21 January 2013

How to break your wrist - on purpose!

The web is a seemingly unending source of weirdness.  A thread at Reddit today [two years ago] links to a website called "BlurtIt" where ?teens exchange information and ideas.  Here's the top entry under "How To Break Your Wrist" -
Keep hitting it every night and then like do it for two nights and then wake up 1 morn then hit it xtra hard then hit it with a spoon or sumin then tell your mum that ur wrist reli hurts then ask if you can go to the doc he will give you a cast! If you have an x ray there will be sum fracture there! And if you dont get cast tell ur doc that is reli sencitif and that it hurts when you touch it THEN you will get a cast
im doing it right now and this is the second night now so tomoz im going to complain and get a cast YAY!!!

Oh and here are sum things u cud say
u fell and hurt it
u banged it on the table
u jamed it in da door
im using i fell and hurt it

im getting a cast!
I certainly don't understand; it doesn't appear to be a self-harm trend in the usual sense - more of an attention-getting device.  Among the more salient comments in the Reddit thread is this one: "Oh god. I'm never letting my kids ever meet any other kids."  There is also a site called "How To Break Your Bones!"

Addendum:  Reposted from 2010 because this post keeps getting comments, all of which seem to be from preteens or teenagers.   They are obviously not regular readers of the blog; they find the post because it shows up on the first page of a Google search for how to break your wrist.

What should I do about this?  I don't have children of this age and can't get myself into the mindset of a juvenile having problems in school and wanting to break his/her wrist.  I have deleted some comments that I thought were too "instructional" or supportive.

I'd appreciate some adult comments added to the thread, especially from anyone familiar with this phenomenon or knowledgeable re the psychology and sociology of these young people.

Reposted again to bring TYWKIWDBI readers up to date on some of the comments, including a rather sad one last night.  And btw, this post comes up on the front page of a Google search for "how to break your wrist," so keep in mind that any comment you offer may be read by untold numbers of young people.

97 comments:

  1. Maybe he is trying to avoid going to school. He really shouldn't ...

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    1. or he's 5 why would you want to break your wrist

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  2. My mom (a pharmacist) knew a doctor who told of painkiller-addicted patients who would grab their wrist with the opposite hand and break their radius and ulna. Perhaps something to that effect is what this person wants? He seems to be rather intent on getting a cast, though.
    On a sidenote, I will admit that it took me several tries to understand what "sencitif" meant.

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    1. The damn internet these days. I knew right away, is that sad? LOL.

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    2. I just looked at it millions of times, then realised they meant sensitive...

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    3. Are you insane? Who in their right mind would do something like that.

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    4. Im 12 years old and its just a thing, ive got 1000m to run soon so I NEED to so thank you 4 the advice I shall use it :)

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  3. I think these are mostly girls writing the notes, and I agree with your observation re the impending death of the English language.

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  4. I hope none of these kids manage to break a bone. I have broken my wrist twice, *not* on purpose. I am no wimp when it comes to pain, but it is amazing how much it hurts. Not only is it painful, but casts are heavy, uncomfortable, and of course they limit your movement. It is frustrating and humiliating to not be able to do the simple everyday things for yourself. And sometimes there are residual effects, like limited function and pain at random times.

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  5. This "method" of hitting the wrist with a tablespoon again and again was well known to get a leave from military service when it was still compulsory in France.

    But I didn't know it could cause a break of the wrist...

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    1. i am going to try i did a little tonight i did it tell i couldnt feel my wrist it was numb

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  6. Step over here, idiots, I'll break it for you.

    I really can't conjure up any empathy for this kid.

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  7. I'm trying to break my wrist so since friday i've been hitting it evry night and its swolen anda little brused but it dosn't hurt mutch. So im going to keep hitting it until I can moce it at all and then I will go to the doctors/casualty and hopefully I'll have a cast !!! :) yey :)

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  8. i really want to break a bone but i don't know why and is there any other way to do it other than that

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  9. Anon, please seek some help. Seriously.

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  10. how bad does it hurt when you break your wrist

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    1. It hurts Alot

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    2. I broke them both at the same time once. The pain was so bad I nearly blacked out. I've have never even been close to blacking out in my life other then when I broke my wrists, despite having some similar injuries. I also have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but this was horrible. It's not fun, it makes you incapable of doing several normal everyday activities for quite a while, including everything from writing, to opening a can of soda, to opening a door, or even buttoning your own pants. Do you want someone else to have to do that for you? It's not fun, and it's not worth whatever reason you want to do it, trust me.

