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How To Know If Wrist Is Sprained Or Broken

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What Kinds Of Wrist Injuries Are Possible

How can you tell if your wrist is sprained or broken?
  • 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.
  • A wrist fracture;or broken wrist means there is a break or a crack in one or more of the bones of the wrist.
  • Wrist Sprains Vs Fractures: How To Tell The Difference

    Breaks & Fractures

    May 19, 2020

    May 2020 Update: In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, we know that people continue to need immediate medical attention for unrelated injuries and illnesses. As your neighborhood emergency room, we want you to know that your safety and well-being are top priorities for us. Armed with the areas best emergency room physicians, we are open 24/7 for all of your emergency medical needs. We recognize the apprehension that many people have when visiting an emergency room for care. We want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to protect our patients and our staff. We have implemented strict protocols surrounding the use of protective equipment, cleaning, and sanitizing. Our wait times, as always, are minimized to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    When youre injured, pain can be unbearable. The discomfort could cause even simple tasks such as walking or brushing your teeth to require monumental efforts. You may wonder if it will get better if you just wait it out. But, what if its something more serious, such as a sprain or a fracture? What are the symptoms of each? And, how can you best treat them?

    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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    Kinds Of Wrist Breaks

    When you try to stop an object from falling, but the impact is too much for your wrist to take, the situation can cause your wrist to break. This is the most typical cause behind a broken wrist and is called a distal radius fracture.

    Besides that, other wrist breaks include a scaphoid fracture, which implicates your scaphoid carpal bone, a Chauffers fracture, which involves your radius bone, and an ulnar styloid fracture, which happens to your ulnar region.;

    Recovering From A Sprained Wrist

    Is My Wrist Broken or Sprained?

    Understanding how to care for a sprained wrist ligament is the first and most important step toward a complete recovery. As long as you understand the cause of your injury, seeking the appropriate treatment should be straightforward. Now that you know how to heal a sprained wrist, soon you will be cooking, golfing, driving, and hugging those close to you again.

    Read Also: How Do You Tell If Your Wrist Is Broken

    Distal Radius Wrist Fracture

    The distal radius is the end of the forearm bone, on the thumb side, that articulates with the ulna and wrist bones. This common fracture site often occurs with a fall on an outstretched hand. Symptoms include severe pain, swelling, bruising, numbness, difficulty moving the fingers and thumb, tenderness below the wrist joint itself and a possible deformity in the wrist.

    Is It Possible To Prevent A Sprained Wrist

    Most wrist sprains occur due to falls. Minimizing the risk of falls will also minimize the risk of wrist sprain.

    • This includes wearing appropriate shoes and being careful or wet or icy surfaces.
    • Wrist sprains also occur in sport like skateboarding and skiing. Wrist guards or supportive taping may help.

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    Common Wrist Fractures & Sprains

    Wrist injuries commonly occur among athletes or older adults who are prone to falls and trips. A sprain occurs when any unusual movement stretches or tear the ligaments and tendons in your wrist. In a fracture, that movement breaks one or more of the bones in your wrist.

    Types of Fractures

    • Another type of wrist fracture is a Scaphoid fracture, which is less common but more difficult to diagnose and takes ample time to heal due to poor supply of blood it receives. It affects one of the eight carpal bones in the wrist.

    Grades of Sprains

    • Grade I causes pain with minor scapholunate ligament damage.
    • Grade II causes pain, severe ligament damage, and a sense of looseness to the joint.
    • Grade III causes pain, a fully torn ligament with loss of function and severe looseness of the joint.

    Trusted Hand Doctors For All Your Needs

    Suspected Scaphoid Fracture or Wrist Sprain

    If you suspect your hand is broken, dont wait to see a doctor. Delaying treatment can cause further damage and in some cases lead to surgery or permanent damage.

    Depending on the nature of your injury, your doctor may order x-rays or an MRI to rule out additional damage to the surrounding ligaments and tendons.

    Dont let a hand injury slow your down. Whether youve;gotten hurt and suspect a broken bone or are experiencing general;discomfort within your hands, contact us today.

    Our highly-knowledgeable physicians have the experience and;equipment;to treat;any hand injury.;A member of our dedicated staff is ready to help you and will be happy to set you up with an appointment.

