What Makes Yale Medicines 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.
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.
Which Bones Are At Risk
Responsible for providing support for the pelvis and holding it in place. The coccyx or tailbone can be damaged by falling from the stairs or a ladder. People seldom have tailbone fractures since the large mass of Gluteus Maximus tissues protect the tailbone. Notably, more women have tailbone issues than men due to their menstrual periods. Yet, men are also prone to tailbone problems due to physical exhausting from sports and other dangerous activities.
The rib, which holds as the cage for the chest, can quickly get the infection through open fractures. Sternum broken bones are common for vehicular accidents through seatbelt malfunctions and crushing from high impact sports. People with osteoporosis, menopausal women, and steroid users are more susceptible to having a broken chest.
- Legs, Hands, And Feet
The difference of injury on a persons legs, hands, and feet are all connected to the many joints and fragments in the persons skeletal system. People always use these three body parts daily and are prone to break from a fall or accident. It is more painful to have little injuries in this area as it may lead to bone loss.
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How Do I Know If My Broken Bone Is Healed
August 28, 2010 by Dr. Henley
a healing metacarpal fracture
My patients often ask, Is my fracture healing?. How does your doctor decide whether your fracture is healed or not? This article will help you learn how fracture healing takes place and how to tell if your fractured bone is healed.
When a bone breaks, it bleeds. Your bones contain thousands of blood vessels that supply the cells inside. Clotted blood pools into a glob that surrounds the broken ends of the bone.
That clotted blood is good and normal the cells and proteins inside it provide a type of scaffold that allows bone cells to know where to grow.
The bone cells form strands of new bone that interlink and grow into a solid mass of bone across and around the fracture site. This process of going from clotted blood to solid bone takes about six weeks in most situations.
As the bone heals, the pain from the fracture will decrease and become less painful. When you touch the fractured area, the pain will lessen as the fracture gets more solid.
So, one way to tell if the broken bone is healed is for the doctor to examine you if the bone doesnt hurt when he touches it, and its been about six weeks since you broke it, the bone is most likely healed.
So, a broken bone is healed after the bone stops hurting and there is some evidence of new bone formation on x-rays taken in the doctors office.
What’s The Treatment For A Wrist Sprain
While they can bench you for a while, the good news is that minor-to-moderate wrist sprains should heal on their own. They just need a little time. To speed the healing, you can:
- Rest your wrist for at least 48 hours.
- Ice your wrist to reduce pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every three to four hours for two to three days, or until the pain is gone.
- Compress the wrist with a bandage.
- Elevate your wrist above your heart, on a pillow or the back of a chair. as often as you can.
- Take anti-inflammatory painkillers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with pain and swelling. However, these drugs can have side effects, like an increased risk of bleeding and ulcers. They should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise.
- Use a cast or splint to keep your wrist immobile. This should only be for a short time, until you see the doctor. Then follow the doctors advice about whether or not to continue using a splint. Using a splint for too long can result in more stiffness and muscle weakness in some cases.
- Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them. It is best if you see a physical or occupational therapist to guide a program specific to your condition.
More severe Grade III wrist sprains, in which the ligament is snapped, may require surgery to repair.
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Broken Wrist Vs Sprained Wrist
A sprained wrist happens when a ligament in the wrist becomes injured. Ligaments are bands of connected tissue that stretch from bone to bone. Wrist sprains usually involve an overstretched or torn ligament.
A broken wrist happens when you fracture a bone in the wrist. The wrist is made up of 13 different bones that can break during an injury. Even the smallest of fractures can cause considerable pain.
What Is A Wrist Fracture
Wrist fractures are the most commonly broken bones in the arm. Fractures of the wrist may involve several different bones including the radius and ulna the two bones of the forearm as well as the scaphoid, lunate and triquetrum three smaller carpal bones in the hand.
The most common wrist fracture is a distal radius fracture, when the radius is fractured on the distal end, near the wrist. This often occurs when a child falls on an outstretched hand that is extended backward.
