Wrist Fractures

What is it?

The wrist bone is formed from 2 forearm (namely ulna and radius) bones and 8 small bones, which form small joints together, which help in the straightening, bending, rotating of the wrists. The bones are supported by ligaments and the ends of the bones are lined with smooth cartilage covering.

Causes:

  • Excess strain
  • Fall off a ladder/ roof
  • Slipping down
  • Accidents
  • Osteoporisis increases the risk of fractures due to brittleness of bones

Classification of wrist fractures:

As with fractures elsewhere in the body, wrist fractures can be:

  • Simple fracture: Regular fracture where bone is slightly cracked but not broken into parts
  • Complete fractures: Bone broken into two or more parts.
  • Compound fracture: Bone has broken and the skin is broken or the broken bone is protruding out of the skin.
  • Greenstick (incomplete) fracture: Occurs mostly in children wherein the bone is only bent or cracked.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of a broken wrist can include:

  • Swelling in the wrist
  • Tenderness on the outside of the wrist
  • Bruising
  • Pain while flexing the wrist
  • Abnormally crooked or bent looking wrist

Symptoms that require immediate consultation:

  • Unbearable pain
  • Numbness and paleness in wrists, fingers or arm.

Diagnosis:

  • Physical Examination
  • X-rays are needed
  • CT scan

Treatment:

  • Resetting the wrist using anesthetia if it cannot be healed
  • Painkillers
  • Splint is used till swelling reduces and thereafter cast is used for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • The cast may need to be replaced if it loosens
  • Regular X- rays are used to check the progress