A fracture of the distal radius (wrist fracture) is a common fracture that is usually occurs from a fall onto an outstretched hand.
A fracture of the distal radius (wrist fracture) is very common among people of all ages. It usually occurs from a fall onto an outstretched hand although it may result from other types of accidents. There will initially be pain and swelling in the wrist and there may or may not be a wrist deformity depending on the severity of the fracture. The wrist is evaluated with an x-ray which will help diagnose the fracture and determine its severity. In cases where surgical intervention is required, the patient may also need to have a CT scan done of the wrist to evaluate the exact fracture pattern.
A fracture that is nondisplaced (anatomic alignment maintained) can be treated conservatively in a splint or cast. Fractures that are displaced may be treated with closed reduction and splinting. This is generally done in the office or emergency room under local anesthesia. The doctor will assess the fracture on x-ray and then adjust the bones back into proper alignment. The wrist will then be placed in a splint or cast. This treatment needs to be followed carefully with serial x-rays to ensure the bones maintain the proper alignment. The fracture will take 4-6 weeks to heal and will need to remain immobilized during that time. A fracture that is significantly displaced, comminuted, or intraarticular may require surgical fixation (ORIF). Please refer to our “Procedures” section for more information.
Every patient receives an in-depth consultation to devise a treatment plan that is right for their problem. Our specialists prefer non-operative and non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy, medications, and/or injections. When we require surgery, we will then use minimally invasive surgical techniques to fix your problem, whether it is fixing a broken bone or repairing a tendon. Our goal is always to get you back to living your life normally as soon as possible.