A number of scenarios may lead to a wrist fracture, including automobile accidents and falls. Having weak bones (such as caused by osteoporosis) can also make an individual more susceptible to wrist breaks. As with any orthopedic injury, the type & severity of a wrist fracture will play a role in determining the right course of treatment. This article will provide an overview of commonly used wrist fracture treatment methods and explain when each might be appropriate.
What Is Involved in Wrist Fracture Treatment?
A wrist fracture is typically accompanied by moderate-to-severe pain and swelling. Often, it will be difficult or impossible for the patient to move or use the injured hand, although this is not always the case. Let’s explore how the most appropriate wrist fracture treatment might vary from patient to patient, depending on the type and severity of the break:
- Splint/Cast – If the bones do not move out of place when the wrist is fractured, it is known as a non-displaced break and will typically be considered stable. Conversely, when one or more bones are displaced, the wrist will need to be “set” to facilitate proper healing. In either scenario, the fracture may be stable enough to be treated with a splint or cast. A padded splint is often worn initially to help alleviate pain, align the bones and support the wrist. For a fracture that is displaced but stable, a cast may be used to keep the wrist correctly positioned once the bone has been set.
- Surgery – For more severe, unstable wrist fractures, surgery may be necessary to hold the bones in place and prevent shifting. A number of devices may be used to repair a broken wrist, including screws, plates, pins and external fixators. A tiny camera called an arthroscope may sometimes be utilized to help the orthopedic surgeon get a detailed view of the injured wrist.
Ultimately, the right treatment(s) will depend on the nature of the break, plus other individual factors including the patient’s age, their overall health and whether the affected hand is their dominant one. Recovery time for a broken wrist will also differ from patient to patient, based on these same factors. The fractured bone is usually healed in 4-6 weeks, but the soft tissues may take longer to fully heal.
Rely On Dr. Soffer for World-Class Treatment in Berks County
If you believe you may have sustained a broken wrist, Dr. Stephen Soffer is here to help you heal by providing cutting-edge care. Drawing on over 20 years of experience as well as training from world-renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, Dr. Soffer offers all the most advanced surgical and nonsurgical treatments for wrist fractures and other orthopedic injuries. To arrange an in-person or telemedicine appointment with him, call our office today at 610-375-4949.