Wrist Fracture

If you’re suffering from finger pain, hand pain, wrist pain, or any upper extremity injuries, learn how Dr. AJ Julka and JIS Orthopedics can help you get back to living your life without limits. To schedule a consultation, click the button below!

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JIS Orthopedics is your trusted source for orthopedic care in New Albany and St. Clairsville, Ohio. Our experienced surgeons specialize in various orthopedic procedures, including those related to the hand and wrist.

Wrist fractures can be painful and debilitating, and should be treated immediately for optimal recovery. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of wrist fractures, exploring their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. Contact us today to get more help regarding any discomfort you are feeling.

What is a Wrist Fracture?

A wrist fracture is a break to any one of the wrist bones that make up the wrist. This could include the distal radius (one of the two long bones in the forearm), the distal ulnar (the other long bone in the forearm), or the scaphoid (one of the carpal bones near the base of the thumb).

The most common wrist fracture is a distal radius fracture. The fracture can be defined by the way it breaks. The following are some examples of the ways the bone can break and thus cause you pain in your wrist :

  • Colles fracture: The broken fragment of the radius tilts upward.
  • Intra-articular fracture: This type of fracture extends into the wrist joint
  • Extra-articular fracture: This fracture does not extend into the wrist joint.
  • Open fracture: An open fracture is when a fractured bone breaks the skin. These types of fractures carry an additional risk of infection and require emergency medical attention.
  • Comminuted fracture: Comminuted fractures describe when a bone is broken fractures into more than two pieces.

A distal ulna fracture will usually only occur in conjunction with distal radial fractures. Depending on the type of distal ulna fracture, you may or may not require additional treatment.

Causes of Wrist Fractures

Many wrist fractures occur as a result of a fall onto an outstretched hand. A fractured wrist can happen at any age. Risk factors include the type of activity you are involved with and conditions such as osteoporosis.

Young people may fracture their wrists in a high-energy impact, such as while playing contact sports or in automobile accidents. Older people who have osteoporosis may break their wrist from a simple fall.

How Do I Know If I Have Broken My Wrist?

If you have broken your wrist, you will feel immediate pain. You will also experience tenderness, swelling, and bruising. Sometimes the broken bone will be evident as a deformity.

If the median nerve is damaged, you may have some numbness in your fingers. This requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent nerve damage.

How a Wrist Fracture is Diagnosed

To confirm a wrist fracture, a doctor will typically order X-rays of the affected area. X-rays can reveal the extent of the fracture, any displacement between fractured bones, and the number of bone fragments. In complex cases, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may provide more detailed images.

Wrist Fracture Treatment Options

When treating a broken wrist, the primary objective is to realign the fractured bones and prevent them from shifting until they heal. Several treatment options are available, depending on factors like the fracture’s nature, the patient’s age and activity level, and the surgeon’s assessment.

Non-Surgical Treatment

If the broken bones are in a favorable position, a cast or splint may be applied to immobilize the wrist until it heals. In cases where the bones are out of place but can be realigned without surgery, a closed reduction is performed. Following realignment, a splint or cast is placed to maintain alignment.

Patients undergoing non-surgical treatment will have their progress monitored through regular X-rays. If the fracture remains stable and aligned, the cast is typically removed around six weeks after the injury, after which physical therapy may be initiated to restore wrist function and motion.

Surgical Treatment

In cases where closed reduction alone cannot maintain proper alignment, or if the fracture is severe, surgery may be necessary. Surgical procedures involve making an incision near the wrist to access and realign the broken bones, a process known as open reduction.

The choice of fixation method depends on the fracture type:

  • Cast: Rarely used after an open reduction
  • Metal pins: Common in children with growing bones
  • Plate and screws: Most prevalent for distal radius fractures
  • External fixator: Reserved for severe fractures or if other options are unsuitable

In the case of open fractures, immediate surgery is needed to prevent infection. The soft tissues and bone are cleaned thoroughly, and either external or internal fixation methods are employed.

Recovery Timeline

Your recovery time will depend on various factors. These include the bone that was broken, the type of fracture, and even personal factors. Most distal radius fractures will take around three months to heal before you can return to normal activities. Your orthopedic surgeon will give you a specific timeline for recovery along with any guidance needed to ensure its success.

Book Your Appointment

If you suspect a wrist fracture or have any concerns about your wrist injury, seek prompt medical attention. Contact JIS Orthopedics in New Albany and St. Clairsville, OH for expert care from experienced orthopedic surgeons. We can provide you with personalized treatment options and a smooth road to recovery.

Medically reviewed by AJ Julka, MD

Live Without Limits Today!

If you’re suffering from finger pain, hand pain, wrist pain, or any upper extremity injuries, learn how Dr. AJ Julka and JIS Orthopedics can help you get back to living your life without limits. To schedule a consultation, click the button below!


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