this time?

RU: You know broman? The whole ham sandwich on rye, backyard bingo kinda thing. It’s like, it’s totally not my style. Right now I’m – I’m totally diggin’ my scene. It’s been super tubuloso lately so I’m definitely not plannin’ on drillin’ outta here anytime soon. That’s about all the nectar I can spew right now.

EIE: Oh. Umm, ok then. Well, uh…well, thanks for coming by and uh, good luck with, uh, with everything.

RU: Shibby! Catch ya on the flip side and all that stuff, and uh… latronic dude!

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20 responses »

  1. Ali says:

    Ugh…what did you do to your ankle?

    • erinobrien26 says:

      So I missed one of your posts and just realized it. My doctor finally told me to just stop climbing. He never really offered an explanation for anything. I think he just got tired of dealing with my wrist. Finally I talked to Dr. J (http://www.drjuliansaunders.com/) and he was the one who gave me the stretches to do. It saved me from re-re-tearing my ligaments. He’s a flippin’ genius.

      Why can’t you climb past 5.9s? Does it hurt to pinch? For me underclings are the devil, and pinches hurt a lot from time to time (mostly when I haven’t been doing the stretches).

      Before my ankle surgery I was back to climbing v6s and 7s pretty solidly. Also, I don’t really have this experience, but I let a friend borrow my wrist widget and she said it made her grip weaker. I don’t notice that, but maybe that’s causing the problem. Dr. J also taught me a better way to tape, which basically involves wrapping your wrist just like a wrist widget, but flexing your wrist down every time you bring the tape around the palm side of your wrist. Then extending it when you bring it around the other side.

      So my ankle – it’s always been slightly crappy because I beat the hell out of it playing college sports, but on the day I got back to sport climbing after my surgery I took a good whipper and landed on a giant hold in the wrong way. I slammed my bones into each other and I guess jacked up my cartilage and bruised my bone (unlucky). Anyways, I finally got it fixed because the cartilage was killing me. Luckily the surgery went great. It was really simple, which is nice in comparison to my wrist surgeries! I can already tell my ankle is soooo much better, and I should be back to climbing pretty soon. Well actually I’m going to climb today, but mostly just campusing!

      • Ali says:

        So did you meet this doctor online and ask him questions? Is there any pictures of videos perhaps on this taping? I want to make sure Im doing in correctly. I tore my tfcc BOTH dorsal and palmar RL ligaments by doing power cleans in the summer of 2009….misdiagnosed for 20 months by dealing with retarded doctors. They could have anchored it back down like they did for you if it was caught within 4 months. Instead they had to reconstruct it. Id send you a picture but basically I have holes in my radius and ulna and a cadaver tendon holding the bones together which act like my “new” RL ligaments. I had my suregry done at the Mayo clinic in Rochester.

      • Ali says:

        I would like to talk to you on phone if your up for that. Might be easier than all this back and forth. I promise you im not creepy or anything 😉 You have my email i think for your blog posting…if you send me an email back I can give you my number. I think it would be cool to talk to another climber about how your dealing with the injury and ways to work around it.

    • erinobrien26 says:

      Man that sounds like a freaking nightmare. Do you have Skype by any chance?

  2. Ali says:

    Hey sorry to bombard you with questions but you’re the only active person that I found with a similar surgery. Curious it you have more non painful “popping” in that joint as well. For me it feels like a snag at times…and again this is only flexion…no noises on rotation. I’m still stiff in that joint with some minor swelling here and there. I also have tightens in my elbow still but nearly as bad before surgery. My wrist was quiet before injury/surgery…now I’m very musical. I must click over 200 times a day now…again it doesn’t really hurt just more annoying. When did you have your last tfcc surgery and has the cracking popping noises lessened for you?

    Thanks!

    • erinobrien26 says:

      No worries. Actually I’ve never met ANYONE who has had their RU ligaments repaired! I’ve talked to a bunch of people who have had other TFCC surgeries, but not the RU ligaments.

      Anyways – I think I had a slightly different surgery than you did. I don’t think I had a cadaver tendon attached, I just had the ligaments reattached to the bone with suture anchors (I think!).