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    3. In a way I'm glad to see this thread is still alive because it certainly wouldn't have occurred to me that kids might do this kind of thing, for whatever reason. I've known enough desperate kids you'd think I'd be aware, but I guess I resist the reality of it. Have to say, though, the ones who need to see your post about your injury won't even know how to read what you said because they don't read 'high' english. Anyway, thanks to blog host and replies for the information.

      Delete
  11. I Broke Mine By Falling Backwords On It Palm up Yeahhhh It Hurt Buhh DUH Its Goin To Got A Cast Right Now Purple[; Buhh it Hurts Pretty Bad.:P

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  12. jumping off a pool deck and landing on will that break it

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  13. I broke my wrist by these girls at the YMCA hated me and i went swiming at teen night and they came too and they toke my wrist and kind of weaved it in the deeper end steps and they couldnt get it out so they had to break the step and brought me to the ER and they had put a waterproof cast on with purple and they had me in the hospital for 2 days then i went back to get the cast off but i had to get anotherone because they accidentily broke it with the saw they cut it off with and now i have a cast i have to keep on forever because they said it should heal from 5-10 years and im only 12! The girls got arrested and they have to stay in jail for 5 years

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    1. Wow that sounds real! Not.

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    2. Ya know, that is sooo realistic...(sarcasm dripping from my voice...)

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    3. 12 year olds cannot lie well

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    4. Anonymous my I say I feel sorry for you and that those girls should be in prison for 15 years not flipping 5! >:(

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    5. I dislocated my wrist

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    6. Right....... Like anyone would believe that. Listen, if you want to lie, you really gotta work on that

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  14. You are all dumb.

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  15. Keep hitting it with what ?

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  16. I want to break my wrist. But if you hit it doesn't the doctor know what you did? Wouldn't they think you were mental because of the bruises?? Please repond ASAP!

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    1. Why do you want to break your wrist?? I'm not dissing you - just curious.

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    2. Idk really i have just always wanted a cast so i try on porpus but never works yet


      But im trying again right now!

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    3. Wouldn't it be easier (and cheaper) to just put a cast on without breaking your wrist? You should be able to buy the plaster and bandage material from a medical supply site online.

      Here's one for $20 plus shipping at eBay:

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Real-PLASTER-CAST-KIT-Make-Your-Own-ARM-or-WRIST-Cast-/330806446332?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d0599c8fc

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    4. I was going to suggest the same thing. Kids, I can tell you from experience that breaking your wrist is very painful and not as much fun as you think. In fact, you probably won't like having a cast as much as you think. And getting it off will be difficult without the specialized cutting tool that they use in a clinical setting. So do the cast if you like, but please don't try to break your wrist.

      Delete
  17. dude i'm going 2 do this so much.

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  18. Would a handle of a hair brush work?

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  19. Well how long a night do I hit it

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  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  21. I want to break my wrist because a girl in my class thinks she's so tough because she's got a cast and gets to go ten minutes early

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    1. This comment, right here.. Self mutilation in order to fight for attention at the age of, what, twelve? This slice section of social competitiveness for girls at this age, I could not have guessed how bizarre it could be.

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    2. I wanna break my wrist just so i don't have to do p.e LOL ans so people can sign my cast

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  22. It is almost all for attention. With a cast you get special treatment not only from your school but from your peers. Get to miss gym, also some school buildings have elevators which only injured or handicapped children get keys to use. If you have access, everyone wants to be your friend to ride it.
    I have a younger sibling who is constantly trying to one up her 'friends' with outrageous stories and injuries. She'll often play hooky just to make them go "Where is she?" and talk to her to find out the deal. Though now that she has gotten older, they now expect that kind of behavior from her and have begun distancing themselves. When she enacts a panic attack over that, they egg her on to do something harmful.

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  23. I find it difficult to empathize with people engaging in self mutilation. At first I couldn't believe that anyone could do anything like that to themselves. Well, apparently they can. Some say it is to deal with extreme emotions, or perhaps block emotional pain. For others it equates to achievement; in their mind harming themselves proves they are not afraid of pain, they are better then the average person, they are sort of... invincible. Of course, I suspect attention hogging plays a huge part in that. Or it can be to punish someone in their family because they feel neglected. So, basically out of spite.

