Monday, January 17, 2022

What To Do If You Have A Broken Wrist

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Exceptions To The Rules

How can you tell if your wrist is sprained or broken?

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.

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.

A Few Facts You Didnt Know About Wrist Fracture Recovery

A Few Facts You Didnt Know About Wrist Fracture Recovery

Were talking about wrist fractures.Wrist Fracture RecoveryTalk to Your Surgeon About How to Manage Your Pain & Swelling

  • Try elevating your arm, applying ice and taking non-prescription pain medicine
  • A combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help keep swelling down as well
  • If this is not enough, narcotics may be prescribed for use just after surgery

Casting & Proper At Home Care

  • In the case of some wrist fractures, no surgery is necessary and casting is all that is required to reset the bone
  • Casts are also used after surgery to immobilize the arm while it heals
  • A cast will usually stay on for six weeks following surgery
  • Keep your cast dry and after it is removed, keep your incision site dry until your stitches have been removed

Getting Back to a Healthy, Active Life

  • Many patients will experience some wrist stiffness, which will gradually improve for up to two years after surgery
  • Physical therapy may be helpful in regaining strength
  • During the casted portion of your wrist fracture recovery, utilize other means of exercise, such as lower body workouts
  • After three or four months have passed from your surgery date, check back in with your surgeon to find out if it is safe to resume more intense activities

Things to Look Out For

Read Also: How To Tell If Your Wrist Is Broken Or Sprained

Broken Hand Treatment Options: Hand Fracture Surgery

Fractures that cannot be properly corrected with the aforementioned treatment strategies will require broken hand surgery. During hand fracture surgery, local or general anesthesia may be used depending on the specific surgery. Broken hand surgery may involve the use of small pins and wires that will hold the fractured bones in place for several weeks. In some instances, metal plates and screws may be utilized to ensure the bones of the hand are properly aligned. If a bone has been shattered, it may be necessary to use a bone graft transplanted from another part of the patients body. A bone graft may also be used to treat a bone that has not healed properly after a previous injury.

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Broken Wrist Heres What You Need To Know

Broken Wrist Treated with Homeopathy

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.

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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 theres 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 doesnt cause much color change to skin, aside from some redness from flushing due to all the warm fluid underneath the skin.
  • Diagnosing A Wrist Sprain

  • 1Move your wrist and assess it. Wrist sprains have a wide range of severity depending on the degree of stretch or tearing to the ligament. A mild wrist sprain , infers some ligament stretching, but no significant tearing; a moderate sprain infers significant tearing and may be associated with some loss of function; a severe sprain infers a greater degree of tearing or complete rupture of ligaments.XResearch source As such, movement in your wrist will be relatively normal with Grade 1 and 2 sprains. A Grade 3 sprain often leads to instability with movement because the ligaments attaching the wrist bones are completely torn.
  • In general, only some Grade 2 and all Grade 3 wrist sprains need medical attention. All Grade 1 and most Grade 2 sprains can be managed at home.
  • A Grade 3 wrist sprain can involve an avulsion fracture the ligament tears away from the bone and takes a small chip of bone with it.XResearch source
  • The most common ligament sprained in the wrist is the scapho-lunate ligament, which connects the scaphoid bone to the lunate bone.XResearch source
  • Grade 3 sprains that involve an avulsion fracture are very painful immediately, and involve both sharp and throbbing type pain.
  • Sprains generate the most pain with movement and are usually much less symptomatic with lack of movement .
  • In general, if your wrist is very painful and difficult to move, see your doctor right away and get it assessed.
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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.

    First Aid For A Broken Hand

    How to Treat a Fractured Wrist

    If you think you have a broken hand, see a doctor immediately.

    But until you can seek medication attention, there are things you can do to care for your hand. These include the following first aid procedures:

    • Avoid moving your hand. Try your best to immobilize your hand. If a bone has moved out of place, dont attempt to realign it.
    • Apply ice. To reduce pain and swelling, carefully apply an ice pack or cold compress to your injury. Always wrap the ice pack in a clean cloth or towel first.
    • Stop the bleeding.

    The goal of broken bone first aid is to limit further injury. It can also help minimize pain and improve your recovery outlook.

    If youre bleeding, you likely have an open fracture, meaning a bone is sticking out. In this case, go to the ER right away. Until you can get help, you can stop the bleeding by applying pressure and using a clean cloth or bandage.

