How Is A Wrist Fracture Treated
Our treatment decisions are not only based on what the X-ray looks like but on who the fracture happened to, who that person is, explains Dr. Swigart. Factors taken into consideration include whether one or more bones are broken, in one or several places; whether torn ligaments are involved, and whether there are other injuries that require treatment.The good news is, most people with wrist fracture recover fully. According to Dr. Swigart, the range of treatment options for wrist fracture include:
- Wearing a cast or splint, usually for five to six weeks, followed by physical therapy to gain strength and restore range of motion.
- Surgery to fix the break, using pins to hold the bone in place. The pins are usually temporary. After the outpatient surgery, patients wear a cast or splint for several weeks, and then have physical therapy.
- Reconstructive surgery, also an outpatient procedure, uses plates and screws to repair the damaged bone. Patients are required to wear a cast for two to three weeks, and then transition to a removable brace and begin physical therapy.
What Does A Sprained Wrist Look Like
A mildly sprained wrist might be slightly swollen.
In more serious sprains, the swelling can be severe. You may have bruising.
Usually, a wrist pain is caused by physical trauma to the wrist. This typically happens when you fall onto an outstretched hand, an injury known as FOOSH.
You can sprain your wrist if it:
- suddenly twists
- moves in an abnormal position
- bends backward
This often happens during sports that commonly involve falls, such as:
- mountain biking
The injury can also be caused by overuse, which might occur in sports like tennis and boxing.
Wrist sprains can happen to anyone, not just athletes. You can sprain your wrist during accidents like slipping on ice or tripping over an object.
After your injury, apply ice to reduce swelling. Wrap an ice pack with a clean towel, then place it on your wrist for 20 minutes. Repeat two or three times a day.
You can also wrap your wrist with a compression bandage to minimize swelling. Heres how:
The Inner Workings Of Your Wrist
Your wrist is much more complex than it might seem with a quick glance down at your arm. In fact, there are 15 bones in the area from the end of your forearm to your fingertips .
In just your wrist alone there are 8 small carpal bones. Because each of these bones forms joints with the surrounding bones, the wrist can actually be thought of as a series of small joints .
Image by www.mayoclinic.org
Your carpals connect to the metacarpals of your hand and the radius and ulna of your forearm. Your carpal bones are surrounded by a group of stabilizing ligaments that connect carpals to each other and to surrounding bonds of your hand and forearm .
A sprain occurs when one of these ligaments is injured and suffers a partial or complete pair like might happen if you fall on your outstretched hand.
One particular ligament, the scapholunate ligament, is usually involved in those all-too-common FOOSH extension sprains. This ligament connects two carpals your scaphoid and lunate.
Your scaphoid sits just above your radius at the base of your thumb. Your lunate is next to the scaphoid and sits above the ulna, closer toward the center of your wrist .
With their location at the base of the wrist, these two carpals and the ligament that connects them tend to take the brunt of damage during an extension injury.
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Treatment For A Broken Arm Or Wrist
When you get to hospital the affected arm will be placed in a splint to support it and stop any broken bones from moving out of position.
You will also be given painkilling medicines for the pain.
An X-ray is then used to see if there is a break and how bad that break is.
A plaster cast can be used to keep your arm in place until it heals sometimes this may be done a few days later, to allow any swelling to go down first. You may be given a sling to support your arm.
A doctor may try to fit the broken bones back into place with their hands before applying a splint or cast you will be given medicine before this happens so you will not feel any pain. If you had a very bad break surgery may be carried out to fix broken bones back into place.
Before leaving hospital, you’ll be given painkillers to take home and advice on how to look after your cast.
You’ll be asked to attend follow-up appointments to check how your arm or wrist is healing.
How Broken Wrists Heal On Their Own
If your wrist has an uncomplicated break, such as at the end of the radius, it may heal on its own. You just need time and to immobilize your wrist to allow it to heal.;
In these cases, the ER doctor typically resets your broken bone, which can be quite painful. You will likely receive painkillers before they reset the bone.
Some of the treatments we use for a broken wrist include:
- Wearing a plaster cast or splint for about 6 to 8 weeks
- Wearing a splint to hold your wrist in place
- Having regular X-rays to make sure its healing properly
Once your bone sufficiently heals, you may need additional physical therapy to regain your range of motion and restore the former strength in your wrist. Physical therapy generally lasts about six weeks after the bone heals. Although it can initially be uncomfortable, physical therapy provides lasting pain relief.