    I also found it weird that girls do it almost twice as much as boys. I would have never guessed.

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  24. Why on earth would anyone want to do this? My son broke his at 13 and how it was set seemed brutal- two men at the hospital wrenched it back into place with their hands. My son's face went gray and silent tears rolled down.

    I later broke my own wrist in a riding accident and was sick thinking about what was to come and dreaded going to the hospital. Mine involved surgery. Why would any teen want a cast and pins in their bones? A cast makes it difficult to bathe and shampoo one's hair- who wants to go to school looking greasy and horrible? And having the pins pulled out was quite a surprise- the doctor tugged and pulled and it literally felt like the bones were breaking all over again. Only having a baby without pain medication felt worse.

    If school is so dreadful that breaking one's wrist is a delightful diversion, there needs to be someone available to young people who would be willing to listen and help make some changes, hopefully for the better, that do not involve fractures.

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  25. The feeling that your skin is itchy and you cannot reach it would drive me crazy. So having a cast on purpose sounds ridiculous to me (not to mention the long-term effects of a weaker bone structure).

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    1. Places of fracture actually become stronger. That is why they are visible on x-rays decades after the break, there is extra bone built up around the break site.

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    2. No, it's not stronger, just thicker and the cells are not laid down as smoothly as they originally grew. It's like skin scars, they are actually more prone to later breaks, bony over growths (osteophytes) and arthritic conditions and degeneration. That idea that it makes a bone stronger is false.

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    3. It drove me mad when i broke my wrist it was itchy and i had to use a fork im only 12 but why would anyone ever break their wrist on purpose.

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    4. ive broken my tibula and fibula at the same time. for those that dont kow its the two bones on on your shin area. i had to wait a full day with two broken bones. trust me having a cast all the way up to your thigh for three months is not cool at all. especially having to use crutches wich make your palms peel & i was 13, it happened in my soccer game

      Delete
  26. I used to self-harm although I never went as far as to break any bones. I can understand it though - physical pain seems relatively temporary and fixable compared to mental pain. The amount of perceived 'reward' from breaking a bone has to be more than the pain, and I don't think anyone would do that entirely for attention. It's more like being starved of any sort of recognition, you only exist as how people see you and pity feels a lot like validation (although that was not why I self-harmed and reasons and issues will vary among self-harmers). I wish it were not ridiculed to be that lost and alone.

    For anyone considering it: being listened to and getting consideration from people is relatively easy - you just need to ask. please talk to someone about whatever thoughts might be bothering you. there are free helplines in most places, call one if you can.

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    1. Thank you for your insight, anon. Best comment so far.

      Delete
  27. I think that what this kid is trying to do is different from what the more emo cutters are moved to do. The cutters I knew way back when were cutting between the ages of 11 and 15 and were ranging from either a deep state of despair or a compulsion towards the culture of emo.

    From his level of vocabulary and the way in which he spells things, he's obviously not quite 9 or 10 years old, which leads me to believe that he's quite not mature enough for angsting.

    When I was 6-10, getting a cast was the coolest thing ever.

    They come in different colors, everybody wants to sign it -- and if you're lucky enough to break your foot or twist your ankle, you get a pair of crutches.

    I remember being 6 or 7 and wishing so hard I was best friends with this boy who broke his leg because I wanted to take a whack at using his crutches and swinging with them. If I knew of a non-painful way of breaking something to get a cast, I would have done it.

    At the time, you're not thinking about whether or not you might harm yourself permanently, because at that age, everything is regrow-able, easy to heal, you think you're going to live forever.

    Honestly, I don't think it's a sign of a kid being disturbed or living a disturbed life at home or school.

    An attention-getting device? Absolutely!

