What is a Wrist Fracture?
by Imran K. Choudhry MD
Most commonly it occurs from a fall on an outstretched hand.
The most common wrist fracture is of the distal radius bone and frequently involves a chip fracture of the ulnar styloid
The other most common wrist fracture is of the scaphoid bone.
This fracture is often ignored by patients due to its little discomfort and swelling
Delayed evaluation and treatment of scaphoid fractures leads to poor outcomes and wrist dysfunction because the bone has a high nonunion rate related to its tenuous blood supply
You should see Dr. Choudhry if you have wrist pain after a fall persists beyond a few days, even if it is mild, so that this injury is not missed.
How do I know if it’s broken?
An x-ray is needed to confirm if the wrist is fractured/broken.
If you fall on your hand/wrist and have ANY of the following you should seek EMERGENCY treatment
–An open wound
No. If you have milder symptoms (no deformity, less pain/swelling), you can wait to see an orthopedic hand/upper extremity surgeon and avoid ER costs and wait times, but should see one within 1-3 days.
Ice and elevate the arm and use a wrist brace until your appointment. Avoid weight bearing and lifting with it.
Orthopedic hand/upper extremity surgeons like Dr. Choudhry specialize in disorders of the wrist region and will be able to render definitive treatment. Besides fractures, you may have a serious ligamentous injury to the wrist that Dr. Choudhry would be able to accurately diagnose and treat.
How do you treat a broken wrist?
Dr. Choudhry will make a decision based on the fracture pattern on the x-ray as to whether the wrist needs just a cast, or a manipulation and a cast, or surgery.
Sometimes additional tests such as an MRI or CT scan my be needed to decide on the best treatment option.
Obviously, mild fractures can be treated in a cast or brace alone for about 6-8 weeks. But fractures where the bo ne has significantly moved from its anatomic position or angulated beyond an acceptable amount, surgery to realign the bone and fix it with plates, screws, and/or pins is necessary.
How can I get in to see Dr. Choudhry?
If you know or are concerned that you may have a fracture of the arm/elbow/wrist or hand please call our office at (303)321-6600 during regular business hours ASAP and let the office know it is for a fracture. We will make every effort to get you an appointment in a timely manner.