    Never underestimate the importance of your hands.

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    Broken Hand Symptoms: How Do I Know If I Have A Broken Hand

    Approximately 6 million people suffer a broken bone every year in the United States, and broken fingers are very common. The location and severity of the hand fracture will determine the symptoms the patient experiences and the available treatment options. So what does a broken hand feel like? Lets take a look at a few of the most common broken hand symptoms.

    Fractured hand symptoms involving the metacarpals include pain, swelling, general tenderness along the site of the injury, and bruising. These metacarpal fractures symptoms may be more pronounced as the patient makes a fist or even loosely grips items. Metacarpal fractures may also give the involved fingers a shortened appearance. For example, Boxers fracture symptoms may include the knuckle appearing indented or crushed inward due to displacement along the neck of the metacarpal. Broken finger symptoms include pain, decreased range of motion, swelling, and sensitivity to even the lightest touch. Fractured finger symptoms may also include bruising, and its possible for the finger to appear deformed or misaligned. Broken thumb symptoms include swelling, bruising, sensitivity to the touch, and decreased range of motion. Some patients also report numbness or feelings of cold around the injury. In some cases, the hand or fingers may change colors, becoming pale or even blue, after a fracture of the hand. Patients may also notice other tactile sensations, such as tingling.

    Why Does My Sprain Take So Long To Heal

    Maybe you are a weekend warrior, or maybe you were just walking down the street. It only takes a misstep, and you have a sprain. It is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries for people of all ages and physical conditions. Without an x-ray, it can be hard to tell whether you have a fracture or a sprain, so you should seek medical treatment after you have been injured.

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    Exceptions To The Rules

    There are major exceptions to these rules. For example, a fractured scaphoid bone may hurt for a few days and then stop hurting completely its the best imitator of wrist sprains out there. Many scaphoid fractures have been mis-diagnosed as wrist sprains over the years, leading to early arthritis and wrist pain.

    In a similar way, if the wrong ligaments are torn in the wrist, it will lead to arthritis as the bones that used to be held together now move abnormally against one another.

    But What If Its A Wrist Fracture

    Is My Wrist Broken or Sprained?

    A fractured wrist is a common occurrence;in people who have recently tried to catch themselves while falling. You might also experience a wrist fracture in a car accident or it might be the result of a sports injury.;

    Your wrist;is comprised of 8 small bones that are then connected to your radius and ulna. When you attempt to catch yourself during a fall, your radius is the bone that takes the brunt, making it the;most commonly broken bone;in a wrist fracture.;

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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.

    Think You Have A Broken Of Sprained Wrist

    If you suspect you have fractured your wrist, schedule an appointment for an evaluation. We can accurately diagnose your pain and treat your injured wrist quickly and effectively.

    This site is not intended to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this website and links to other websites, Brandon P. Donnelly, MD provides general information for educational purposes only. The content provided in this website and links, is not a substitute for medical care or treatment. You should not use this information in place of a consultation or the advice of your healthcare provider. Brandon P. Donnelly, MD is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.

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    What Should You Do

    If you do think you have a wrist sprain or you may have fractured your wrist, you should immediately see a doctor. Schedule an appointment to have a medical professional decide if you will need surgery, an x-ray, or;specific;treatment options.

    If you cant see a doctor immediately, its important to remember the acronym, RICE. That stands for, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. That is what you should be doing for your wrist until you see a medical professional.;

    Having a broken or sprained wrist can also limit your ability to drive places or see a doctor. If that happens, you can speak with us remotely by contacting us here.;;

    Sprained Wrist Vs Broken

    How to tell the difference between a Wrist Sprain and a Fracture

    Now, how can you tell if it’s a sprained wrist vs broken wrist? A deformity of the bone, such as a bone sticking out or nearly sticking out of the skin, is the easiest way to tell a broken bone.;

    Otherwise, determining sprained wrist vs broken wrist is not that easy, and we recommend that you see an orthopedic physician who can make that diagnosis. ;Sometimes we find that mild pain in the wrist could end up being a fracture, while severe pain could be just a sprain. Therefore, the best decision is to get your injury evaluated by a physician who may use diagnostic testing to confirm their diagnosis.;

    You don’t want to find out too late that you had a broken bone or that you have a severe sprain. This could lead to improper healing or deformity or even necrosis of the bone.

