Wrist Fracture

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The radius (Fig.1) is the most commonly broken bone in the arm and a break of the radius at the end nearest the wrist is known as a Colles fracture. A Colles fracture frequently occurs when a fall is broken with outstretched hands.

Symptoms Include:
  • Pain and swelling in the wrist or forearm.
  • Bruising at the fracture site.
  • Deformity in severe fractures.

 

Fig. 1
Treatment:
Non-surgical treatment
  • A cast, brace or splint for a well-aligned fracture.
  • A cast or splint with a closed reduction (re-alignment) of the fracture.
  • Rehabilitation after cast removal.

Surgical treatment

  • External fixation device to align and stabilize the fracture.
  • Open repair to insert pins, screws or plates to stabilize a complicated fracture.

Another type of fracture occurring in the wrist is a fracture of the scaphoid, a small carpal bone at the base of the thumb (Fig.2).

Fig. 2
The scaphoid characteristically fractures in a manner similar to the radius (Colles) fracture. Scaphoid fractures heal more slowly due to poor blood supply. Non-union fractures are more common in scaphoid fractures than any other bone due to insufficient blood supply.

Symptoms include:
  • Swelling with pain and tenderness at the base of the thumb.
  • Weak grip strength.
  • Limited range of motion.
 
Treatment:
Non-surgical treatment
  • A cast, with or without thumb component.
  • A brace or splint for a well-aligned fracture after cast removal.
  • Rehabilitation after cast removal.
Surgical treatment
A severe fracture of the scaphoid, may require surgery.

A screw or wire may be used to stabilize the scaphoid.


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Wrist Fracture