A wrist fracture is essentially the same thing as a broken wrist, and let’s face it, if you break your wrist, it’s 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 it’s a fracture and not just a sprain?
Common Causes of a Wrist Fracture
Most people break their radius bone, which is one of the two main bones in the forearm that is connected to 8 smaller bones. Common causes of a wrist fracture or break include the following:
- Attempting to stop a fall using your outstretched arm and hand
- Falling off a bike or ladder
- Car or motorcycle accident
- Falling on the ice
- Playing sports
If your wrist is swollen and painful, it is best to consult with Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center for a diagnosis. If you wait too long and simply ice it and keep it elevated, you could cause even more damage. It’s better to have the appropriate tests completed to know what you are dealing with, as treatment will be very different for a broken wrist compared to one that is simply sprained.
Signs and Symptoms of a Wrist Fracture
Expect there to be swelling and pain with a broken wrist. Sometimes there is an obvious deformity or misalignment, but other times the wrist may look normal aside from mild swelling. It is always best to see a specialist for a proper diagnosis and an X-ray.
You may have difficulty using your hands or wrist along with numbness and tingling in the fingers. There may be pain as you try to move your fingers, especially when trying to grip an object. Bruising is also a very common symptom associated with wrist fractures.
If the skin is broken with the bone protruding, this is most definitely a wrist fracture.
Types of Fractures
A non-displaced break is one in which the bone has not moved out of place.
A displaced break is more serious, and must be properly realigned, which typically involves surgery of the wrist.
The most severe type of break is one in which the bones have shattered, making them unstable. Surgery is required.
An open fracture is when the bone protrudes through the skin and there is a risk of infection in the bone.
Treatments for a fracture of the wrist include use of a splint, a cast, or surgery.
Call Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center immediately if you think you may have broken your wrist. Delaying treatment can result in decreased grip strength, decreased range of motion, and poor healing.