Woman With Severely Broken Wrist Proves Picking a Great Doc Is Key to Healing

Snowboarder skiing down mountain.

Shredding down the slopes is lots of fun, just as long as the only thing you’re cutting through is fresh powder. But even experienced snowboarders struggle when the weather turns (and snow turns to ice)—as new nursing student Kenzie T-K., who took a nasty fall that caused a severely broken wrist, found out last winter.

The good news is that Kenzie is healed now because she knew—thanks to multiple recommendations from friends, loved ones, and other medical professionals—where she needed to go to get precise wrist care: Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center.

This is her story.

Kenzie T-K.’s patient story

Hometown: Avon
Age: 28

Hitting the Slopes—Literally

It was abnormally warm that week in February before a big group of my friends, and I went up to Perfect North Slopes to do some snowboarding. Even earlier that Saturday, it had been so sunny that much of the fake snow melted, which meant when it snapped and got cold, that water turned into a sheet of ice. There wasn’t any fluffy snow like they have in Colorado. It was straight-up ice everywhere.

Of course, that didn’t stop us from snowboarding. We’d all fallen down a few times but only got a few bumps and bruises. Nothing serious happened until later in the evening.

I was starting to get the hang of the conditions and feeling more brave, like I was Olympian Shaun White or something. I wasn’t doing any crazy jumps, but I was picking up speed. The ice was bad enough that the last fall really took me out. I formed my right hand into a fist to catch myself as I fell, and it pounded—with a high impact—right into the hard ice. 

It was serious, and I could tell right away.

My Broken Wrist Bone Diagnosis

Luckily, two in our group are med school students, including my best friend. They both came over right away to check on me and—from what they saw—they said they knew it was a fracture.

My hand was really swelling up.

I was experiencing a lot of pain. I knew I had really jacked it up. Making matters worse, I was wearing, like, ten bracelets that night, all without clasps, which made removing them over my injured wrist extra challenging.

I called my dad because I still call my dad in emergencies.

He asked me if I thought I could make it back home so I could get care at the hospital where our family typically gets care, so that’s what we did because I wanted to go to the hospital with my mom. My husband drove us the two hours back, and it was horrible. I remember being in the passenger seat and feeling like I was dying because the pain was so bad.

At the ER, the doctor ordered X-rays and fixed me up temporarily. He let me know early on that he thought I’d need to have surgery to fix the broken bone in my wrist. I was lucky. I got multiple recommendations to go to Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center, and that’s how I became one of Dr. William B. Kleinman’s patients.

Wrist Joint Fracture Consultation Followed by Surgery

Straight away, Dr. Kleinman let me know my first instinct was right that my fracture was terrible because he said my severely broken wrist was shattered so badly that it looked like I had punched a train!

My first appointment was great. When we sat down and talked, I could tell right away that he was not only an accomplished surgeon but a very good teacher. 

I didn’t know then what I know now since starting nursing school. Today, I know it’s tricky to talk to patients because most don’t know the medical terms healthcare professionals use daily. 

At the time of the accident, I didn’t have a medical background like I do now. Without dumbing anything down, Dr. Kleinman described everything—from what happened and how they would fix it to what could possibly go wrong during surgery—that I felt like I understood everything. 

I knew I was in good hands. Dr. Kleinman is obviously brilliant and an esteemed surgeon, but he is also an outstanding communicator. I was super impressed by his ability to help people like me, without medical backgrounds, make sense of complex medical information.

This was my first really major medical emergency. I was so scared. It might sound cheesy, but I have to say it anyway. Dr. Kleinman and the entire IHTSC team made the experience so much better because they treated me like family. I knew from the get-go everyone really cared about me.

X-ray of severely broken wrist and post surgery hand

Healing After Breaking My Wrist Bone

At my post-op follow-up, I was so surprised that Dr. Kleinman was actually there because he’s such a big deal. I thought for sure that he would just have someone else see me. I mean, the week after my appointment, Dr. Kleinman traveled to London to pick up a prestigious award. He’s an important man.

I honestly appreciated that. It showed me that he really cared about me. Dr. Kleinman is such a good teacher and explainer. He helped me make sense of it all, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

My occupational therapy went just as well as my surgery experience. 

I loved OT. In fact, on my last day, I cried because I just loved all of the providers so much. I mainly met with Jenn, who is just incredible. Everyone at IHTSC is incredible. Ask my mom. She had to drive me to all of my therapy appointments because I couldn’t drive yet. She would tell you the same thing. They’re all great.

For instance, there was one time when I thought I was all done with Dr. Kleinman. I had no idea that he had been monitoring my progress in OT, but he was, and he reached out to the therapy team to change some things. And, you know what, those changes he recommended made a big difference. 

Even though Dr. Kleinman had done my surgery (and he had millions of other things to do and tons of other patients to help), he was still thinking about my well-being. I couldn’t believe he was still taking the time to check back on me and make sure I was making progress, all from behind the scenes. That’s just one more example of what makes him the best.

The Top Choice for Severely Broken Wrist Healing

Today, I’m doing well. My injury doesn’t really bother me much at all. My scar is looking so much better now, too. It’s funny, but the only time I notice it is when it’s super cold outside or rainy.

I knew in advance I would probably not get my full range of motion back, but I can basically use my wrist and fingers completely like normal again, and I’m really happy.

I think it’s easy to be intimidated by doctors, especially ones as experienced and knowledgeable as Dr. Kleinman. But he—and everyone else at IHTSC—are so personable that they will make your experience the best it can be.

Dr. Kleinman is more than just an incredible surgeon. He is a very natural teacher. He really prepared me. When you see some doctors, you can feel like you’re a number. I felt special as a patient of Dr. Kleinman’s. I felt really cared for.

I recommend Dr. Kleinman 1000%, without any hesitation. Even though it was a bad accident that brought me to IHTSC, I had such a good experience. Seriously, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I feel really grateful.

Need Specialized Care After a High-Impact Wrist Injury?

You don't always need surgery or occupational therapy when you’ve broken a bone. However, after a high-impact injury, many patients—like Kenzie T-K.—benefit and heal with specialized care from experts who treat patients with complex fractures, like severely broken wrists.

Each patient has different needs. If you’ve experienced a bad break and need a second opinion, see one of our specialists to discuss potential treatments and get the information to help you determine which type of care would be best for helping you heal.

Broken Wrist Surgery Specialists

Since 1972, patients across the Midwest and the U.S. have trusted Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s best-in-class wrist surgeons. 

“Dr. Kleinman is such a great teacher. His taking the time to explain everything made me feel closer to him and trust him. He made me feel really prepared during a scary situation.”—Kenzie T-K., Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center wrist surgery patient

How Do I See a Doctor at IHTSC?

Request an appointment today and take the first step in healing after an accident or other upper extremity injury.

Prefer to schedule by phone? Call us at (317) 751-5904.

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Disclaimer: The materials on this website have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice. You should not act or rely upon any medical information on this website without a physician’s advice. The information contained within this website is not intended to serve as a substitution for a thorough examination from a qualified healthcare provider. The display of this information is not intended to create a health care provider-patient relationship between the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center and you.