A broken wrist involves a break or fracture in the wrist end of the ulna forearm bones, radius bones or any of the small carpal bones located in the wrist.
Causes of a broken wrist are commonly from direct force or trauma to the bones. Causes can include, though are not limited to:
- Sports injuries: Many injuries can occur during sports, particularly wrist and hand breaks and fractures as people often use outstretched hands to protect them during contact sports activities.
- Falls: When people fall, it’s common for them to fall with an outstretched thinking it will provide protection, though the outcome can sometimes be a fractured or broken wrist
Symptoms of a broken wrist will vary depending on the severity and grade of the injury. In most cases, regardless of the grade, swelling and pain is experienced. This pain is likely to become worse when moving the hand. Numbness and tingling may also be experienced in the fingers or hand and can be the result of nerve damage.
There are a few different fractures that can contribute to a broken or fractures wrist:
- Scaphoid fracture: The most common fracture involving a fracture to one of the small carpal bones in the wrist named the scaphoid bone. Prolonged or incomplete healing can occur due to poor blood supply in to the scaphoid.
- Colles fracture: This fracture is often the cause of an outstretched arm. This break occurs at radius bone in the forearm. Elderly females who have osteoporosis are prone to this fracture.
- Hook of hamate fracture: This fracture occurs in the hamate bone, which is one of the small carpal bones on the outside of the wrist.
If you have a broken or fractured wrist, treatment can involve:
- Immobilisation in a cast or splint for 4 – 8 weeks as the injury and bone heals
- Surgery to realign the bones and hold them together as they heal
It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect a broken wrist so that it can be x-rayed and a formal diagnosis can be made.