I Fell on My Wrist — What Kind of Doctor Should I See?

I Fell on My Wrist — What Kind of Doctor Should I See?

You’ve fallen on your wrist. It’s painful. What type of doctor should you see? You wouldn’t seek out a swim coach to learn to play tennis. Orthopedic surgeons are the right experts to see if you have a musculoskeletal injury or chronic condition. 

Our board-certified hand surgeons at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow treat many patients with wrist injuries. As specialists in treating hand injuries, our physicians provide prompt diagnosis and the correct treatment, so you can heal as fast as possible. 

When you fall, it’s instinct that leads you to put your hands out to catch yourself. Doctors even have an acronym for this injury because it’s so common: FOOSH, or “fall on outstretched hand.” 

Your injury could be a fracture or a sprain. You might think that since the pain is dull, you have a sprain, but sometimes sprains can cause more severe pain than a fracture. That’s one reason it’s important to seek medical attention from a specialist right away.

Symptoms of fractures and sprains

If the shape of your wrist is deformed from the fall, it’s a fracture. However, many fractures and sprains in the wrist can present the same symptoms

Your Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow orthopedic surgeon takes an X-ray and confirms whether your injury is a broken bone or a sprain. 


Your fracture could be in the end of the bone in your forearm, or it could be in the small bones in the wrist. It’s important to diagnose and treat wrist fractures right away. Otherwise, the bones may not heal completely or in the right position. If the blood supply is cut off as a result of the fracture, bone tissue dies.

Sometimes fractures can be placed back in position manually by your surgeon; the procedure is termed a reduction. You’ll need a local or general anesthetic. If the fracture is severe, you need surgery, and plates, screws, and pins hold the bones in place while they heal.


If you don’t have a fracture, but your wrist pain is severe, your doctor may order an ultrasound or MRI to see what’s going on in your tissues, nerves, cartilage, and joints. A wrist sprain means that the ligaments in your wrist are overstretched or torn. 

Non-surgical treatment of wrist injuries 

The protocol for wrist injuries goes by the acronym PRICE: protect, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Your doctor will provide a splint or a brace to help you keep the wrist at rest while it heals. After initial inflammation has subsided, and in cases of a fracture, after surgery, you have physical therapy sessions to help you regain range of motion, strength, and flexibility in your wrist. 

Call Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow or book an appointment online for expert treatment of wrist pain. We have offices in Atlanta, Watkinsville, and Marietta, Georgia. 

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