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Fractured Wrist: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Dec 4, 2023

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Causes Of Fractured Wrist

Symptoms Of Fractured Wrist

Risk Factors Of Fractured Wrist

Sports-related activities

Diagnosis Of Fractured Wrist

Treatment Of Fractured Wrist

Immobilization

Medications

Therapy

Prevention Of Fractured Wrist

Complications Of Fractured Wrist

Fractured Wrist: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

A fractured wrist is a break or fracture in one or more wrist bones. When someone tries to catch oneself in a fall and lands firmly on an extended hand, they most often injure their wrist.

Your risk of breaking your wrist may be higher if you participate in sports like snowboarding or in-line skating, or if you have osteoporosis, a condition that weakens and thins the bones.

It's important to treat a broken wrist as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it's possible that the bones won't heal in the proper position, which could make it harder for you to carry out regular activities like writing or buttoning clothing. It is also possible to attain less discomfort and stiffness with early therapy.


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Causes Of Fractured Wrist

A broken wrist can happen as a result of:

  • Breaks: Falling into an outstretched hand is one of the most common ways to fracture your wrist.
  • Injuries incurred while participating in sports: Sports like in-line skating and snowboarding that involve contact or the possibility of falling onto an outstretched hand are known to frequently result in wrist fractures.
  • Car crashes: In car crashes, wrist bones can fracture. Occasionally, these fractures result in multiple fractures that require surgical correction.

Also Read: Frozen Shoulder: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Symptoms Of Fractured Wrist

These kinds of symptoms and indicators could point to a broken wrist:

  • Extreme pain that may worsen if you move, grasp, or squeeze your wrist or hand
  • Sensitivity
  • Swelling
  • Bruises
  • Noticeable deformity, like a bend in the wrist

Also Read: Paget Disease Of Bone: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Risk Factors Of Fractured Wrist

You may be more likely to break your wrist if you play certain sports or have osteoporosis, a condition that thins the bones.

Sports-related activities

Playing contact sports or engaging in other activities that increase your risk of falling puts you at greater risk of shattering your wrist bone. As illustrations, think about:

  • Football
  • Soccer, especially on artificial turf
  • Union of Rugby
  • Riding a horse
  • In queue for hockey, snowboarding, sledding and skating
  • Jumping on a trampoline

Also Read: Achilles Tendonitis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Diagnosis Of Fractured Wrist

X-rays and a physical examination of the injured hand are typically used in the diagnosing process for fractured wrists.

Additional imaging examinations

Other imaging tests may occasionally provide your doctor with extra information. They are as follows:

  • CT scan: X-rays may miss wrist fractures, while CT scans can detect them. CT scans can show blood vessel and soft tissue injuries. This method creates cross-sectional slices of the internal architecture of your body by combining X-rays taken from different angles.
  • MRI: MRIs are far more sensitive than X-rays and can pinpoint extremely specific diseases by creating precise images of bone and soft tissues using radio waves and a strong magnet.

Also Read: Hip Dysplasia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Treatment Of Fractured Wrist

If the broken ends of the bone are not perfectly positioned, there may be gaps or overlap between the pieces of broken bone. Repositioning the components, or a decrease, will be necessary for your doctor to do. Depending on how bad your pain and swelling are, you could need a local or general anesthetic before this procedure.

It is important to maintain finger mobility throughout the fracture healing process, regardless of the rehabilitation regimen you select. Ask your physician which movements are the best. If you smoke, give it up. Smoking may prevent or delay bone healing.

Immobilization

Restricting the range of motion in your fractured wrist is crucial to its recovery. To do this, you'll most likely require a cast or splint. You will be instructed to keep your hand as high above your heart as possible in order to minimize pain and swelling.

Medications

To relieve discomfort, your doctor might recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever. If your pain is severe, you might need to take an opioid medication, such as codeine.

While NSAIDs can ease pain, chronic use of them may also inhibit bone healing. Consult your physician to see whether you can use them to treat pain.

If you have an open fracture, which is defined as a wound or break in the skin around the wound site, you will likely be prescribed an antibiotic to prevent the infection from spreading to the bone.

Therapy

After your cast or splint is removed, you should definitely consider physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises to help you regain wrist mobility and loosen up. Even while rehabilitation has its advantages, it could take many months or longer for the body to fully recuperate.

Your surgeon may need to install pins, plates, rods, or screws to hold your bones in place while they heal. A bone graft can be required to aid in the healing process. You might need to make these decisions if you have:

  • Open fractures
  • Those in which the broken bone pieces migrate before they mend
  • Loose bone fragments that could enter a joint
  • Injuries to nearby blood vessels, nerves, or ligaments
  • Joint fractures

Even after being reduced and immobilized with a cast or splint, your bones could still move. As a result, it's probable that your physician will monitor your progress with X-rays. If your bones flex, surgery might be necessary.

In some cases, the surgeon might immobilize your fracture using an external fixation device. This involves inserting two or more pins through the skin and into the bone on either side of the fracture to puncture a metal frame.

Also Read: Ankylosing Spondylitis: Symptoms, Findings, Diagnosis, Treatment, Risk Factors And Complications

Prevention Of Fractured Wrist

It is impossible to prevent the unforeseen events that usually lead to a broken wrist. These guidelines, though, might offer some protection.

Support your skeleton. To grow strong bones:

  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that provides adequate calcium and vitamin D.
  • Take part in regular weightlifting exercises, such as fast walking.
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid falls

Usually, wrists shatter when someone falls forward onto an outstretched hand. To halt this ongoing harm:

  • Wear the proper shoes.
  • Remove any furniture from your home that may be a fall hazard, such as area rugs.
  • Make your house more cheerful.
  • Have a checkup and, if needed, have your eyes fixed.
  • Install grab bars in your bathroom and railings on your stairs.
  • Avoid slick spots, such as ice- or snow-covered pathways.
  • When participating in sports, wear protective gear.

Put on wrist protectors when engaging in high-risk activities like:

  • Skating in a queue
  • Football
  • Rugby
  • Snowboarding

Also Read: Ewing’s Sarcoma: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Complications Of Fractured Wrist

Complications from a broken wrist are rare, however they can include:

  • Continuous pain, rigidity, or inability. Over time, following surgery or cast removal, the wounded part typically loses its pain, stiffness, and discomfort. However, some people are uncomfortable or stiff all their lives. Please allow time for your healing process, and if you require assistance, ask your doctor for recommendations on exercises or a referral to physical or occupational therapy.
  • Bone arthritis: Years may pass after a fracture that affects a joint before arthritis develops. If your wrist starts to hurt or protrude long after a break, see your doctor for an evaluation.
  • Harm to the nerves or blood vessels: An injury to the wrist could affect the adjacent nerves and blood vessels. Seek immediate medical attention if you feel numb or have circulation problems.

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