Wrist Fracture

Broken Wrist Overview

Human wrist consists of two bones of the forearm known as radius, ulna and eight carpal bones which are small bones in the base of the arm. These bones are connected to each other through ligaments.  In a wrist fracture one or more bones of the wrist break. Broken wrist usually occurs when a person falls on his outstretched hands in an attempt to catch himself. Sporting activities, motor vehicle accidents and osteoporosis which is characterized the decrease in bone mass and density are also major causes for wrist fractures. Fracture of the distal radius, scaphoid fracture,  fracture dislocation of the radio carpal joint, fracture of the ulner styloid, fracture if the radial styloid, are the most common fractures that occur in the wrist.

Wrist Fracture Diagram

How is wrist fracture or broken wrist Classified?

Wrist fractures are generally classified into four categories. In simple fractures only a crack will be there in one or more of the bones. When one or more bones are fractured and overlying skin is also broken or when the fractured bone is protruding through the skin it is a compound fracture. When bones are broken into very small pieces it comes under the category of comminuted. The bones that bent and crack without forming separate pieces comes under the category greenstick.

What are Wrist Fracture Symptoms? 

Broken wrist or Wrist Fracture Symptoms include pain, discoloration, swelling, deformity, inability to move the joint in the natural way etc. Immediate treatment to the fractured bone is very essential. Any delay in providing medical attention may lead to difficulty in healing and aligning of the broken bones.Common symptoms of a wrist fracture includes swelling, tenderness, severe pain, bruising, deformity like a crooked finger or bent writ, numbness in hand, and inability to perform normal functions like holding a pen and combing your hair etc.

What are the non-surgical Treatments for wrist fracture or broken wrist?

Immobilization of the broken parts using splint or cast will be the first thing your doctor may be attempting. This will be followed by over the counter pain relievers like ibuprophen, acetaminophen etc. After removing the splint or cast, physiotherapy will be advised for several months to reduce stiffness and for bringing back normal mobility

What are the Surgical Treatments for wrist fracture or broken wrist?

If you have multiple fractures with damage to ligaments you may require surgical procedures. In surgical procedures screws, rods, plates etc are made use of to keep the broken bones in their proper positions and bone grafts are made where bone parts are missing or are crushed. In some cases, external fixtures will be used which consists of metal frames that can be fixed on either side of the fracture and tightened using the two or more pins.

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