What are Wrist Fractures?

The wrist joint connects the hand to the forearm. When a wrist is fractured, it can mean that one of the small carpal bones in the joint, or the larger of the two bones that make up the forearm (distal radius) is broken. Wrist fractures can occur from an injury, severe trauma, or weak bones.

Treatment Options

To diagnose a wrist fracture, your doctor will perform a physical exam and have you undergo imaging tests such as a CT scan, MRI, and/or X-rays. Fractures can range from mild to severe. Therefore, treatment may differ depending on many factors including the type of fracture, your age, and overall
health, your hobbies, and more.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

For non-displaced fractures, splints or casts may be used for treatment. Physical therapy may be needed
following healing to help you regain strength and restore your full range of motion.

Surgical Treatment

Wrist fracture surgery may involve the implantation of pins, rods, plates, or screws to hold your bones in place while they heal. A bone graft may also be used to help with healing. Following surgery, it is important that you restrict the movement of the broken bone to ensure proper healing. Your doctor will
discuss your personalized healing instructions depending on the specifics of your surgery.

Signs and symptoms of a wrist fracture include:

• Pain and swelling.
• Difficulty moving or using the hand or wrist.
• Severe swelling that makes the wrist appear deformed.
• Tingling or numbness in the fingers.

There are three main categories of wrist fractures, including:

Non-displaced breaks: When the bones do not move out of place and are stable.
Displaced breaks: When the bones do move out of place and need to be placed back into their
correct position. Sometimes these can be stable enough to treat in a splint or cast.
Unstable fractures: The bones move out of place, and even if they are placed back into position,
the bone pieces will shift or move before they have time to heal.

Cris, the PT, was so knowledgeable and kind and helpful. I highly recommend this office and appreciate all they did for me!


Schedule a Consultation

Salem hand surgeons Dr. Keith C. Neaman, Dr. Dustin Christiansen, and Dr. Pete Tsai have extensive training and experience in the treatment of wrist fractures. To schedule your personal consultation, please call Neaman Hand Surgery at 844-338-5445. There are numerous non-surgical and surgical options to treat wrist fractures helping to restore motion and strength.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a wrist fracture take to heal?

This depends on the extent of your treatment. For example, surgery may take longer to heal than non-surgical therapy. In either case, it may take a few months to a year to make a full recovery.

Does a wrist fracture always need a cast?

A wrist fracture does not always need a cast, depending on the type of break. Surgery can sometimes be used in place of a cast with hardware to help hold to bones in place.

What will a doctor do for a fractured wrist?

Our team will discuss your goals for recovery after we have a complete picture of the break. There are surgical and non-surgical options available, and we’ll discuss the benefits of each.

Can you move your fingers with a broken wrist?

Depending on the extent of the fracture, you may still be able to move your fingers. However, it may be painful or cause tingling or numbness.

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