One specific problem is called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and it can cause debilitating pain after wrist fractures.
Studies have investigated the use of vitamin C in possibly lowering the chance of developing CRPS after a wrist fracture. Should vitamin C be part of the treatment of wrist fractures?
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome & Wrist FracturesCRPS is a specific condition of chronic pain that can occur in a limb following an injury or surgical procedure. CRPS is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Tenderness to even light touch
- Swelling of skin and soft tissues
- Wasting of muscles; thickening of skin
How Is CRPS Prevented by Taking Vitamin C?Recent studies have found that there may be less of a chance of developing CRPS after a wrist fracture if you take vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is thought to play a role in the prevention of CRPS by destroying oxygen free radicals, a by-product of inflammation seen in healing of soft-tissues. The thought is that these free radicals may cause a secondary soft-tissue injury and lead to the development of CRPS.
Bottom Line: Should I Take Vitamin C After a Wrist Fracture?Fortunately, vitamin C is safe and inexpensive. Higher doses of vitamin C (more than 500mg daily) have not been shown to be more beneficial in preventing CRPS. While there is still a question as to if there are any effects of taking vitamin C on preventing CRPS, it is a safe treatment that may be helpful.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons "Guideline on the Treatment of Distal Radius Fractures" December 5, 2009.
Shah AS, et al. "Use of Oral Vitamin C After Fractures of the Distal Radius" J Hand Surg. November 2009. Vol. 34A. No. 9. Pp. 1736-1738.