The type of wrist fracture you child sustains will determine its severity, recommended treatment, and how long it will take your child to recover.
Fractures may be described in several different ways:
- Simple fracture : A bone breaks into two pieces but does not break the skin or damage surrounding tissue.
- Complex fracture : A bone is broken into several fragments, soft tissues are damaged, and at least part of the bone protrudes through the skin.
- Complete fracture : A bone is separated into two or more pieces.
- Partial fracture : A bone is cracked but not broken in two, such as a hairline fracture.
- Intra-articular fracture: A fracture that crosses the surface of a joint and results in some cartilage damage.
- Extra-articular fracture: A fracture that does not extend into the joint.
- Physeal fracture: Childhood fracture that involves the growth plate of a bone.
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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.
Less Common Symptoms Of Wrist Sprains
The less common symptoms of wrist sprains may include:
- Bruising. A bruise, also known as contusion, may form on the skin over the wrist due to rupture of blood vessels under the skin and leaking of blood into the tissue spaces. A change in color of the skin varying from red, black, or blue may occur due to bruising. Sometimes, bruising may extend to the fingers.
- Warmth. A feeling of warmth over the sprained wrist may be present due to increased blood flow to the area.
- Numbness. Numbness in one or more fingers may be experienced in cases where a wrist bone dislocates and presses on one or more nerves in the wrist.
- Feeling of tearing. In some moderate to severe wrist sprains, popping or tearing may be felt at the time of injury. The tearing feeling may also occur during wrist movements.
- Feeling of instability. Instability refers to a consistent click or clunk when moving the wrist. It can feel like the bones are shifting position and may be uncomfortable.
It is also possible for bone fractures, tendon damage, and/or nerve injuries to occur along with wrist sprains. A careful evaluation by a medical professional can help diagnose and treat wrist injuries.
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Wrist Sprain Vs Broken Wrist
We use our hands for so much throughout the day that wrist pain can be very debilitating. The most common cause of wrist injuries is falling onto an outstretched hand. This may cause the wrist ligaments or bones to become damaged. Some wrist injuries are classified as wrist sprains while others are considered a broken wrist. Understanding the difference will help you get the correct treatment from your Jacksonville orthopedic specialist. Contact our hand and wrist specialists to take advantage of their specialized knowledge and training in this area.
How Long Does It Take To Heal A Wrist Fracture
Fractures usually take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. Hairline fractures may heal faster depending on the severity. Some types of fractures are more delicate and may require continued care. A fracture of the Scaphoid bone in the wrist is one that can cause complications. The Scaphoid is one of the 8 carpal bones which is closest to the thumb. It is unique because of its blood supply. Compromise of the artery which feeds the Scaphoid can lead to healing problems and may pose a medical emergency.
If you would like to learn more about fractures of the arm, please go to: Hairline fractures of the arm.JOI Fracture and Acute Injury Care
JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP fracture and injury care. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care. Make an appointment by calling JOI-2000. JOI has specially trained hand orthopedic surgeons at all of our 5 area physician offices.
If you have wrist pain or are concerned about a hairline wrist fracture, JOI can help! Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute has the fields top hand/ upper extremity surgeons and microvascular specialists. We also provide the latest technology in casting, splinting, and treatment. Come See Us!
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Orthopedic Hand And Wrist Care In North Dakota
At The Bone & Joint Center, our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons are skilled in the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of common and complex conditions affecting the hand and wrist.
To find out more information about the orthopedic hand and wrist issues we treat, visit us today. You can make an appointment by calling 946-7400 / 900-8650. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!
How To Tell If Your Wrist Is Broken Or Sprained
Your wrist is one of the most important parts of your body, as it helps you do numerous everyday tasks, from holding something light like a pen to something heavy like a 100-pound weight, your wrist is something you dont want to injure. However, accidents do happen so here is how to tell if your wrist is broken or sprained.
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Treatment For A Broken Wrist
If you believe youve sprained your wrist, you should treat it with ice, stabilize it with a brace or splint, and keep it elevated. Nevertheless, if youre concerned that you may have fractured it or the pain and swelling intensifies, apply ice, and then see a hand specialist as soon as possible.