    I can understand where you're coming from, as a concerned parent. And I guess one thing I can suggest for you is to very intelligently ingrain them of all the cons of wearing a cast:

    * it gets super smelly and showering can be really tedious
    * even mold can grow inside!
    * your arm/leg "shrinks" cuz the muscle atrophies
    * your bones may hurt forever whenever it rains
    * it gets itchy inside a lot, but unlike with mosquito bites where you can itch them right away, you really can't ever quite get to it cuz the cast is too hard. And if you manage to get at it with a pencil or chopstick, sometimes you can make the itching worse.
    * your arm/leg is too heavy to do normal things
    * your arm/leg gets heavy from the cast and so it gets tired easily
    * if it's your arm/wrist, you can't play video games or go on the internet the way you used to (typing w/ one hand or using a controller w/ one hand is frustrating.)

    And so on and so on.

    Just ingrain how uncool and frustrating and annoying it can be, and chances are that they won't be as compelled to go down that route.

    Honestly, I don't think this kid is mentally disturbed or even experiencing severe mental pain.

    Kids are a lot simpler than some think.

    They want something -- they're going to try to get it. And the more ambitious they are, the more likely they will go through extraordinary lengths to succeed.

    It's just that the things that they want, sometimes, disturbs us as adults. Because as adults, we can't make sense as to why someone (adult) would do that to himself.

    That is all.

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    1. That sounds like a pretty good explanation to me, although I still think that kid needs help. Even if she's not disturbed or experiencing painful emotions she is a little illiterate drama queen who would benefit from more parental supervision.

      But that sort of pales in comparison to another post on BlurtIt, because now we're dealing with someone who already experienced all the inconvenience of having a broken wrist and a cast and still feels compelled to do it again:

      "I really want to break my wrist because i broke it in 3rd grade and their is always a constant pain that hurts really bad. I think it will be better if i break it because the cast could heal it more this time. I hope it works and i need to get and MRI soon because in an xray one bone does not show up i heard. If nothing is broken or wrong in my wrist i dont want to look like a fool or stupid when im making a big deal out of it but all i know is that it hurts really bad. Im just a little afraid to do something so does anybody have any ways that is not to painful but will break it?"

      I have to say this one got me a little sencitif :) I should stop reading all this bone breaking weirdness before I irrevocably lose all faith in humanity.

      Delete
    2. Actually, (s)he spells about as well as some college students I've taught...

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  28. my daughter used to fashion a "cast" for herself out of damp paper towels and toilet paper... happy she did that instead of self-harm.

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  29. I have a 17-year-old son, and while he's never expressed a desire to break anything, the attention-seeking hypothesis rings true. My son regularly exaggerates past injuries and tells people that he's broken body parts that may have been sprained or strained in the past. Unfortunately, I can only call him out on the past six years, since he joined our family via adoption from foster care, and his medical history prior to that is not as complete as I'd like.

    All that being said, my son is just a bit of an attention hound for some small circumstances, and I don't believe he would engage in self-harm. There is also a terminology gap I've noticed. He and his friends use the term "broken" (or "broke") rather sloppily in my mind, and apply it to situations where I would use an adjective with less weight.

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  30. What's the best way to break your wrist? I've been trying for aged but it just does nt work! I've tried it with a Hammer but it hurt quite abit so I stopped. Is there a less painful way of breaking a wrist?

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    1. Anything that actually breaks the bone(s) in your wrist is going to hurt like fuck. And for a long time.

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    2. Why Stan, you CAN swear! I nearly gasped aloud =)

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  31. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  32. Why would anyone do this?
    I failed nursing school because I couldn't finish my internship due to a broken ankle...Breaking things is not fun...

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  33. I am doing it at the moment I don't no if it will work but I hope it will



    I am doing it because my friend fell over when we went Ice skating together and done it and I want her to be my best friend but I don't know how so if we both have the same problem it might bring us closer together

    I am also doing it because I have to do a lot of running races and cross country in school and I always come last so I want to get out of it

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  34. To Anon @ 1/20 - 11:34:

    Firstly, you build a lasting friendship by empathy and shared experiences, not by short-term tragedy. The shared experience of ice skating is better than both of you getting injured. Be a friend and ask her to do stuff with you despite her wrist being broken - THAT will gain you a best friend. Breaking your own wrist might backfire anyway, if she thinks that you're doing it to share the spotlight (one that she might not want, at that).

    As for getting out of track... a skit from The Kids in the Hall comes to mind, in which a pair of construction workers are talking about the benefits to be had from worker's compensation (for a jobsite injury). One tells the other a story about a pipe cutter who stuck his hand into the machinery, with dreams of cushy living. He asks the other guy, "And do you know where he was the next day?" The other guy says, "Yeah! Drinking beer on a beach!" The first worker says, "No, he was back at the machine... WORKING IT WITH THE OTHER HAND!"

