A wrist fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in the wrist. The wrist is made up of the two bones in the forearm (radius and ulna) and eight carpal bones. The carpal bones connect the end of the forearm bones with the bases of the fingers.
The two most common wrist fractures are:
Colles' fracture—a break near the end of the radius
This fracture is common in older people. It is much less common in children and teens.
(rarely)—a test that uses a strong magnetic field and radio wave to detect a hidden scaphoid fracture
(rarely)—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to detect small fractures or dislocations of the wrist bones
Treatment will depend on how severe the injury.
Putting the pieces of the bone together, which may require
Keeping the pieces together while the bone heals itself
Devices that may be used to hold the bone in place while it heals:
(may be used with or without surgery)
A metal plate with screws (surgery)
Screws alone (surgery)
Metal pins that cross the bone, with a metal splint on the outside of the wrist that holds the pins and the fractured bone in place (surgery)
The doctor may give you pain medication depending upon the level of pain. Your doctor will order more x-rays while the bone heals to make sure that the bones have not shifted.
When your doctor decides you are ready, start
and strengthening exercises. A physical therapist may help you with these exercises. Do not return to sports until your wrist is fully healed.
It takes 6-10 weeks for a fracture of the radius at the wrist to heal. A fracture of the scaphoid bone may take 10-16 weeks to heal.
To help reduce your chance of getting a wrist fracture, take the following steps:
Do not put yourself at risk for trauma to the wrist bones.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a