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What Are The Types Of Hand Fractures
Bones are rigid structures; but not so rigid that they cant bend a little. However, if the force is too great, the bone will develop a fracture and then break. That force determines how bad the fracture is, from a hairline crack to shattering the bone.
Bones can be broken in several different ways. Some of the types of hand fractures that can occur include:
- Comminuted fractures occur when the bone is shattered into three or more pieces under the skin
- Compound fractures are bones that are so broken they stick out of the skin
- Greenstick fractures have a partial break on one side of the bone, which can occur because the rest of the bone can bend to withstand the pressure
- Impacted fractures occur when one bone is broken but it pushes into another bone
- Intra articular fractures of bones of the hand occur when the break extends into the surface of a joint
- Longitudinal fractures run the entire length of the particular bone impacted
- Pathological fractures occur when the bones are weakened by an underlying condition that results in the fracture, like osteoporosis
- Spiral fractures indicate at least one part of the bone has been twisted
- Stable fractures are when the two broken parts of the bones line up and are barely out of place
- Stress fractures are common in athletes whose repeated pressure on their bones cause it to simply give way
You can also have a fracture dislocation when the hand is broken but a joint is also dislocated.
Looking For A Hand Surgeon For Your Wrist Injury
If you have a wrist injury, theres no need to remain in pain any longer a hand surgeon really makes all the difference. With the right expertise, diagnosis, and treatment you can get back to doing the things you enjoy quicker.
Dont spend another minute wondering if a hand surgeon is right for you, make an appointment today by calling 393-4263 or by scheduling online. At your appointment, I, Dr. Vella, will answer any questions you have and help guide you through the treatment of your wrist injury.
Together, well create a tailored approach for your specific needs that gets your wrist healed and most of all, pain-free.
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What Makes Yale Medicine’s Approach To Treating Wrist Fracture Unique
Treatment of wrist fracture can be quite complex. Dr. Swigart believes that patients benefit when treated by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand surgery and performs many wrist fracture repair procedures.
There are a variety of ways to fix a distal radius fracture, including several different types of implants, explains Dr. Swigart. And while some types of implants are used often, others are only employed rarely. Its important to work with a doctor who knows about and is able to use all of them, she adds.
Also of value, Dr. Swigart says, is Yale Medicines involvement in clinical research, which often gives patients access to leading edge techniques and therapies well before they become widely available. For example, she says: My work includes both clinical and biomechanical research on treating wrist fracture, and our department has been consistently involved. Being involved in the research brings insights into why things work and which things work best.
What Should I Do When I Get Home
Your skin is going to be very sensitive for the next few days, so youll need to treat it gently. You may be tempted to scrub or scratch all the dead skin off your limb the moment you get home. Instead of rubbing, scrubbing, or scratching your skin, gently wash it with mild soap and warm water using a soft cloth or gauze pads.
If you had an open wound when your limb was broken or fractured, your skin may have scabs on it. Scratching the scabs could damage the skin and lead to an infection, so resist the urge! If theres still an open wound, follow your doctors instructions on how to take care of it.
If your limb was in a cast for 3 weeks or more, soak your skin in warm water for 20 minutes twice a day for the first few days after the cast is removed. Gently rub your skin dry with a soft towel. The key word here is gently. Rubbing the skin too hard can damage the new skin.
Support your limb as it continues to heal. After the support the cast used to provide is gone, people often notice a limb feels stiff or sore, or is swollen. Move gradually back into using it. Start with small, easy movements and work your way up to using the limb fully.
Put on lotion after you clean the area where the cast was. This will keep your skin soft, speed healing, and help stop itching. Choose a fragrance-free lotion because perfumes can irritate skin thats delicate or sensitive from being in a cast. Lotions made with cocoa butter work well.
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How Long Will It Take To Recover
Recovery time for a fractured wrist will vary from situation to situation. Factors such as whether or not the fracture is displaced or stabilized, your age and health, and the presence of other injuries all come into consideration when trying to estimate how long it will take to recover from a wrist fracture.
Typically, a splint will be used for the first few days until the swelling goes down. About a week later, a cast will then be applied.
A cast might be needed for six to eight weeks, and sometimes even longer depending on the severity of the break. More severe breaks may take as long as six months to fully heal.
Discomfort or pain may continue for months or even years after your injury. Returning to work or regular activity too soon can aggravate your injury and prolong the healing process further. A second cast may be applied should the first one become loose over time as well.