Many wrist fractures do not require surgery, and can adequately treated in a cast or brace. Sometimes it does require the bones to be set or put back in alignment. Open surgery is usually reserved for fractures with significant displacement, or recurrent displacement after attempted reduction and immobilization.
Signs Of A Wrist Fracture
The wrist is a part of the body that is injured frequently, and these injuries may result in pain, a sprained wrist or even a wrist fracture. A wrist fracture is a medical term for a broken wrist, which means youve broken one or more of the many bones in your wrist. There are eight wrist bones which are connected to the forearm bones called the radius and the ulna. The radius is the most common bone to break in the wrist. This injury typically happens from falling on an outstretched hand, but it can also result from traumatic events such as a car accident.
Wrist fractures can range in severity. You may have a non-displaced break, which means the bones did not move out of place. Or, your break may be displaced in which the bones need to be put back into place. In some fractures, the bone can shatter into multiple pieces . Some patients have also suffered from an open fracture, which is when a fragment of bone is forced out through the skin.
Sometimes, its not always clear if youre suffering from an actual wrist fracture. Here are five signs that you may have broken your wrist:
Signs Of A Broken Wrist
While you will have pain in your wrist regardless of if its broken or sprained, you will have significantly more pain if you break your wrist.
Some of the signs of a broken wrist include:
- Tenderness to touch
You might also experience tingling in your fingers.
Another sign to consider is if you are completely unable to move your wrist either because you have so much pain or because of the swelling.
Symptoms Of Broken & Sprained Wrists
Usually in that case, if the pain subsides over the next few days, it’s typically considered a wrist fracture. But if the pain is not getting better and persists and the swelling gets worse, difficult use to the hand, etc., many times an X-ray is warranted to determine if it is a wrist fracture or not.
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How Do I Know If I Need Wrist Fracture Surgery
The following factors are considered by your doctor when assessing if wrist fracture surgery is necessary. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then your doctor will most likely recommend surgery.
- Are the bones shifted out of position?
- Are the bones fragmented and unstable?
- Is the wrist joint, as a whole, affected by the injury?
How Do You Know If You Fractured Your Wrist
If you fell on your wrist or got injured during recreational sports, you may have a broken wrist. This injury involves a fracture or crack in one or more of the bones in your wrist. This type of injury is quite common among children and adults alike. It can happen when you try to break your fall when skateboarding, rollerblading, riding a horse, etc. Its happened to people during home construction or home renovation projects. People who play contact sports or engage in high-intensity sports like skiing, rock climbing, and mountain biking are also at risk for wrist fractures, although anyone can experience it.
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Signs And Symptoms Of A Wrist Fracture
A wrist fracture is essentially the same thing as a broken wrist, and lets face it, if you break your wrist, its probably going to result in plenty of pain. Depending on the severity of the break, various treatments may be recommended, but how do you know if its a fracture and not just a sprain?
Wrist Fracture Or Sprain
You tripped and fell and landed on a hard surface with your arms outstretched. Nothing feels broken, but you do feel some pain in the wrist area: How can you tell if you have a wrist fracture or a wrist sprain?
The wrist is a network of many bones and joints. It consists of eight carpal bones, five metacarpals bones and two forearm bones; the radius and ulna. It is the hub to over twenty joints that are held together by ligaments, which makes it a very intricate and complex union.
When a fall or forceful impact occurs, its a common reaction to stretch your arms out to brace yourself from the impact. By doing so, youre hands and wrists become vulnerable to injury, often resulting in hand, wrist or upper extremity fractures or injuries. If a severe fracture happens, it can easily be detected by the deformity of the wrist and/or bones that may be protruding through the skin. However, in some fractures and injuries it is difficult to determine what the injury really is. In fractures and sprains alike, pain levels can vary, and symptoms are often very similar. If pain is moderate and no symptoms are visible, it is often thought that the injury is merely a sprain; however, that is not always the case. The information below provides wrist fracture and wrist sprain symptoms which aide in diagnosis:
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Diagnosis And Treatment: How Dr Knight Can Help
A physical examination from the doctor, combined with a detailed medical history, may be enough to diagnose the injury; however, an x-ray is deemed the gold standard to identify a fracture. That said, some smaller breaks e.g., a scaphoid fracture may take up to two weeks to appear on an x-ray, complicating diagnosis in the emergency room or urgent care immediately after the injury. In these cases, an MRI or CT scan, which elucidate damage to the soft tissues of the joint, can improve diagnosis.
