Diagnosis

WRIST FRACTURE

(Distal Radius and/or Ulna Fracture)


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 Definition A break of the bone or bones that connect the forearm to the hand.
Details There are many bones that make up the wrist joint. This section topic will focus on the end (distal) parts of the radius and ulna bones. The radius is the larger of the two bones. It is located on the inside part of the forearm. The ulna is thinner and is found on the outside part of the forearm. These two bones connect the forearm to the hand via 8 smaller bones inside the wrist joint.
Causes Falling and landing on your hand or wrist is the most common way to break your wrist. It can also occur when a heavy object lands on the wrist.
Diagnosis Pain associated with swelling and deformity of the wrist after a fall is consistent with a wrist fracture. X-rays are taken to confirm the diagnosis. Rarely, a CT scan or MRI is needed evaluate the fracture for possible surgical treatment.
Treatment Nonoperative: Initially, ice and elevation are important treatments for all wrist fractures. Fortunately, most of these fractures can be treated with a cast for 4-6 weeks. After casting the wrist may be stiff and may require some stretching and strengthening therapy.


Operative: Occasionally, a wrist fracture may need surgery to realign the bones properly. This surgery can be in the form of pins, plates or a device called an external fixator. An external fixator is made of rods connected to pins that help maintain alignment of the wrist bones.

Photo and X-ray of External Fixator
Prevention

Most wrist fractures are due to falls and therefore maintaining an excellent sense of balance may help prevent some breaks.


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