Wrist Fracture Treatment
Your wrist is an intricate joint, composed of 10 separate bones. When you break one of these bones, it can cause immense discomfort and limited hand movement. Wrist fractures are relatively common, but there are many different types of breaks. Because of the complexity of your wrist anatomy, a fracture can affect blood flow in your arm. Therefore, you should seek treatment from an experienced physician like Gregg A. Vagner, M.D. as soon as possible. Depending on the extent of your injury, wrist fracture treatment at our Austin, TX, practice may involve a simple brace or cast. However, in more severe cases, you may require surgery and physical therapy to regain strength and mobility. Dr. Vagner will always recommend the most conservative treatment, and he will provide ongoing care during the recovery process.
Wrist Fracture Overview
What Are Wrist Fractures?
The two primary bones in the wrist are the radius and the ulna. At the base of these bones are eight small carpal bones. A wrist fracture can occur in any of these bones, though the radius is the most commonly broken. Distal radial breaks can vary in severity. For example, in a non-displaced break, the bones will not move out of place. In a displaced break, your doctor will need to set the bone, or put it back into its proper position. Some displaced breaks can be more complicated than others. For example, in an unstable break, the bone will have a tendency to shift before it heals, even if it is placed in a cast or splint. In other cases, a bone may break into several pieces. Alternatively, it could break off unevenly, giving your joint a rough surface.
With Dr. Vagner’s timely attention, you will typically be able to return to all of your normal activities without discomfort.
Most often, wrist fractures occur when you fall onto your extended hand. Car accidents, sporting injuries, and similar events can also cause a broken wrist.
Symptoms of a Fractured Wrist
Significant pain is the most common symptom of a broken wrist. Often, discomfort will worsen when you move your fingers, and it will typically be most noticeable right around the fracture itself. Other signs of broken wrist include:
- Disfigurement of the wrist, caused by a bone that has moved out of place
- Limited wrist and hand movement
- Inability to move your wrist at all
- Tingling in your fingertips
Wrist Fracture Treatment Options
Dr. Vagner will need to take x-rays and MRIs to diagnose a fractured wrist. With these images, he can also determine the seriousness of your beak, and he can look for damage to the tendons and ligaments. Then he will recommend appropriate care on a case-by-case basis. He can usually treat a simple break with a cast or splint. Immobilizing the joint will give the bones a chance to heal, and the two sides of the fracture will knit together properly.
If you have a displaced or unstable break, you may need surgery. Dr. Vagner will make an incision over the break. Then he will stabilize the two sides of the fracture with a plate and or screws. If you have an especially serious break, he may place an external fixation device. Then he will provide a brace or cast, which you will need to wear for four to six months after surgery. You will also receive a card stating that you have a wrist implant. Afterwards, you may need physical therapy to restore wrist strength and your full range of motion. Dr. Vagner will refer you to an experienced therapist, who will guide you through a carefully chosen series of stretches and exercises.
If you believe that you may have a fractured wrist, it is important to seek immediate care. When you delay treatment, the bones may heal improperly. In turn, your wrist may be disfigured, and you may experience severely limited movement. With Dr. Vagner’s timely attention, you can typically return to all of your normal activities without discomfort.
Wrist injuries require prompt attention. Contact Dr. Vagner’s office today to receive timely, customized, and highly effective treatment for your fractured wrist.
"I am committed to using experience, along with the latest techniques and technologies, to help my patients achieve the full function, mobility, and comfort in their hand, wrist, and arm that they experienced prior to their injury."Dr. Gregg Vagner