Wrist injuries frequently arise from trauma, such as a car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall accident, bicycle accident, or recreational injury. Depending on the cause of the injury, injured persons may have legal rights to be compensated for their injury, including money damages for pain and suffering, disability, medical bills, and lost wages. A broken wrist is among the most common broken bones. In fact, wrist fractures are the most commonly broken bone in patients under 65 years of age.
Broken and Fractured Wrist Information
Usually, when a doctor is describing a wrist fracture, he or she is referring to a fracture of the radius (one of two forearm bones). There are other types of broken bones that occur near the wrist, but a 'wrist fracture' generally means the end of the forearm bone has been broken.
A wrist fracture should be suspected when a patient injures their wrist joint and has pain in this area. Common symptoms of a wrist fracture include wrist pain, swelling, and deformity of the wrist.
When a patient comes to the emergency room with wrist pain, and evidence of a possibly broken wrist, the first step is to obtain x-rays of the injured area. If there is a broken wrist, the x-rays will be carefully reviewed to determine if the fracture is in proper position, and to assess the stability of the bone fragments.
Broken and Fractured Wrist Recovery and Treatment
Most often, broken wrists can be treated in a cast. The wrist is one area of the body that is very amenable to cast treatment. If the bones are out of proper position, then some light sedation or local anesthesia may be used so the doctor can reset the fracture. This is called 'reducing' a wrist fracture, and by performing specific maneuvers, the doctor may be able to realign the broken wrist.
If the bones are severely misaligned, then surgery may be performed to properly position the fragments. This is usually attempted without surgery, but it is possible for muscle and tendon to become entrapped and block the resetting. Furthermore, some fractures may be unstable and not stay in position even with a well fit cast. These may need surgery to adequately position the fracture.
If surgery is performed, there are several options for treatment. Some fractures may be secured with pins to hold the fragments in place. Another option is an external fixator, a device that uses pins through the skin and a device outside the skin to pull the fragments into position. Finally, plates and screws may be used to position the fracture properly.