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AIMS: The aim of this study was to explore parents' experience of their child's recovery, and their thoughts about their decision to enrol their child in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of surgery versus non-surgical casting for a displaced distal radius fracture. METHODS: A total of 20 parents of children from 13 hospitals participating in the RCT took part in an interview five to 11 months after injury. Interviews were informed by phenomenology and analyzed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Analysis of the findings identified the theme "being recovered", which conveyed: 1) parents' acceptance and belief that their child received the best treatment for them; 2) their memory of the psychological impact of the injury for their child; and 3) their pride in how their child coped with their cast and returned to activities. The process of recovery was underpinned by three elements of experience: accepting the treatment, supporting their child through challenges during recovery, and appreciating their child's resilience. These findings extend our framework that highlights parents' desire to protect their child during early recovery from injury, by making the right decision, worrying about recovery, and comforting their child. CONCLUSION: By one year after injury, parents in both treatment groups considered their child "recovered". They had overcome early concerns about healing, the appearance of the wrist, and coping after cast removal. Greater educational support for families during recovery would enable parents and their child to cope with the uncertainty of recovery, particularly addressing the loss of confidence, worry about reinjury, and the appearance of their wrist.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone Jt Open

Publication Date





426 - 434