    So the moral is - you break your wrist and you'll be even slower because you'll have to lug around a couple of pounds of cast. And if you're now thinking, "RIGHT! I'll break my foot!" - don't. I had broken knees throughout middle school and high school and was usually not allowed to participate in any running activities. As much as I hated P.E., I would have given anything after a while to be able to do the stupid runs without the teachers worrying about whether I should jog or not. Being singled out for injury feels important for just so long, then it becomes a huge chore.

    "Having is not as satisfying as wanting: it is not logical, but it is often true."

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    1. If I had a potential friend who wanted to break a bone, just like I had, I would consider them too hopelessly stupid to talk to. It implies that they didn't think I was really in pain, and instead of sympathizing with me, they wanted to one-up me. Sheesh.

      Broken bones are considered some of the worst pain to deal with. Not a game. Anyone who wants attention this badly needs help, not a broken bone.

      Delete
  35. Alright: to anyone looking to break a bone on purpose...

    I have had my fair share of broken bones throughout my life (few fingers, both wrists and a clavicle), mostly due to sport, which I loved playing. I don't regret playing the sports at all, I got a lot of enjoyment and exercise from it, but now I'm 27 and I wish I had not sustained the injuries. I mention my age, as I am still relatively young, but old breaks linger. My right wrist needs a tiny bone to pushed back in every now and then, clicks a hell of a lot while rotating. Plus last year I've took up playing an Irish drum, my playing and learning is being hindered by pain in this old injury. I also got a very bad break on my left clavicle, broke it in three places just over 10 years ago, it is... very annoying living with the aftermath of broken bones. Break your bones on purpose will leave you with nothing but a severe feeling of absolute regret for the rest of your life.

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  36. Munchausen's.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/munchausen-syndrome/DS00965

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    1. I was about to say that! I think I may have Munchausen Syndrome, and I am 13. I have never broken/sprain anything, and there is a unpleasant feeling building up inside me (I don't know what it is) but I feel like the only way I can relieve that feeling, is to get a bad injury...?..?

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  37. It looks like there are tons of vids on Youtube with stupid little girls talking about how to break their wrists and whatnot. Makes one wonder if they are going to survive into adulthood.

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  38. I have broken my left wrist twice, a couple of years apart, and not on purpose. The first time they pulled it into place only once, but the second time they discovered a couple of weeks in that it wasn't aligned right, and the tech had to crush it back into place, literally. The pain was unbelievable. With an above the elbow cast, you can't do anything that requires two hands. You have to ask someone else to help you. It itches and stinks. When they change the cast the dead skin sloughs off in gobs. It is disgusting. You have to wrap it in plastic every time you bathe. Your arm muscles atrophy. You waste a lot of time going back and forth to the clinic. And it still hurts, twelve years later.

    The good thing is that you would have time to learn to spell, since all your other activities will be restricted. It takes an awful lot of force to break your wrist, and it hurts way more than you think, for a lot longer than you imagine. It makes you look like a badass for about five minutes, and then everyone loses interest, including yourself. But the pain and frustration and inconvenience continues. Seriously, if you are curious, read a medical textbook. Or ask someone who has broken their wrist what it is like. If you just need attention, sit down with someone and talk about it.

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  39. I forgot to mention, if bone marrow leaks into your blood, you can have serious complications.

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge-newspaper-2011/may-20a.html

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  40. I guess it's more "important" to bee cool than smart. Sadly I fear in spite of the comments left to try & reason with these youngsters, more than likely they will see us as old fogeys who "can't get with the time". If you want the attention that bad why not try asking your parents to buy you a cast. Or if something is bothering you why not try speaking with your family or friends. If they really love you and care about you I have no doubt they would be willing to hear you out. Would not this be the positive attention you are trying to seek?

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    1. They are seeking the attention of other dumb youngsters. It has nothing to do with their parents or other adults in their families. Of course, buying a cast won't be as good as the real thing. First, they will have to admit to their parents that they are THAT dumb. Second, they know it's all fake. Even if they are not into pain, what if word leaks out? Can you imagine what is going to happen to their image? Not only they are not going to be that cool kid who broke a bone (on purpose). They are going to look like total idiots who got their parents to buy them a cast so they could pretend being cool.

