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In many cases, a wrist fracture, especially if undertreated, can make your activities of daily living more difficult, painful, and aggravating.
Therefore, knowing how to treat them properly is essential if you are involved in an accident that leaves you with a fractured wrist.
It is important to be seen by a specialist if you have fractured your wrist. Wrist fractures may be treated with a cast until they heal, but often surgery may be necessary.
If you have injured your wrist and your pain is persistent, you find it challenging to move your wrist, or there is abnormal swelling around the injury site, you should consult a doctor.
At Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow in Atlanta and Marietta, our team of orthopedic specialists will assess your injury and discuss treatment options with you before initiating treatment.
The symptoms of a fractured wrist may be obvious or subtle. You should seek medical attention to identify the nature and severity of your fracture. This can help determine if further treatment is needed.
Some possible symptoms include:
Pain is usually the first symptom of a fractured wrist. It is felt on impact or presents itself hours after the incident. The pain is generally located at the fracture site but can also radiate to the hand, forearm, or arm.
Due to the nature of wrist fractures, there is some degree of movement restriction when attempting to move the wrist. Therefore, moving it will cause additional pain that generally increases with motion and allows for further diagnosis.
After an injury to the wrist, you may experience numbness in your fingers, including tingling sensations or pins and needles. If you are experiencing this symptom, getting it checked out is a good idea.
Swelling is a good indication that there is some degree of damage to the bone or joint surfaces. Combined with pain, swelling can often indicate whether or not a wrist is fractured.
Bruised skin around the injury site is quite common and takes on various colors depending on the severity of the bruise.
Wrist fractures are diagnosed by physical examinations and imaging. If you have suspected a wrist fracture, you should visit your local emergency room or hospital.
The diagnosis, performed in the emergency room by a medical professional, will evaluate the affected area. It involves examining the wrist joint and range of motion. Then, depending on its extent, an X-ray is ordered to provide information about the injury.
The healthcare professional will likely start by examining your wrist, hand, and fingers to fully evaluate your injury.
If you have issues with your hand such as pain, numbness, or loss of sensation, it may indicate something is wrong with the wrist as well.
Sometimes the X-rays can be normal right after your injury because the fracture did not displace when you fell. In these cases, if your pain persists, it is important to listen to your body and follow up with a specialist to make sure that a fracture or ligament injury wasn’t missed.
If you have a wrist fracture or bad fall on your wrist, the treatment of your injury may vary depending on the severity. A mild injury might require over-the-counter pain medication and a protective brace.
But, if there is a wrist deformity, significant pain, numbness, or difficulty moving your fingers, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
To prevent re-injury and muscle strain, the bones in your wrist must be kept in place by a brace while they heal. In some cases, surgery with the placement of a metal plate and screws is necessary to optimally fix your injury.
It is essential to see a specialist in order to evaluate the injury and determine if you will need surgery.
The sooner you get started with treatment, the sooner you will recover!
If you suspect you have a fractured wrist and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, then we encourage you to contact us for an evaluation by our orthopedic professionals at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow in Marietta and Atlanta, Georgia.
Randall Alexander, MD