Wrist fractures

Wrist fractures can occur if an individual extends an arm to avert a fall. Both the hand and forearm endure all the weight and force from the fall and one of the wrist bones are damaged.

Management of wrist fractures

The main objective of treatment for wrist fractures is to restore the normal movement to the affected hand and wrist.

During the healing process, exercises are done to preserve movement and flexibility as well as regain strength.

The suitable treatment is based on the site and seriousness of the fracture.

Wrist fractures

The initial cast or splint usually starts above the elbow to limit motion of both the elbow as well as the wrist.

  • Simple – the bone is damaged, but the broken edges are close enough for simple manipulation to realign the bone
  • Complex – several pieces of bone are damaged, or the joint is involved. In such cases, a cast is not enough, and surgery is necessary.

The initial cast or splint usually starts above the elbow to limit motion of both the elbow as well as the wrist. The individual is instructed on exercises for the fingers and shoulders on the injured side to prevent stiffness of the fingers.

During the initial 2-3 weeks, an X-ray is taken every week. In case the bones have slipped out of position, surgery is required to reposition the bones and secure them in place. In most cases, the splint or cast is removed after 6-8 weeks.

After the removal, a wrist support or splint might be used to support and protect the joint. Oftentimes, the wrist might not appear the same as before the injury.

The second objective of treatment is to check if osteoporosis is present. Since wrist fractures that occur among women ages 40-60 years old might be due to osteoporosis or might be an early indication, a bone density test is necessary.

Prevention

If the individual has osteoporosis, the necessary steps must be taken to preserve the existing bone density. In case the bone density is within the normal range, it is vital to focus on preserving bone health.

The intake of calcium and vitamin D as well as weight-bearing exercises can help maintain the bone density. In case the bone density is low, osteoporosis medications might be prescribed to prevent or slow down further bone loss.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on wrist fractures is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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