Broken wrist/broken hand
Broken wrist/broken hand
A broken wrist or broken hand is a break or crack in one of the many bones within your wrist and hand. The most common of these injuries occurs in the wrist when people try to catch themselves during a fall and land hard on an outstretched hand.
Risk factors for a broken wrist or broken hand range from participation in certain sports — such as American football, soccer, skiing or snowboarding — to having osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become thinner and more fragile.
It's important to treat a broken wrist or broken hand as soon as possible. Otherwise, the bones may not heal in proper alignment, which can affect your ability to perform everyday activities, such as grasping a pen or buttoning a shirt. Early treatment will also help minimize pain and stiffness.
Your wrist is made up of eight small bones (carpal bones) plus two long bones in your forearm — the radius and the ulna. The most commonly injured carpal bone is the scaphoid bone, located near ...
The Colles fracture is one of the most common fractures of the wrist. It usually occurs when people fall on an outstretched hand. ...
If you have a broken wrist or broken hand, you may experience these signs and symptoms:
When to call a doctor
A direct blow or crushing injury to your hands and wrists can break any of the bones in them. Common causes include:
Participating in certain sports activities or having certain health conditions may increase your chances of experiencing a broken wrist or broken hand.
Complications of a broken wrist or broken hand are rare, but they may include:
Preparing for your appointment
You may initially seek treatment for a broken wrist or broken hand in an emergency room or urgent-care clinic. If the pieces of broken bone aren't lined up properly to allow healing with immobilization, you may be referred to a doctor specializing in orthopedic surgery.
What you can do
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. For broken wrist or broken hand, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
During the physical exam, your doctor will check the affected area for:
Your doctor may also do some maneuvers to measure your range of motion and grip strength.
Tests and diagnosis
Imaging scans are crucial to the diagnosis of a broken wrist or broken hand.
Computerized tomography (CT)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Treatments and drugs
If the broken ends of the bone aren't aligned properly, your doctor will need to manipulate the pieces back into their proper positions — a process called fracture reduction. Depending on the amount of pain and swelling you have, you may need a muscle relaxant, a sedative or even a general anesthetic before this procedure.
Surgical and other procedures
In some cases, the surgeon may immobilize your fracture by using an external fixation device. This consists of a metal frame with two or more pins that go through your skin and into the bone on either side of the fracture.
External fixation of the wrist
With external fixation, a metal frame outside your body immobilizes the fracture with two or more pins that pass through your skin and into the bone on either side of the fracture. ...
It's impossible to prevent the unforeseen events that often cause a broken wrist or broken hand. But these basic tips may offer some protection.
Build bone strength
Prevent falls. Most broken wrists occur when people fall forward onto an outstretched hand. To prevent this common injury:
Use protective gear for athletic activities
Last Updated: 2011-07-07
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