Back in the saddle after wrist surgery

Donna Marsh, 65, of Orland Park, had no idea that life would bring her a new passion at age 59.

A former office coordinator and massage therapist, Marsh recalls going along to horseback riding lessons with her grandniece. “I have no idea what happened, but she eventually stopped taking lessons and I picked them up instead and kept going,” she explains.

Being at the horse barn in nearby Tinley Park is her daily devotion now. In a typical week, Marsh rides five to six days and volunteers to care for the resident horses every day. Several years ago, she fell in love with a blonde horse named Butterscotch and declares it a ‘match made in heaven.’ She purchased Butterscotch and they now compete in a variety of equestrian areas, including jumping, barrel racing, pole bending, and synchronized riding on a ladies’ drill team.

The fall

Recently, while riding English style and practicing a jump with Butterscotch, she fell off after completing a clean jump, landing directly on her wrists. “I felt pain right away and I could see a bone sticking out,” she says.

She went immediately to a local emergency department where they performed an x-ray. Imaging showed that she had sustained a displaced fracture of the radius bone in her wrist and was referred to hand, wrist, and elbow surgeon Dr. Nitin Goyal of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush who practices in Joliet. She liked what learned about him and reached out immediately to his office staff. They arranged for an appointment with Dr. Goyal the following day.

“When I met Dr. Goyal, he was very responsive and really seemed to care about me and my situation,” Marsh says.


“Ms. Marsh had sustained a distal radius fracture, a common injury typically caused by a fall onto an outstretched hand,” Dr. Goyal explains. “Her fracture was displaced, and we needed to perform surgery to put the fracture into a better position and stabilize it with a plate and screws.”

Marsh agreed and the following day, Dr. Goyal performed successful surgery on her wrist.

Following surgery, Dr. Goyal prescribed an occupational therapy regimen to get Marsh’s wrist back in shape to return to riding her beloved Butterscotch and perform everyday activities. Marsh enjoyed her sessions with occupational therapist Rhonda Owens, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, Orland Park, and she shared photos of riding Butterscotch with Rhonda.  “Rhonda could see why I was so motivated to heal,” Marsh explains.

Riding again

After some additional therapy at home and a short time in a wrist splint, Marsh was back in the saddle with Butterscotch just 10 weeks post-surgery. Today, she is riding regularly and preparing to begin competing again.

“I couldn’t be any happier with my outcome.”- Donna Marsh, 65

“I couldn’t be any happier with my outcome,” Marsh says. “However, I have said farewell to riding English after my fall, but I am all-in riding Western as long as I can!”

To schedule an appointment to discuss your hand, wrist, or elbow condition or pain, please contact Dr. Nitin Goyal at 877-MD-BONES or click here.