Treatment for wrist sprains and fractures may be non-surgical or surgical. Immobilization with a splint or cast is common for milder fractures, while various surgical techniques such as the use of pins to fix fractured bone segments together may be needed for complex or severe breaks.
Wrist sprains seldom require surgery, but they can be tricky and often cause much more damage than is apparent. The use of ice, compression, and splinting can go a long way for milder sprains, but a full tear of a ligament will require surgical repair.
It is important for both injuries to be treated as soon and as comprehensively as possible to avoid any lasting, chronic pain or malformation of the joint. Dr. Knight is one of the premier national wrist specialists with extensive experience in non-surgical and surgical treatment of the wrist. For a deep dive on the treatments offered by Dr. Knight for each injury, see the wrist sprain, wrist fracture, and scaphoid fracture pages.
Diagnosing A Wrist Injury
When you injure your wrist, your doctor will ask you to describe how the injury occurred and perform a physical examination. Common physical tests during the examination could include:
- Inspecting for deformity, bruising, swelling, and lacerations
- Palpating the critical structures to assess the location of the injury
- Testing your joints to assess their stability
Based on the exam, your doctor may then order an x-ray. An x-ray is needed to decipher between a sprain and a fracture in most situations. If the x-ray appears normal but your symptoms are severe and persistent, your doctor may order additional tests such as a CT scan or an MRI. Rarely would a bone scan would be needed.
Its important to note that fractures of the scaphoid can masquerade as a sprain. This is because sometimes scaphoid fractures arent as painful as distal radius fractures . Your practitioner should check the scaphoid for tenderness and if theres any suspicion, then special x-rays, a CT scan, an MRI, or early follow up and recheck are necessary.
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What Kinds Of Wrist Injuries Are Possible
- The wrist is made up of the two bones of the forearm and eight carpal bones . Many ligaments connect these bones to each other.
- A sprain is an injury to the wrist ligaments without any evidence of bone injury . A strain is where there is a tearing of the muscle fibers in the area surrounding the wrist.
- With a sprain, there is usually only a partial tearing of the ligaments.
- In a severe wrist sprain, there can be a complete tear.
Wrist Sprain Or Broken Wrist: How To Tell The Difference
Injuring your wrist can be as easy as trying to stop your fall with an outstretched hand. But how bad is your wrist injury? Did you simply sprain the wrist or do you have something more serious, like a wrist fracture?
A broken wrist is just as common as a sprained one. Both these injuries are caused by similar mechanisms. So, if youve hurt your wrist, heres how to tell if its broken or not.
Symptoms of a Sprained Wrist vs. a Wrist Fracture
Unfortunately, the symptoms of a broken wrist and a sprained wrist are relatively similar. These symptoms include:
Although its easy to assume these symptoms are worse with a fractured wrist, thats not always the case. For example, a broken wrist can cause dull or mild pain while pain from a wrist sprain is often more severe.
There is one unique symptom of a broken wrist, and that is deformity. If the wrist appears bent or twisted out of shape or out of place, its broken. A wrist fracture is also accompanied by a constant dull ache that is unrelenting whereas pain from a wrist sprain is intermittent with movement.
Because symptoms of wrist sprains and wrist fractures are so similar, an x-ray can be the only way to tell the extent of the wrist injury. Your orthopedic physician will examine the x-ray to make sure none of the bones in the wrist are broken and suggest a proper choice of treatment.
Treating an Injured Wrist
Contact Team Joseph About Your Wrist Pain
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