A broken wrist is a condition when one or several bones in the wrist are broken or cracked. A broken wrist will cause severe pain in that area followed by swelling and bruising.
Broken wrists generally occur due to accidents that cause a person to fall resting on his hands, for example due to slipping, accidents, or sports. This condition must be treated immediately, because delay in treatment can permanently interfere with hand movements.
Causes of Wrist Fractures
A broken wrist occurs because the bones in that area cannot withstand the pressure, either from a fall or from an impact.
A broken wrist generally occurs when a person falls on the position of the hand that wants to support the body. In addition, a broken wrist can also occur due to a collision in physical activity or sports, such as football, basketball or martial arts.
Wrist fractures due to falls or collisions can also occur as a result of motor vehicle accidents on the highway.
There are several things that can increase the risk of a broken wrist, namely:
- Osteoporosis disease
- Lack of vitamin D and calcium until the bones become weak
- Smoking habit
- Overweight or obesity
- A genetic disorder that causes weak and brittle bones
- Consumption of corticosteroids or drugs that can reduce bone density, such as asthma or cancer drugs
Symptoms of a Broken Wrist
When the wrist is broken, there will be pain followed by swelling and bruising in the wrist area. The patient's wrist can also feel stiff.
Other symptoms that can appear when a broken wrist occurs are:
- Difficulty moving the fingers
- Changes in the shape of the wrist, for example becoming bent
- Bleeding if the fracture breaks muscle tissue or penetrates the skin
When the wrist is broken, sufferers can hear the sound of bones breaking, especially when moved.
When to go to the doctor
Immediately go to a doctor or hospital if you experience symptoms of a broken wrist, especially if you experience unbearable pain, your hands or arms are numb, and your fingers look pale and are difficult to move.
The symptoms above are not necessarily caused by a broken wrist, but could be the result of a sprained or torn tissue. Even so, if you have an injury to your wrist, you should immediately see a doctor to undergo an examination and get treatment.
Diagnosis of a Broken Wrist
To diagnose a broken wrist, the doctor will start by asking about the chronology of events and the symptoms you are feeling. After that, the doctor will do a physical examination of the fracture area.
The doctor will also check for swelling, deformity, open wounds or nerve damage in the fracture area, and examine the hand's ability to move.
If needed, the doctor will carry out additional examinations with scans to determine the location and severity of the patient's broken wrist. Scanning can be done with X-rays , CT scans, or MRI.
Broken Wrist Treatment
Treatment for a broken wrist will be carried out by a doctor at the hospital. However, before going to the hospital, there are several first aid steps that sufferers can take, namely:
- Limit movement in the broken hand, so that the bones do not shift and speed up healing.
- Place a bag of ice cubes on the wrist area to reduce swelling and pain.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers at pharmacies, such as paracetamol , if the pain is unbearable.
Upon arriving at the hospital, the doctor will check the location and severity of the wrist fracture that occurred. Furthermore, treatment will be adjusted to the severity that occurs.
Some of the efforts made by doctors include:
Placement of a splint or cast
If the patient only has a minor wrist fracture and the bone is still in position, the doctor can simply place a splint or cast to keep the wrist in position and give pain relievers.
If the position of the wrist bones shifts but the shift is not too severe, the doctor can return the bones to their original position, then hold them in place using a cast.
Pen pair surgery
In cases of severe wrist fractures, the orthopedic doctor will perform pen pair surgery to stabilize the position of the bones so that they stay in the right position when the patient recovers later.
After undergoing surgery, the pen will be removed when the wrist bones have completely healed. If needed, the doctor will perform bone grafts on broken bones by taking bone tissue from other parts of the body.
After the patient is allowed to go home from the hospital, the doctor will advise the patient to carry out further care at home, namely:
- Positioning your hands higher than your chest using a pillow, to relieve pain or swelling
- Taking pain relievers
- Move your fingers, elbows, and shoulders routinely but slowly, to loosen them up
Healing time _
The healing time for a broken wrist in each patient depends on the age factor, the severity of the fracture, and the level of tissue damage around the broken area. During the healing period of a broken wrist, the doctor will advise the patient to:
- Take pain relievers prescribed by a doctor
- Using casts and splints until the bone is completely healed by not forgetting to practice how to take care of the cast at home
- Keep the cast dry and not exposed to water
- Postponing activity to prevent further damage to the bone
- Check yourself according to a predetermined schedule so that the doctor can monitor the healing process carefully
Make sure to always monitor the condition of the wrist which is still in the process of healing. Immediately see a doctor if suspicious or unusual conditions appear, such as:
- Change in skin color
- Terrible pain
- Cracks in plaster
- Signs of infection
Complications of Broken Wrist
Although rare, a broken wrist has a risk of complications if not treated properly. These complications include:
- Stiff to the point of paralysis, especially if the injuries are severe enough
- Osteoarthritis , if the broken bone reaches the joint
- Nerve or blood vessel damage that interferes with blood circulation
Prevention of Broken Wrist
Falling or experiencing a collision that causes the arm to get hard pressure is certainly unpredictable. However, to reduce the risk of fractures, you can do the following:
- Use safety equipment when engaging in physical activities that have a risk of causing a broken wrist.
- Avoid potentially tripping ground, road or floor surfaces (e.g. potholes, full of stones or slippery roads).
- Always wear proper, non-slip footwear to prevent slipping, especially in wet areas.
- Use proper lighting or lights in the house so you don't slip.
- Install safety devices in the house, for example in the form of handrails in the bathroom or on the stairs.
- Take care of eye health or take medication if there are eye problems so that vision remains good.
- Maintain bone health and strength by exercising regularly, stopping smoking, and consuming enough vitamin D or calcium .
For women who are at risk of developing osteoporosis, it is advisable to consult a doctor to find out how to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.