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Fractured Wrist – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is a Fractured Wrist?

Wrist fracture is a break or crack at the end of radius bone which is the most common broken bones for people aged 65 years and below. Women at menopause period and after age of 65 are high risk for wrist fracture due rapid loss of bone elasticity. Wrist fracture also include break in the wrist joint which include the scaphoid and the ulna.

Wrist fracture is also called distal radius fracture which basically has four types and these are:

  1. Colles’ Fracture – is a break in the distal radius that occurs most frequently in postmenopausal women. The fracture is said to be related to the density of the bone of distal radius.
  2. Smith’s Fracture – synonymous to Colles’ fracture which is caused by a direct blow to the distal forearm with a fall on flexed wrists. This is a less common fracture if the distal radius.
  3. Barton’s Fracture – fracture of the distal radius with radiocarpal joints dislocation caused by an increased carpal compression force on the dorsal rim which was brought on by a fall on an extended and pronated wrist.
  4. Chauffeur’s Fracture – involves the forearm in the radial styloid process typically caused by compression in the scaphoid bone of the hand against the styloid process of the distal radius as a result of falling on an outstretched hand.

Fractured Wrist Symptoms

It is important to recognized wrist fracture from sprain and strain as they may have similar symptoms. Recognition of wrist fracture will prompt proper treatment and care.

Symptoms of wrist fracture are:


Pain depends on the location of affected area and the severity of the injury. The pain may be felt in general or may felt when touched. The pain normally occurs or develops after a few hours from initial fall or injury.


Fluid build ups in the skin of affected area as a result of wrist fracture. Swelling must be given medical attention to prevent further complication.

Limited movement in the wrist

Fracture of the wrist will cause pain and will thereby affect range of motion of the wrist as it will be painful even a slightest movement of the wrist.

Deformity of the wrist

Fracture may cause the wrist to misshapen and this may depend on the severity of the fracture. Deformity may be in the form of lump around the wrist or visible bone through the skin if the affected site.

Fractured Wrist Causes

Wrist fracture is most commonly caused by fall on an outstretched hand that results to direct blow or injury to the wrist. There are however, various reasons to cause fractured wrists and such are:

  • Vehicular accident
  • Fall with an outstretched hand
  • Repetitive motion injury
  • Sports activities
  • Sudden lifting of heavy loads

Certain health condition is also a factor in wrist fracture and these may include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Bone disease
  • Lesion on radial bone brought by cancer cells

Fractured Wrist Treatment

Distal radius fracture is usually treated through immobilization although it depends on the severity of the fracture.

Surgical procedure may be recommended although there are some considerations:

  • Age factor wherein younger patient are most likely recommended for surgery to prevent problem in the years ahead while surgery for elderly patient may not be necessary.
  • Bone quality is considered where adequacy is necessary to secure plates and screws to be used in restoring bone structures. Patient with osteoporosis and suffered wrist fracture will be less beneficial for a surgery.
  • Identifying the location of the facture is necessary such as cartilage in the wrist joint whereas cartilage surface of the wrist joint is not recommended for surgery unless they are not lined up sufficiently with a reduction maneuver.
  • Severely misshapen or misaligned bones need undergo surgery to position fragments properly.
  • Repositioning fragments without surgery is difficult as casting alone may not hold the fracture in position.

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