      I can’t remember if it was popping at one point, but I don’t think so. It pops a lot if I push down on my pisiform because it’s still kinda unstable. The only other time it pops is when it feels like something gets “stuck” around my scaphoid bone or around my RU ligaments. However, it hurts quite a bit when that happens – like a really really sharp pinch. Sometimes I feel like I need to pop it, which is when I push down on my pisiform.

      The popping might just be that it’s still swollen, or if it’s still tight your bones might be sliding around a bit. When did you have your surgery? I had my last surgery at the end of October 2010.

      If you don’t mind sharing, how did you tear your ligaments? I’m just curious since apparently it’s pretty rare.

      • Ali says:

        Yes I have a sad tale. This injury has been devasting for me since I was so athletic. I had a DRUJ reconstruction with an irreapable tfcc. My tfcc was compeltely severed off my ulna and I lived that way for 2 years…

        I am 33 years old…Injured at 31. I used to be a professional power lifter and sustained an injury to my wrist July of 2009. I of course got an xray which ruled out any breaks and proceeded to see hand specialists. My MRI was read as a “normal sprain” and the first 2 Drs dismissed my case. Pain proceeded to get worse. Lots of clicking and popping and the ulna stuck out more than the uninjured hand…it also had a lot of movement as well. I used to bench 315lbs and now I was unable to hold my kids. 3rd dr looked at the MRI and said “maybe”. Had a wrist scope Nov 2009. Report came back with no tfcc tear and normal stability of the DRUJ…just some irritation and inflammation. Dr said I should be lifting in 6 weeks. 6 weeks came…10 weeks…12 weeks. Still in a lot of pain. Went back to the surgeon and he “fired” me because I was taking too much of his time and nothing was wrong. I guess after surgery they don’t get paid anymore so they quickly write you off. The words used from him where “how I need to get on with my life, move on, and start using my hand because nothing was wrong with it.” Saw a 4th dr in February 2010 who diagnosed me as CRPS / RSD within 5 mins. This scared the shit out of me after reading about it on line. I went to see an RSD specialist after this. Went through the frightening injections into my neck to shut off my nervous system. If I had no pain it meant I had CRPS. What do you know my hand still hurt! I did the nuroton medication for a bit which made me sick. I quit shortly after. The RSD guy definitely thought there was something orthopedically wrong with me. I quit seeing drs since they weren’t helping and did PT for 8 months. No to little improvement…the wrist actually got worse with a notable clunk on rotation. I spent every evening on the internet trying to self diagnosis myself. I always thought it was a tfcc issue but no one would give me the time of day now that I had 2 strikes against me…”normal” MRI and a “normal” surgery report. By the end of fall I just stopped using my hand entirely. If I did this the pain level would be a 7. I didn’t know what to do. Something was very wrong yet no one was listening. At this point I wanted my hand off so I could move on. I read about a dr that I found on line that was very experienced with the DRUJ joint. I waited 3 months for an appt and flew to see him. THANK GOD I took the initive to do this or I would have remained crippled forever. It was so weird having a dr agree with every word I said and not deemed as “crazy”..

        After examining me he pulled up my Aug 2009 Pre op MRI…literally looked at it for 20 secs and asked me if this was considered a normal MRI. I sighed and said….yes. He said not only is your TFCC torn its completely severed from you ulna. You have no tether in your hand and the clunking is your ulna dislocating and the grinding is your carpals hitting each other….

        I remained calm and said I had a scope Nov 2009 and the dr said my tfcc was intact, stable no tears and a stable DRUJ. There is no way that dr could have performed any of those tests if my tfcc was severed off the ulna and he ruined all chances of me getting help from other drs because now I had a “normal” MRI and a “normal” wrist scope. Wrist scopes are considered 100% accurate for detecting tfcc tears…Even Ray Charles would have seen a severed one. For the last 19 months I have complained of the severe pain, the pronounced ulna, the clicking/clunking and grinding. I would tell the drs my wrist felt disconnected, weak and “hollow” and I would be written off as “arthritis”.

