Wednesday, June 15, 2022

How Long Does It Take To Heal A Broken Wrist

Don't Miss

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

Elevation For A Fractured Wrist

A common symptom of a broken wrist is swelling, and how long it takes to go down depends on how soon you take measures to address it. One very effective way of managing swelling is elevation.

If you elevate your wrist to a position higher than your heart, you can help to encourage blood to flow back towards your heart, instead of rushing to the effected area. This reduces swelling on your wrist, reduces pain in the area, and promotes healing.

There are many ways you could elevate your wrist, and these include up on a pillow while sleeping, or sitting on the couch. Slings are also designed to help elevate the position of your wrist while youre moving around.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Hairline Fracture Of The Wrist

Wrist Hairline FractureThe quick answer is the symptoms of hairline fractures of the wrist are pain, swelling, bruising and lack of function of the wrist. Wrist fractures can occur with a fall on an outstretched arm, or a forceful impact such as a car accident. Fractures to the wrist are typically painful at the wrist and can appear to deform the wrist and hand.  There are 2 long bones in the forearm which connect to the wrist and hand.  There are 8 small bones called carpals which work together to connect the forearm to the hand.  A severe fracture in the wrist may involve one of the long bones , or one or more of the 8 carpal bones.  Hairline fractures are also known as stress fractures.  Hairline fractures are also common in the foot, ankle and spine.  Fractures are diagnosed with x-rays and an exam from a physician. 

Wrist Surgery Recovery After Tendon Repair

Doctors sometimes recommend tendon repair for individuals with arthritis or overuse injuries that cause inflammation in the tendons that run along the back of the hand and wrist. 

Similar to carpal tunnel release surgery, tendon repair may be performed either endoscopically or with an open incision to create more space and relieve pressure on the tendons. The tendon usually fully recovers within 12 weeks, and most people can return to their usual activities within 6-8 weeks.5

How Long Can I Expect To Be Off Work After Wrist Surgery

How Long Does It Take to Recover and Heal From a Broken ...

Your return to work depends on your profession and the availability of light duty. Generally, light office work, typing, writing, and using a computer are acceptable even 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. No heavy lifting or forceful gripping with the operative hand is permitted until at least 6 weeks after surgery.

How Can I Manage My Child’s Symptoms

  • Have your child rest as much as possible. Do not let your child play contact sports until the healthcare provider says it is okay.
  • Apply ice on your child’s wrist for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you place it on your child’s skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Elevate your child’s wrist above the level of his or her heart as often as possible. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your child’s wrist on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Take your child to physical therapy as directed. Your child may need physical therapy after his or her wrist has healed and the cast is removed. A physical therapist teaches your child exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

How Is A Broken Wrist Treated

Treatment of a broken wrist aims to put the broken bones back together so that the bone can heal properly and you get normal movement of your wrist back. The treatment you receive depends on how bad the break is. Other factors that affect your treatment include:

  • the type of fracture
  • whether the bones have moved or been displaced
  • whether the bones break through your skin
  • the number of bone fragments from the fracture
  • your job or usual activities.

If you have a minor fracture, you will usually be treated with a cast or splint to hold your bones together and support your wrist while it heals. If you have a more serious fracture, your doctor will try to realign the bones together, either manually using hands or through surgery to insert pins, plates or screws to hold your bones in place.In both cases you will be given painkillers and be advised on the care following treatment. This may involve physiotherapy or hand therapy. 

How Long Will Wrist Surgery Recovery Take

Like with any type of injury, wrist surgery recovery time will vary depending on the type of injury, the type of surgery, and the general health of the individual before the operation. For most people, wrist surgery recovery times range from a few weeks to several months. The bone itself may heal within a month or two, but fully recovering from the surgery or the injury can take 4 to 6 months.1 Consult with your doctor to get a more specific recovery timetable for yourself. 

As a guide, here are some general wrist surgery recovery times:

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.

What Steps Should I Take In Order To Help My Broken Wrist Recovery Time

The first most important step is to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you have broken your wrist. This is important not just to ensure correct healing, but also because some breaks can cause damage to nerves, blood vessels or tendons, all of which require immediate medical intervention. As mentioned, broken wrist treatment depends entirely on the type of break.

Regardless of the type of break, in the time between the accident and when you manage to get medical attention, there are some things you can do to prevent further injury. These can be summarised in the RICE procedure. This means Rest your broken wrist and avoid moving it at all, Ice the area with a cold compress or covered bag of frozen peas, apply Compression to your wrist in the form of a bandage, Elevate your wrist above your heart to reduce swelling. After that your medical professional would take over and proceed with different measures to treat your broken wrist.

Breaks that need repositioning can sometimes lead to surgery to ensure the joint is perfectly realigned. Clean fractures that do not need realigning can usually be treated simply by immobilisation to prevent further injury. Other breaks that are caused by osteoporosis or that damage nerves or tendons will usually require surgery, as well as further treatment or continued surgical intervention.

