Wrist Fractures

When you break your wrist or suffer a wrist fracture, it can be very painful. Injury can happen from a fall, playing sports, or simply bending your wrist the wrong way.

If you know you broke your wrist or you’re dealing with pain, you need the right treatment from Dr. John Andrachuk. With years of experience treating wrist fractures and other injuries, Dr. Andrachuk is the right Orthopedic Sports Medicine surgeon in Atlanta for you.

What are Wrist Fractures?

Your hand and forearm are connected through the wrist joint. The wrist joint is made up of small or carpal bones, and two larger bones, the radius, and ulna. When a wrist fracture happened, it means you have broken one of the small bones in the joint or one of the larger bones in the joint. 

What are the Most Common Wrist Fracture Types?

There are a few different types of wrist fractures including:

  • Distal radius fracture – This type of wrist fracture is found near the distal end of the radius bone. A distal radius fracture is the most common type of wrist fracture.
  • Scaphoid fracture – If the scaphoid, one of the two carpal bones, is fractured, it’s known as a scaphoid fracture. This is the second-most common type of wrist fracture and it’s harder to treat and identify.
  • Ulnar Styloid fracture – A less common wrist fracture, an ulnar styloid fracture happens when the styloid found at the end of the ulnar bone becomes fractured. 
  • Barton’s fracture – When a distal radius fracture occurs with a dislocation in the radiocarpal joint, it’s known as a Barton’s fracture and requires surgery to treat.
  • Chauffer’s Fracture – Also known as a radio styloid fracture, this type of fracture happens when the styloid at the end of the radius bone becomes fractured.

All of these wrist fractures can cause severe pain and require medical treatment.

Wrist Fracture Symptoms

If you suffer from a wrist fracture, you might notice the following symptoms:

  • Swelling around the wrist
  • Tenderness
  • Severe pain made worse by squeezing your hand
  • Bruising
  • Any type of obvious deformation

The most common symptom is the pain associated with gripping or squeezing your hand.

Most Common Causes of Wrist Fractures

Many things can cause a wrist fracture, but the most common causes include:

  • Sports injuries – Athletes suffer wrist fractures commonly when playing contact sports. However, this type of fracture can happen during any type of sporting activity if you fall onto your outstretched hand.
  • Falls – When someone falls and they catch themselves with their hand, it can cause a wrist fracture. 
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes – Another common cause of wrist fractures is a motor vehicle crash. Some of the worst wrist fractures are caused by this type of accident.

Whether you slip and fall or break your wrist playing a sport, getting the right medical help is necessary.

Most Common Risk Factors for Wrist Fractures

There are several activities that put you at a higher risk of a wrist fracture, including:

  • Horseback riding
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Hockey
  • Skiing
  • In-line skating
  • Snowboarding

Many other athletic activities may put you at a higher risk of suffering a wrist fracture. Age can also be a risk factor, as older individuals may fall on their wrist and break it more easily than a younger person.

How Wrist Fractures are Diagnosed

A physical examination and medical history will be used to help diagnose your wrist fracture. Your doctor will likely order imaging tests, as well. X-rays are commonly used as a diagnostic tool for wrist fractures.

Wrist Fracture Treatment

Treating any type of broken bone requires putting the bone back into the proper position. With wrist fractures, there are several treatment options, depending on the break. 

In some cases, the bone may already be in a good position and surgery won’t be necessary. A plaster cast can be used to help keep the bone in the right position as it heals. 

Another non-surgical treatment option for wrist fracture is known as reduction. This procedure allows the doctor to move the bone into place without making an incision. This is known as a closed reduction and can be used with some types of wrist fractures.

Once the bone is in the proper position, a splint or cast will be used to allow it to properly heal.

Types of Wrist Fracture Surgery

Surgery for wrist fractures helps to improve the alignment of the bones. This is also known as an open reduction. Depending on the fracture, some options are available to help hold the bone in place including:

  • Metal pins
  • Screws
  • Plates
  • External fixator

It’s common for a combination of these options to be used with a wrist fracture surgery.

If the fracture is an open fracture, surgery is necessary as soon as possible. The exposed tissue will need to be cleaned and an external or internal fixation method will be used to repair the damage.

Wrist Fracture Recovery Time

Recovering from a wrist fracture will vary depending on the break and the patient. If surgery isn’t necessary, it’s common for the cast or splint to come off after about 6 weeks. However, if surgery is necessary, the recovery time can be longer.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Dr. Andrachuk offers years of experience with diagnosing and repairing wrist fractures of all different types. Whether you’re experiencing pain after a fall or a collision in an athletic event, it’s time to seek medical attention. Dr. Andrachuk offers the latest surgical techniques and nonsurgical treatments to get you back to normal and relieve the pain. Contact us today and schedule your in-person or telemedicine appointment!