What is a wrist fracture?
A Wrist Fracture is a break in the bones of the wrist and can represent a number of different types of fractures depending on the break.
Fractures of the wrist are among the most common injuries and account for up to one-sixth of all fractures seen in emergency rooms.
The most common age groups for wrist fractures are children aged six to ten years and post menopausal women.
Symptoms of a Wrist Fracture:
- Severe pain, swelling, and possibly deformity of the injured wrist.
Causes of a Wrist Fracture:
- A strong force as that occurring in contact sports.
- Reaching to break a fall.
A wrist fracture is diagnosed after a review of the symptoms and physical examination of the wrist. An X-ray may be required in order to confirm the presence of a fracture and determine the severity of the injury.
The severity of a fracture can vary and imaging will determine how stable an existing fracture may be, as well as identify any other soft tissue damage that may exist. Fractures that break through the skin are called open or compound fractures. Fractures that shatter the bone into many small pieces is a comminuted fracture. Severity of the fracture will determine the type of treatment required.
- Casting alone if the bone is in a good position.
- Manipulation, or "reduction" (better aligning the broken bone), along with casting.
- Manipulation with placement of pins.
- Manipulation with external fixator.
- Manipulation with internal plates and screws.
Generally, patients will undergo a period of rehabilitation following cast removal and can begin returning to normal activities after six weeks. Severe fractures may require additional therapy and rehabilitation.
Wrist fractures are generally the result of an accident, though some safeguards, such as wrist guards, can be taken by those involved in high risk activities.
A healthy diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D, along with a multivitamin supplement are essential for optimal bone health.