Wrist is a complex joint. It is a transition area between forearm and the palm. Wrist is made up of a row of carpal bones. They are tiny bones articulating with each other. It is because of these bones the wrist can move in all direction. The lower ends of two forearm bone lies on each side of wrist.
Fracture of wrist bone is common and they occur in all age groups. Wrist fracture generally occurs during a fall when the hand is extended and stretched in excess. Children with wrist fracture may have small amount of swelling and deformity while in adults the deformity is more obvious affecting the function of wrist joint.
Just like any fracture, wrist fracture can be classified as simple, compound or green-stick fracture.
Types Of Wrist Fractures
Scaphoid is one of the carpal bones present in wrist joint. Fracture of this bone usually occurs when the hand is overstretched and injured while falling accidentally on the surface. Scaphoid is a carpal bone on the thumb side of wrist and fracture of this small bone is more common in young adults who are more active and do risky movements.
Colle’s fracture is another most common fracture of wrist. It is fracture of lower part of radius bone. The fracture is approximately 2 to 3 cms above the articulation of wrist bones. Colle’s fracture appears like a inverted spoon when the hand is kept on the table. It is common in adults as well as children, but more in elderly individuals who have osteoporotic bones. It occurs when the hands is overextended during a fall.
Symptoms Of A Fractured Wrist
Patient having wrist fracture mostly has history of fall and over stretching of hand. Pain in wrist joint is one of the prominent symptoms of wrist fracture. Along with pain and tenderness there is swelling in the wrist area. Patient complains of severe pain while griping an object or when he squeezes a cloth. On the skin surface there may be bruising due to traumatic injury.
In case of colle’s fracture the injury is obvious and the wrist appears bent. Colle’s fracture appears like a dinner fork deformity. This deformity is produced due to posterior displacement of radius bone of forearm. There may be numbness if median nerve which passes deep through the bones is damaged.
Treatment For Fracture Of Wrist
If you suspect fracture of wrist joint, the first step is to immobilize the wrist. An X-ray of wrist joint is necessary for knowing proper location of fracture in the wrist. Avoid holding or griping any object. In case of colle’s fracture, it needs to be reduced under anesthesia.
The orthopedic surgeon maneuvers the dislocation or the fracture and adjusts in its place. Once it is adjusted, a cast is put which has to be kept for one to two months. An x-ray is taken to know whether the fracture is properly reduced. Sometimes percutaneous pinning may be needed for proper alignment of bones.
Wrist fracture usually heals in six to seven weeks. If the bones are osteoporotic, patient may be advised extra calcium supplement in the form of medicine or increasing the intake of milk and other dairy products. Once the wrist fracture has healed physical therapy is most important.
Patient may be advised to do passive as well as active exercises. The prognosis in most patients with wrist fracture is good. There may be slight stiffness in the beginning which may gradually reduce.