A broken wrist is one of the most common fractures in the body. We have two bones in our forearm, the larger of the two is the radius, and the end towards the wrist is the distal end of the radius. An individual can suffer from distal radius fracture while playing sports like rugby, football, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts. It can also result from a bad fall. In fact, there is no age distribution for this kind of fracture, and it can happen to men or women.

The complications arise after the fracture since the wrist is a complicated joint. Doctors often stress on the fact that wrist fractures can be incredibly diverse and not all traumas to the wrist necessarily result in distal radius fractures. A fall onto your outstretched arm can result in a distal radius fracture, and many people use this term synonymously with a “broken wrist.”

There are a few things about wrist fractures you should know right now –

  1. Pre-adolescents and Adolescents are more at risk for distal radius fractures. They experience growth spurts during which mineral bone density can be unstable. The newly grown bones can be at risk of fractures from sudden falls.
  2. Older adults, especially women are more at risk compared to men, since they are prone to osteoporosis or calcium deficiency. The low mineral density of the bones can put them at high risk of fractures.

If your wrist is sore after a fall and you find it almost impossible to move, you should visit a hand and wrist surgeon immediately. Check out Dr Looi Kok Poh site for more guidance on the management of wrist fractures.

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Before reaching the surgeon, you might have to provide primary care to the injured area. Here’s what you should do –

  1. Immobilize the wrist. You might not be able to put on a splint or brace on your own. However, try to move it as little as possible.
  2. Keep the wrist above the level of the heart. The elevation is the key to managing the pain and soreness.
  3. You should try ice compressions every 5 to 10 minutes to ease the swelling and pain.

These are all first aid measures you should provide to the fracture. It is imperative to visit an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand and wrist fractures immediately after.

Do all wrist fractures need surgical procedures?

Experiencing a distal radius fracture does not mean a trip to the OR. A good orthopedic surgeon should be able to recommend the available treatment options for the injured person after initial imaging tests. Depending on the age and activity level of the patient, the nature of the break and the physiological conditions (bone density), the doctor will determine the appropriate treatment plan.

Taking a surgical approach might be necessary. Usually, unstable fractures call for surgical interventions. Bridging External fixations, or non-bridging external fixation might be essential to stabilize the fracture. The most popular treatment is surgical implantations of plates, pins, and screws to secure the fracture. It is the ideal approach for treating intra-articular, comminuted and compound fractures. Working with an experienced hand and wrist orthopedic surgeon enables the patient to find the best suitable treatment option for distal radius fractures.

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