        Due to the 19 month delay of not getting any help and the pain being in my head he had to reconstruct my DRUJ…otherwise known as a foveal dissociation with an unreapairable tfcc. I have the holes in my radius and ulna and a cadaver tendon weave holding them together. I have attached a pic so you can compare…same concept as the wires I would think. I had my surgery done at the Mayo clinic in Rochester by the best surgeon who does these…Dr Berger. I actually lucked out for once.

        I am almost 9 months post op. Im still in mild pain. I think the pain lessened around the 6 month mark. My unla does protrude and will never look normal due to the extra tendon around it

      • Ali says:

        Video of me. Actually this was 2 weeks AFTER injury getting ready for Nationals..

    • erinobrien26 says:

      Hey chick. Again, sorry but WordPress won’t let me reply to your actual comment for some reason. Anyways, sure we can talk. Give me a call this weekend! I’ll email you my phone number.

  3. Ali says:

    Also what kind of stretching are you doing? My Dr gave me side to side, back and forth and the good only gun slinger rotation.

    Maybe Im missing the secret….

    Thanks
    Ali

    • erinobrien26 says:

      Sorry for my slow response – believe it or not I just had ankle surgery a few days ago. Bah. Anyways…I don’t want to do anything to hurt your wrist so I can just tell you what I’m doing and caveat that with – I’m not a doctor so I don’t know if this will hurt or help you!

      I think the most helpful stretch to me is locking my thumbs together and wrapping my pointer and middle fingers around the pinkie finger side of my hand and gently tilting my wrist towards my thumb.

      Also I grab all fingers but my thumb, relax my wrist and pull forward and slightly up. This is to put it in traction and basically re-align everything. Apparently this is something you have to be really careful with because it can be bad for you if you’re too exuberant about it. I found it usually makes the lump on my wrist significantly smaller.

      Finally – this wasn’t given to me by a doctor or PT or anything, but I found it helps – I very, very, very gently twist my wrist forward and backward to loosen up the ligaments directly. Mind you I’m over a year post-op so my ligaments are probably a lot more secured to the bone so this might be a bad idea for you.

      Anyways, I think your supposed to do 3 sets of 10 for all of these exercises. I should do them more often!

  4. Ali says:

    Seriously are you really back to full climbing at your orginal level with no issues? I severed my palmar and dorsal RU ligments. Literally severved my entire TFCC off my ulna. I have a rebuilt TFCC from a cavdaver tendon otherwise knows as a DRUJ reconstruction. I am 9 months post op. Much better but I was basically crippled before. I have alot of snapping and clicking on flextion…nothing on rotation.. It doesnt hurt at all so I assume its scar tissue. Can you please let me know if you experience the same?

    • erinobrien26 says:

      Ali,
      No, I’m not back to climbing 100%, but I’d say I’m back out 90%. There are certain things I can’t do (particularly underclings), which I’ll probably never be able to do. But for the most part I’m pretty good. My wrist gets tight from time to time, but as long as I make sure to stretch it I’m pretty good to go. I’m not a doctor, but I’d suggest you try doing that as it helped me a lot. I’d say all and all, compared to how my wrist was before I hurt it, I’m 80%. It’s still pretty messed up, but it could be a lot worse I suppose.

      But I do have a lot of cracking sometimes. Strangely enough it’s more on the thumb side of my hand. It kinda feels like something pops and I get a sharp pain, but then it goes away.

      Anyways, good luck with everything! Keep me posted.

      • Ali says:

        Holy Moly I have the same cracking on the thumb side that I didn’t have pre op. Can you describe the “tight” feeling you have in your wrist? I still wake up slightly swollen in the joint…creak and crack in the morning….It lessens through the day but doesn’t entirely go away. The ulna side or tfcc side just feels weaker to me but not necessarily painful. Curious did you dr say what the cracking could be…especially on the thumb side? I assume its scar tissue but really can’t get an answer from anyone. I was a solid 5.11 climber before injury. I’d be happy if I got back to 5.9s with mild pain but my main passion is weight lifting. I wear the wrist widget when I workout. …it helps somewhat. I’m pretty active so my hand always seams swollen to me.. Do you experience the same?
        So is your RU ligament really tearing again??????

        Thanks again for replying to me.

        Ali

  5. erinobrien26 says:

    I’m so f’ing weird. Ha!

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