Besides a splint or cast, fractures can also be fixed surgically via screws, pins, plates and other devices that hold the bone in place so that it can properly heal. Therefore, it can take months of x-rays and doctors checkups before you can be sure your wrist is back to normal.
As you recover, it is crucial for you to keep your fingers active so that they wont get stiff. Hand therapy is a great option in terms of maintaining function and strength in your fingers.
What You Need To Know
- Distal radius fractures are one of the most common types of bone fractures. They occur at the end of the radius bone near the wrist.
- Depending on the angle of the break, distal radius fractures can be classified into two types: Colles or Smith.
- Falls are the main cause of distal radius fractures. They may also occur during trauma from a vehicle accident or sports injury.
- Treatment varies but may include a sling or cast and sometimes surgery in the case of an unstable or displaced fracture.
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Types Of Wrist Fractures
The type of fracture plays a role in the doctors interpretation of the injury and decision making about the best way to treat the fracture. Wrist fractures can be classified a few different ways based on the location and type of break:
- Intra-articular vs. extra-articular An intra-articular fracture extends into the wrist joint, while an extra-articular fracture doesnt extend into the wrist joint.
- Displaced vs. nondisplaced Displaced fractures are when the bones have moved out of place and no longer line up straight. Nondisplaced fractures can be stable as the bones havent moved out of place.
- Comminuted In this type of injury, the bone is broken in several places.
- Compound This is now called an open fracture and is when there is a break or opening in the skin near the site of injury.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Broken Arm Or Wrist
In most cases it takes around 6 to 8 weeks to recover from a broken arm or wrist. It can take longer if your arm or wrist was severely damaged.
You will need to wear your plaster cast until the broken bone heals. The skin under the cast may be itchy for a few days but this should pass.
The hospital will give you an advice sheet on exercises you should do every day to help speed up your recovery.
Your arm or wrist may be stiff and weak after the cast is removed. A physiotherapist can help with these problems, although sometimes they can last several months or more.
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How Does A Colles Fracture Occur
4.6/5Collesfracture occursCollesfracturein-depth answer
Symptoms of a Colles FractureA variety of symptoms may be present with a Colles fracture. Tenderness, pain and swelling of the wrist is common. The wrist may have a bent or deformed appearance and there may be bruising at the affected area. Gripping or holding objects is often difficult.
One may also ask, what bones are broken in a Colles fracture? A Colles‘ fracture — or distal radius fracture — is often called a ”broken wrist.” Technically, it’s a break in the larger of the two bones in your forearm. The bone breaks on the lower end, close to where it connects to the bones of the hand on the thumb side of the wrist.
Thereof, what is Collis fracture?
A Colles‘ fracture is a type of fracture of the distal forearm in which the broken end of the radius is bent backwards. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, deformity, and bruising. The tip of the ulna may also be broken. Treatment may include casting or surgery.
How long does it take to recover from Colles fracture?
about 6 weeks
When To See A Hand Surgeon
If you have any suspicions that you may have a fracture, its best to make an appointment with your hand surgeon within a few days. This is because the best way to know if you have a fracture is by getting an x-ray. While urgent care can x-ray and splint your fracture, they can miss the subtler injuries which may delay care. Youll get all the answers you need by seeing a specialist sooner rather than later to avoid further complications.
Heres how to handle seeing a hand surgeon when you suspect a wrist fracture:
- If your wrist is deformed, bruising is present, its severely swollen, or if pain prevents you from moving your wrist normally in any direction its time to see a hand surgeon.
- For milder injuries, call your doctor if your wrist symptoms dont improve within two to three days after your injury.
- See a hand surgeon immediately if you have numbness or trouble moving your fingers.
- You need to go to the ER right away if you have an open fracture .
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Possible Complications Of Distal Radius Fractures
As with all procedures to treat an injury, there are some potential complications that can occur. The chances for the following complications vary based on the condition of the patient and the treatment approach used. Patients should ask their physicians for specific information about their own risk for certain complications.
Possible complications of a distal radius fracture can include, but are not limited to:
- Malunion of the bone and continued deformity
- Residual pain and stiffness
What Are The Symptoms Of A Broken Wrist
Common symptoms of a broken wrist include:
- severe pain in your wrist
- swollen wrist
- a bruise around your wrist
- tingling or numbness of your hands or fingers
- difficulty moving your hands and fingers
- your wrist appears odd in shape.
|If you think you or someone you care for has a broken wrist, you should:|
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