      They want the parents to worry, they want to look like heroes to the other kids, talk about their pain and itch, get their 5 min of fame, etc. None of them has enough brain to realize what they are getting themselves into.

      Delete
  41. I used a brush and a bOttle of Perfume so now when you touch it I scream so I'm going to the dOcs tomOz ty

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  42. I broke my wrist when I was 17, (not on purpose). I broke through the growth plate and suffered nerve damage. 20 years later I still can't make a closed fist and suffer chronic pain. Anyone who tries to do this to themselves is really asking for trouble.

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    1. I broke the growth plate in my ankle when I was 11. I am now 15.

      Delete
  43. Why wrists? Is it for visibility? It seems like it would be easier to break larger bones (and not risk nerve damage to the hand).

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    1. Anonymous, this is not a "how to" thread. This is a "why" thread.

      Delete
  45. I actually am really tempted to break my wrist or another bone this summer, see my friend has managed to get comic con tickets this year and I haven't been able to get the time off work. I believe that breaking a bone would get me a more than sufficient amount of time of work, so unless I find a better alternative the wrist it is.

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  46. people want to do this because they might have personal details to go with the reason, so don't judge people by what they want. Like me for example, i want to break my wrist because i get my period when i have to go on camp.

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  47. i'm gonna try hitting against my bed. I f it doesn't work I might try the potato method but I don't know if that will work. my parents will take me if its bruised enough and if I play it up. by the way I don't know why I want to do this but I like pain and addrenalin and I get a rush at the thought of this

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  48. i'm trying to break my wrist by filling a 440ml bottle with water and wacking it numerous times, I tried hitting against my ladders (bunk bed) and the a hair brush but it didn't work

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  49. I could see recreational casting becoming a fashion trend in the not so distant future, if only for wrists. In my twisted mind, the contrast of soft white liner and rock hard black or other colored shell is extremely cool. There is also the prospect of signings with different wild colored inks as well as a company called Castoo which makes all kinds of awesome and extreme decals for casts. It's not necessarily a masochistic or pain-seeking thing, but more of an attention-seeking or style aesthetics thing. In a lot of ways, the same things which I find awesome about skate shoes or tattoos, for example, are what I find hot about casts. Using crutches unnecessarily is a bit weirder, though.

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  50. ive been trying to break my wrist to show my mom
    that im not invisible .... i wamt her to love me and i try doin chores and stuff to get attention but she doesnt even notice she treats me lika dog imma try doin the 2 night thing hopin it works becuz i can also get outa back spotin for my cheer team so it better work!!!

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  51. how can I break my arm... has anyone ever done this ion purpose successfully??

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  52. Just a suggestion, if you don't want it to hurt as bad, soak it first... supposedly that helps soften the bone & make it less painless...

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    1. Anonymous, do you think that when you soak your arm in water, that the water goes through the skin and muscle and softens the bone???

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    2. My mother used to tell me to go soak my head in the sink when she was annoyed with me, or thought I was being goofy.

      Delete
  53. I rly wanna sprain my wrist so that in not treated like a dog at school :(. #HardLife #HasToBeDone

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  54. hi. When I was younger I always wanted to break a bone to look liker one of the cool kids. Plus people get to sign your cast right? well now im 25 and I chipped a bone in my foot it sucked the pain was horrific. and yet the bone chip was sooo small. Im trying to get a job and someone is using that against me to work. Its stupid considering im only in a boot and can walk without just concerned to move the chip.
    Yep the bone will never heal, it will mend to everything but a bone.
    Last year I cut my hand in 4 places. 4!! my doctor made me wear a partial hard cast and soft cast. IT was HORRIBLE. I was taken out of my job because i apparently needed 2 hands to type. I actually had to have my mom give me a shower.
    Still today I have no feeling in my middle finger. Its been a year, I will never feel normal textures and feelings of anything in my finger again.
    I even had my nose broken surgically. It was bad. Please understand its not worth the pain and suffering you thing its worth, It may look cool but its not!!

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  55. Once uv expirienced the pain u will not do it again believe me I broke mine in a ridind accident

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