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Wrist fractures, or distal radius fractures, are very common. In fact, the radius is the most commonly broken bone in the arm.
The radius is the larger of the two bones of the forearm. The end toward the wrist is called the distal end. A fracture of the distal radius occurs when the area of the radius near the wrist breaks. A distal radius fracture almost always occurs about 1 inch from the end of the bone; however, the break can occur in many different ways, including:
It’s impossible to prevent the unpredictable events that often cause a broken wrist. However, there are some preventative measures that you can take, including:
The symptoms of broken wrists, and their severity, depend on the type of fracture experienced.General symptoms of broken wrists include:
In the most extreme cases, a fractured wrist may affect nerves and blood flow, resulting in extreme pain, a numb wrist and hand, and pale fingers. A wrist injury causing these symptoms should be considered an emergency and immediate medical care should be sought.
To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor will order an X-ray of the wrist. X-rays can show if the bone is broken and whether there is displacement (e.g., a gap between broken bones). They can also show how many pieces of broken bone there are.
Our orthopaedic specialists have years of expertise in treating broken wrists. If Dr. Kayal and his team determine that a broken wrist is present, then they develop a treatment plan based on the patient’s age and condition, the location and severity of the fracture, and the potential for successful non-surgical treatment. Some non-surgical treatment options include closed reduction, casting the bone, physical therapy (following a necessary healing period), and anti-inflammatory and pain medications. If the wrist fracture is severe and requires surgical intervention, the surgeon will likely implant rods or screws to maintain proper position of the bone during healing. Allowing the bones to remain out of alignment can cause issues such as early arthritis.