How Long Is My Broken Wrist Recovery Time

The recovery time for a broken wrist depends on the severity of the break, if surgery was required, or if the break was caused by osteoporosis . The severity of the break is determined by the cause of the break, like heavy impact in a fall, or in sports, and which bones in the joint were damaged. As mentioned, different types of fractures are categorised by the bones that are damaged, and different breaks may require different treatment to heal.

The most common type of broken wrist is called a scaphoid fracture, which can take between 6 and 12 weeks to recover. Common treatment for this type of break is a cast, and surgery is not usually necessary. Another common type is a Colles Fracture. This type of injury can sometimes require repositioning the bones of the wrist under anaesthetic or even through surgery. It is then usually immobilised by surgical pins and a cast while it heals. Broken wrist recovery time after surgery can vary, depending on the success of the operation, possible risks of infection, etc.

Recovery times for any kind of break can be improved through broken wrist physiotherapy, the use of a brace or splint, and through exercises you can do at home. Every persons experience is different, with some reaching full recovery in a matter of months, and others reporting that their broken wrist still hurts after a year. This guide contains more information on the many ways you can help shorten your broken wrist recovery timeline.

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.

Managing Pain During Recovery

Wrist Fracture, Treatments Best Ways to Heal Fast

During recovery, these pain management techniques can be used for patients:

  • Physicians may prescribe a short course of opioid pain medications after a reduction. The prescription period will usually be brief, since opioids can cause troubling side effects and addiction.
  • Patients can use non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen to manage pain and inflammation. NSAIDs may cause mild side effects and should be taken as directed.
  • Ice therapy is a simple, low-risk way to manage pain and inflammation. Icing sessions can be done for 5 to 10 minutes every hour. Patients should avoid placing ice directly onto the skin, which can cause damage.

The Basics About Broken Wrists

Whether you broke your wrist from a slip and fall or had a sporting mishap, the pain of a broken wrist is almost instantly recognizable. Chances are, youll go to the emergency room, where theyll take some X-rays and diagnose you with a broken wrist. Then youre referred to an orthopedic specialist for follow up.

The X-rays show the extent of the damage from your wrist break. There are four bones in the wrist: the ulna, the scaphoid, and two bones of the radius. The radius makes up the long bones in your forearm. The most typical broken wrist injury is a break to the end of the radius.

When Should I Seek Immediate Care

  • Your child’s pain gets worse or does not get better after he or she takes pain medicine.
  • Your child’s cast or splint breaks, gets wet, or is damaged.
  • Your child tells you that his or her hand or fingers feel numb or cold.
  • Your child’s hand or fingers turn white or blue.
  • Your child says that his or her splint or cast feels too tight.
  • Your child’s pain or swelling gets worse after the cast or splint is put on.

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

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.

Physical Therapy For Broken Wrist

Physical therapy for a broken wrist usually begins once the cast is removed about six weeks after the fracture has occurred. You might begin while your cast is still on if you have difficulty moving your fingers. Your therapist might fit you for a removable splint once the cast is off to help protect your wrist between exercise sessions.

Broken Wrist Heres What You Need To Know

A broken wrist can happen to anyone at any age, although aging individuals with thinning bones are most often at risk. Dr John Froelich an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in hand and wrist injuries at Panorama Orthopedics, sees patients for fractures caused by everything from mountain biking and snowboarding to slipping on ice or falling from a ladder. Breaks often occur when people extend a hand backwards or forwards to catch a fall. Theres even an acronym for that FOOSH or falling on an outstretched hand.

An X-ray can usually confirm whether or not your wrist is broken or simply sprained. The most common symptoms of a fracture include severe ongoing pain, swelling near the wrist, tenderness, stiffness, numbness and an inability to move your wrist or thumb. In some cases, the fracture results in an obvious deformity such as a bent wrist. Although there are many different types of fractures, Dr. Froelich says treatment depends upon whether or not the fracture is non-displaced or displaced.


What Is The Treatment For A Distal Radius Fracture

Decisions on how to treat a distal radius fracture may depend on many factors, including:

  • Fracture displacement
  • Comminution
  • Joint involvement
  • Associated ulna fracture and injury to the median nerve
  • Whether it is the dominant hand
  • Your occupation and activity level

In any case, the immediate fracture treatment is the application of a splint for comfort and pain control. If the fracture is displaced, it is reduced before it is placed in a splint. Fracture reduction is performed under local anesthesia, which means only the painful area is numbed.

What Are Cartilage & Ligament Tears Of The Wrist

The wrist is made up of 8 small bones arranged in two rows of four bones each. The proximal row of carpals articulates directly with the bones in the forearm called the radius and ulna. The distal row connects to the long bones in the palm of the hand. Linked together like a chain, the two rows of carpal bones allow the hand to move up , down and from side to side .

Each carpal forms a joint with the bone next to it. Articular cartilage covers the ends of each bone at each joint. Cartilage is the tough slippery white substance that allows bones to glide past one another without damage. Ligaments are strong cord-like structures that connect bone to bone. The ligaments of the wrist not only attach the carpal bones to one another, but they connect the carpals to the radius and ulna, as well as, to the metacarpal bones.