    Dr. Garry Kitay;states that “although most wrist injuries can be treated with bracing and rest, certain conditions need urgent attention to avoid long term harm. These include several types of ligament ruptures and unstable fractures. If your pain is severe, or you are not improving quickly, seek medical attention.” Dr. Kitay is a board-certified physician by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and he practices at the JOI San Marco location.

    If you want to learn more about wrist sprains, please watch this VIDEO.

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    How To Tell The Difference Between A Wrist Sprain And A Wrist Fracture

    This article was co-authored by Diana Lee, MD. Dr. Diana Lee is a Family Medicine Physician in California. She received her MD from Georgetown University in 2015. Most recently, she completed an Ophthalmic Pathology fellowship at Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests are diverse and include: cataract surgery, dry eye, thyroid eye disease, retinoblastoma and diabetic retinopathy.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 15 testimonials and 83% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 272,838 times.

    Is My Wrist Sprained Or Broken Treatment & Recovery For Wrist Pain At The Urgent Care Clinic

    Do you know there are over twenty joints in the wrist alone? These joints are held together by various different ligaments which makes a complex and delicate structure. There are many ways one can injure the wrist. Even a small slip or fall onto an outstretched hand can cause wrist sprain or fracture.

    If you have injured your wrist due to FOOSH , you must have one question on your mind: Is my wrist sprained or broken? Heres what you need to know about these injuries in order to get the right treatment at the best urgent care clinic.

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    Identifying Symptoms Of A Sprained Wrist

  • 1Expect some pain with movement. Wrist sprains have a wide range of severity depending on the degree of stretch and/or tearing to the involved ligament. Mild wrist sprains , involve some ligament stretching, but no significant tearing; moderate sprains involve significant tearing ; severe sprains involve a greater amount of tearing or complete rupture of the ligament.XResearch source Consequently, with Grade 1 and 2 wrist sprains, movement will be relatively normal, albeit painful. A Grade 3 sprain often leads to joint instability with movement because the involved ligament is no longer properly attached to its wrist bones. In contrast, movement is typically much more restricted with wrist fractures and there’s often a grinding feeling with movement.
  • Grade 1 wrist sprains are mildly painful and the pain is usually described as a soreness that can be sharp with movement.
  • Grade 2 wrist sprains generate moderate-to-severe pain, depending on the degree of tearing; the pain is sharper than a Grade 1 tear and sometimes also throbbing because of inflammation.
  • Grade 3 wrist sprains are often less painful than Grade 2 varieties because the ligament is completely severed and not irritating surrounding nerves as much although Grade 3 injuries eventually throb significantly due to accumulating inflammation.
  • Swelling from inflammation doesn’t cause much color change to skin, aside from some redness from “flushing” due to all the warm fluid underneath the skin.
  • Treatment & Recovery For A Wrist Injury

    A Guide to Dealing With Sprained or Broken Wrists

    Regardless of the type of wrist injury, you should get immediate treatment until seeing your walk-in care doctor by following these steps:

    • Rest your wrist for up to 48 hours.
    • Use ice therapy on the injured area for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours.
    • Elevate the injured wrist above the level of your heart.
    • Immobilize the wrist using a splint or brace.
    • Compress the wrist with a bandage.

    Use these measures to treat sprained wrist and you may also take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Motrin or Aleve to elevate pain and inflammation as recommended by your urgent care doctor. Grade III sprains with snapped ligament may require surgery to treat.

    Treatment of broken wrist may depend on the type of fracture, age, and overall general health. A padded splint might be worn to realign the bones and a cast may be used to hold the fracture. Sometimes, plates, rods, and screws are used to fix severe fractures which may take months to heal. Your walk-in doctor may also recommend physical therapy to help the healing process.

    Want to discuss the right option for your wrist injury treatment and recovery? Visit Artisans of Medicine, the best Urgent Care Clinic in Brooklyn, NYC today!; With the hands-on experience and advanced specialization, our family care doctors can handle your entire treatment and recovery process with care.

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