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What is a fractured wrist?

The wrist is made up of 8 small bones that connect with 2 long bones of the forearm to form your joint. A break in any of these bones results in a fractured wrist. A fracture can be painful, depending on its extent and the cause of the injury.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

  • The signs of a fractured wrist are similar to the conventional signs of a fracture.
  • You will have pain, which worsens if you try to move the wrist even slightly.
  • The pain may also be accompanied by a swelling of the area and bruising.
  • If the fracture causes exposure of the underlying tissues, there is a possibility of an infection.
  • The wrist or even the thumb appears deformed in some cases when a bone breaks.
  • In addition to pain, a person will develop an uncomfortable tingling sensation or numbness in the hand.
  • If the bone moves out of its place, it is called a displaced fracture.

What are the main causes?

  • A wrist fracture is often the result of a fall. When a person falls in a manner where there is trauma is to the wrist or the body’s weight is exerted onto it, the bones are likely to fracture.
  • Being hit on the wrist with a heavy object or having something heavy fall on the wrist can also cause a fracture.
  • Certain movements in sports can also cause wrist bones to break.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

  • A physical examination will reveal swelling and bruising. The doctor will obtain an x-ray of the wrist.

If it is suspected that the bone has fractured into several fragments, a CT scan or MRI is required. The treatment for fracture depends on the bones involved, the severity and whether it is a displaced or a non-displaced fracture.

  • The physician will give some painkillers to reduce the pain and antibiotics if there is an infection.
  • A splint or a cast holds the bones in place and stabilises them. This is effective for non-displaced fractures.
  • Sometimes, plates and screws are needed to fix bones in the original place. This is a surgical method to treat displaced fractures.
  • Wrist exercises and physiotherapy, as advised by the doctor, can also help.
  • Most fractures heal without major complications in about 8 weeks. However, complete recovery can take up to a few months.
  1. Medicines for Fractured Wrist

References

  1. Obert L et al. High-energy injuries of the wrist.. Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2016 Feb;102(1 Suppl):S81-93. PMID: 26782706
  2. Hanel, Jones, Trumble. Wrist fractures.. Orthop Clin North Am. 2002 Jan;33(1):35-57, vii. PMID: 11832312
  3. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Bone fractures
  4. Hsu H, Nallamothu SV. Wrist Fracture. Wrist Fracture. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Colles wrist fracture - aftercare
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