I am writing to give an update on my lack of progress. Basically, my grip strength has returned and I can do heavier deadlifts and gymnastics again. However, my wrist extension has not really improved since I stopped going to rehab in November. This is not surprising, I have been training but not targeting my weakness.
With the price of healthcare in the U.S. I just could not afford rehab and I did not feel like I was doing anything at the clinic I could not do at home. BIG MISTAKE. If you are suffering from this injury stay on a rehabilitation program that sets long term goals with dates. Hopefully you have good insurance or live in a Country with a reasonable healthcare system.
My long term goals are to be able to clean and jerk 250 lbs / 115 kg again. But this is going to require some serious improvement with my wrist extension. I cannot reach a full front rack (elbows in front of the bar) with my right wrist and anything overhead around my body weight feels really unstable with my hand position.
Therefore, I decided to go back to physical therapy (Hand Rehab LTD) and take advantage of New Zealand's healthcare system. I have found a great physio and he has given me two weeks (June 1st) to improve from a 27 degree extension to a 30 degree extension. For some perspective I was at -5 degrees post surgery in September and 25 degrees in November.
We think I can achieve this by using a simple wrist extension mobilization exercise (see below). Basically apply pressure on the scaphoid bone (preferably with help from my wife) and then extend the wrist while keeping the palm flat. It is important to keep the arm straight and lock out the elbow. No cheating! He gave me a foam wedge to increase the angle. For now we will do 3 sets of 7 repetitions daily and see how it goes. It actually hurts a little, more than any of the weightlifting or gymnastics I have been doing. However, I can feel that this is helping me to focus in on the ligament and joint that is holding me back the most.
It is not likely after nearly a year that I will make dramatic progress at this point, but with just a few degree improvement I will increase the stability and load-bearing capacity of the hand. It feels good to have something to work towards again. Check back in two weeks to see if I reached my goal!