The cartilage and ligaments that unite the proximal wrist are the most prone to injury. The triquetrum , lunate , and scaphoid are the carpal bones of the proximal row. The ligaments connecting these bones are the luno-triquetral ligament and the scapho-lunate ligament . The triangular fibrocartilage complex is made up of the cartilage and ligaments that suspend the proximal carpals in place against the ulna and radius. The triangular fibrocartilage is the cartilage that articulates primarily between the ulna and triquestrum, and the edges of the radius and lunate bones . The TFCC provides stability to the wrist and is a focal point for force.

Broken Wrist How To Recover Faster

tips to heal a broken bone faster

  • July 3, 2017

Depending on the source, the wrist is the 2nd or 3rd most common bone to break in the body. To be more specific, the distal radius is commonly broken with a fall onto an outstretched hand.

Once this happens, treatment can take several different paths. For a simple break the individual may be placed in a splint or cast for a few weeks. Unfortunately more severe or displaced fractures require surgery. Regardless, the average healthy adult bone takes 8-12 weeks to heal. . Once the bone heals, it will be strong again. Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are important for quicker recovery.

Once the doctor deems the bone is healed enough for cast or splint to be removed, is that it? Will you be good to go just like that?

In most instances the answer is DEFINITELY NO. After several weeks with limited movement due to splint or cast, that wrist and hand will be stiff. Many individuals will have some trouble regaining their motion and strength .

It is at this point a person has 2 options: 1) go at it alone or 2) go to therapy for help

Interestingly many doctors advise and patients choose the go at it alone option. Why would anyone really choose this option? Why risk spending more time with a hand/wrist that does not move and function as optimally as possible?

Now with option #2, there may be some discomfort with therapy and there will definitely be some work in a clinic AND AT HOME .

  • July 3, 2017

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:
  • go to the nearest emergency department or call 111 if it is broken badly
  • contact your GP if it is a minor break
  • stop using or avoid moving the injured arm as much as possible
  • apply pressure to stop bleeding using a clean pad or dressing if there is any bleeding
  • ice the injured area using an ice pack wrapped in a clean towel
  • avoid eating and drinking in case you need surgery to fix the broken bone. 

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.

When Shall I Seek Medical Attention

In some cases, scaphoid fracture pain levels wont be very severe, which could result in a person mistaking the fracture for a sprained wrist. This may cause some people to decide not to seek medical attention. Although not every case of scaphoid fracture requires medical care, there can be some cases that, if left untreated, could result in avascular necrosis or a non-union, leading to further complications such as arthritis later in life.

You should consider getting a scaphoid fracture assessment if you notice that the pain in your wrist hasnt receded within a day of the injury. If the pain stays the same, or increases, it could mean that you have fractured your scaphoid bone and may need medical assistance for it to heal properly.

How Are Fractures Of The Wrist Treated

The appropriate treatment of a radius fracture at the wrist level can be very complex. Some general guidelines are as follows:

  • The more the fracture is displaced or bent, the greater the need for surgery
  • The more smashed or shattered the joint is, the greater the need for surgery
  • The younger or more active the patient, the more often surgery is recommended

Will My Wrist Function Normally After Treatment

This depends on many factors. Severity of the fracture is probably the most important one. The worse the fracture is, the more problems youll have with the wrist in the future.

100% normal function is usually not possible , but pain-free function that doesnt limit what you want to do is attainable in most situations.

Full recovery may take several months, and some patients may have some leftover stiffness or aching, especially with weather changes. Most patients with stiffness and limited motion can make dramatic improvements with the help of physical or occupational hand and wrist therapy.

Diagnosing A Fractured Wrist

Your hand surgeon will perform a physical exam and get X-rays to see if a broken bone is present.

Scans like a CT scan or MRI scan might sometimes be necessary to get details on the fracture and other lesions. When the wrist fractures, even ligaments and tendons, as well as muscles and nerves, will get hurt. Doctors will also treat these injuries.

How Long Do Fractures Take To Heal How Long Will I Be In A Cast/brace

Healing of a fracture is influenced by the patients age and underlying health . The pattern of the fracture, the force of the injury and the actual bone that is fractured all determine the speed of healing.

In general, most fractures in adults take approximately 6 weeks to heal. Similar fractures in children may take only 4 or 5 weeks to heal. Some slow healing fractures may take 3 months or even longer to heal.

Casts or braces that are used for fracture treatment are usually used for these same time periods a typical wrist or ankle fracture usually requires 6 weeks of immobilisation and a typical fracture of a finger or toe usually requires 4 weeks of immobilisation.

The use of casts and braces have obvious downsides which start to outweigh the benefits around this time period.

It is important to understand that after the immobilisation time has elapsed and the cast/brace is removed, the fracture is often not COMPLETELY healed, but is healed with enough strength that ongoing immobilisation is not required. As such, when the brace/cast is removed, the bone is usually not at 100% strength this strength returns over the following 3-6 months.

During this time, the injured arm or leg can usually be used for daily activities without issue but return to high impact activities is often not advised.

More articles

Popular Articles