Distal Radius Fractures / Broken Wrists
The radius is one of the main bones of the forearm and plays a key role in the wrist and elbow joints. A distal radius fracture, or “broken wrist,” can sometimes occur after a fall or direct injury to the wrist.
Distal radius fractures are quite common. In fact, the radius is the most broken bone in the arm. When this occurs, it can often be treated non-operatively in a cast for several weeks. Sometimes, surgery is needed to repair the bone and set it back in the correct position.
- Bruising, swelling, and deformity of the wrist
- Immediate pain and tenderness over the wrist
- Numbness in the fingers
- Weakness in the wrist/hand
- Decreased grip strength secondary to pain
Wrist fractures are typically diagnosed with X-rays. An MRI may be used to determine if there is any damage to the surrounding tendons and ligaments of the wrist. This type of imaging will provide specific details about the type and extent of the fractured bone.
Distal radius fractures are commonly treated non-surgically through cast immobilization. This helps the bone stay in alignment while it heals. Surgical fixation may be required for proper healing if the fracture is in several locations or misaligned. After healing has occurred, it is essential to restore the normal grip strength of the wrist. This is done by working with a physical therapist to allow you to return to normal wrist function.