Wrist Fracture

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Wrist Fracture


Distal end radius fracture is most common fracture of upper limb. It is also a commonest osteoporotic fracture. Distal radius fracture represent approximately one sixth of all fractures.

Risk factors for distal end radius in elderly include decreased mineral density, early menopause, family history. It is more common in females.

Usually it happens on fall on out stretched hand. This happens when people try to balance or hold on wrist when they fall. High velocity injuries like road traffic accidents can also lead to distal radius fractures.


  • Pain around the wrist which worsens on movement or gripping
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Deformity

When to see a doctor

If you have injured wrist and have pain or swelling around wrist it is advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible. Delay in diagnosis may lead to healing in improper alignment, decreased range of movement and grip strength. This can affect ability of doing daily activities.

Diagnosis and Treatment

By clinical examination and x ray doctors usually diagnose the distal radius fracture. Treatment depends on type of fracture, age, patient condition. Treatment can vary from splint, plaster cast, reduction under anesthesia or surgical intervention.


How do I come to know if my wrist is fractured?

Usually there is history of fall on outstretched hand, there is pain, swelling and deformity around wrist.

Can I move wrist if it is fractured?

Fractures around wrist usually lead to pain & swelling. Movement is usually painful, however some patients with minor injuries can move. It is advisable to take medical opinion.

How much time is required for wrist fracture to heal?

Distal radius fractures usually heal in 8-12 weeks with appropriate treatment.

Can wrist fracture heal without cast?

Fracture healing is natural process. Human body tries to heal any injured bone. For healing of bone in appropriate position, Plaster cast or surgical intervention may be needed after Orthopedic consultation.

Do hairline wrist fracture need a cast?

Immobilization of the wrist can hold the bones and joints in position to allow the hairline fracture to heal faster and reduce the pain at fracture site during the healing process

Can I move fingers after plaster cast?

Usually finger movement is allowed after cast for fracture distal radius. However lifting or carrying anything is not advised.

When can I start to walk after surgery?

Keeping injured hand elevated is advisable in initial days. You can make use of pillow to elevate. Elevation reduces swelling.

When can I start driving after wrist fracture?

You can start driving after consulting doctor when significant fracture healing is achieved and significant wrist movements are restored.

What happens if wrist fracture is left untreated?

When untreated, wrist fracture can go in nonunion, delayed union or mal union. Pain and swelling persists for longer duration.

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