    Visit a doctor as soon as you think youve broken your hand.

    Its especially important to see a doctor if you have:

    • difficulty moving your fingers
    • numbness

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    What Is Involved With Broken Wrist Treatment

    In addition to a splint or cast, your doctor may suggest the following to reduce pain and swelling:

    • Elevating your wrist Put your wrist on a pillow above your heart level for a few days.
    • Applying ice Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every few hours for two to three days may help fractured wrists, but take care so you dont get it on your splint or cast.
    • Taking medication In some cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can also help.
    • Exercises Your doctor may recommend strengthening and stretching exercises for your fingers, elbow, and shoulder.

    In some cases, surgery might be needed for wrist fractures. Your orthopedic physician may recommend this option if the fracture pattern of your wrist makes it difficult to properly set and realign your bones.

    If this is the case, surgery can help stabilize the fractured pieces.

    Using pins, screws, plates, rods, or other methods can help set the fractured pieces. If a bone is severely crushed enough to leave a gap in the bone after its been realigned, a bone graft may be added to help the area heal properly.

    Depending on the severity of your break, it can take a broken wrist anywhere from eight weeks to six months or so to fully heal. Dont rush back into your normal activities too soon, or you could delay your recovery.

    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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    Can You Move Your Wrist With A Hairline Fracture

    You can move the wrist with a hairline fracture but it is typically not recommended. ;It also depends on the location of the fracture and it severity. ;Immobilization is typically recommended to prevent healing complications. ;If you have persistent wrist pain that wont go away, you should be evaluated by an orthopedic hand specialist.

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    Are There Any Other Treatment Options Being Investigated

    Broken wrist

    For osteoarthritis, some clinical research trials are underway in the U.S. exploring stem cell treatment. Early findings are encouraging. Stem cell therapy so far has shown to provide some pain relief and improvement in function. The ultimate goal would hopefully be to use stem cells to regrow cartilage.

    Over the past decade, researchers developed many new medications for psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, with more studies underway.

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    What Are The Treatment Options For A Broken Wrist

    In the majority of cases, surgery isnt necessary for wrist fractures. Your doctor may be able to reset the fracture, put a splint and then a cast on your wrist, and wait for the bones to heal. Regular X-rays will be performed to make sure your wrist is healing as it should.

    The exact type of treatment youll need depends on some of the following factors:

    • Fracture location
    • Hand dominance

    Can A Broken Hand Heal On Its Own

    A broken hand can heal by itself. But without proper treatment, its more likely to heal incorrectly.

    Specifically, the bones might not line up properly. This is known as a malunion. It can interfere with the normal function of your hand, making it difficult to do daily activities.

    If the bones are misaligned, youll need surgery to realign them. This can prolong the recovery process even further, so its important to receive the right treatment from the start.

    To diagnose a broken hand, a doctor will use several tests. These include:

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    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.

    How Long Will It Take To Recover

    BEST Broken wrist exercises after cast removal

    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.

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    What Is A Wrist Fracture

    The wrist joint connects the hand to the forearm. A wrist fracture can mean that a person has broken one of the small bones in this joint or, more commonly, the distal radius, which is the larger of the two bones that make up the forearm. This bone most often breaks at the lower end, near where it connects to the bones of the hand and thumb.

    How To Recognize And Treat A Broken Wrist

    Michael Menna, DO, is board-certified in emergency medicine. He is an attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York and also works at an urgent care center and a telemedicine company that provides care to patients across the country.

    Nobody denies that a broken wrist is a very painful injury. However, as bad as they feel, they’re rarely life-threatening emergencies. In many cases, there’s not much you can do to help at home. This is going to require a trip to the emergency department .

    The following steps will help you learn to recognize a broken wrist and to decide how to take care of it.

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    The Purpose Of A Plate And Screws In Fracture Treatment

    A plate is a flat piece of metal made of titanium or stainless steel that has holes in it. The plate fits on the surface of a fractured bone and screws are placed through the holes in the plate to hold the plate to the bone.

    All the plate does is hold the fractured bone pieces together while they heal. After the bone heals, the plate and screws serve no function at all. All the strength of a healed bone comes from the bone itself. In fact, if the bone never heals, a strong plate can easily be broken in half if the patient uses the hand in a careless way!

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