Wrist fracture is a condition when one or more of the bones in the wrist are broken or cracked. When experience With a broken wrist, the patient will feel severe pain in that part followed by swelling and bruising.
Wrist fractures generally occur due to accidents that cause a person to fall on their hands, for example due to slips, accidents, or sports. Patients should immediately consult a doctor if they suspect a broken wrist.
Symptoms of a Wrist Fracture
When the wrist is broken, the patient will feel pain followed by swelling and bruising in the wrist area. Then the patient's wrist can also feel stiff. In addition, other symptoms that can appear when a wrist fracture occurs are:
- Difficulty moving the fingers.
- Changes in the shape of the wrist, for example being bent.
- Bleeding, if the fracture breaks muscle tissue or penetrates the skin.
When the wrist is broken, the sufferer can hear the sound of bones breaking, especially when moved.
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Immediately see a doctor or go to the hospital if you experience symptoms of a broken wrist, especially if you experience unbearable pain, numb hands or arms, and fingers that look pale and difficult to move.
The above symptoms are not necessarily caused by a broken wrist, it could be due to a sprain or tissue tear. Even so, if you have an injury to your wrist, you should immediately see a doctor for an examination and get treatment.
Causes of Wrist Fracture
Wrist fractures occur because the bones in the area cannot withstand the pressure, either from a fall or from an impact.
Wrist fractures generally occur when a person falls with the position of the hand that wants to support the body. In addition, wrist fractures can also occur due to impact when someone is doing physical activities or sports, such as soccer, basketball, or self-defense.
Wrist fractures due to falls or collisions can also occur when someone has a motor vehicle accident 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 so that the bones become weak.
- Smoking habit.
- A genetic disorder that causes weak and brittle bones.
- Take drugs that can reduce bone density, such as asthma, cancer drugs, and drugs for organ transplants.
Wrist Fracture Diagnosis
To diagnose a wrist fracture, the doctor will start by asking the chronology of events and the symptoms you feel. After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination of the fracture area.
The doctor will also check for swelling, changes in shape, open wounds in the fracture area, nerve damage in the fracture area, and check the ability to move the hand.
If needed, the doctor will perform additional examinations with scans to determine the location and severity of the fracture. Scans can be done with X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.
Wrist Fracture Treatment
Wrist fractures will be treated by a doctor at the hospital. However, before going to the hospital, there are several first aid steps that the patient can take, namely:
- Limit the movement of the broken hand, so that there is no displacement of the bones and accelerates 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 arrival at the hospital, as a first step in treatment, the doctor will examine the location and severity of the wrist fracture that occurred. Furthermore, treatment will be adjusted according to the severity of the occurrence. Some of the efforts made by doctors include:
- Install splint or plaster castIf you only suffer a minor wrist fracture, where the bones are still in position, the doctor can simply put a splint or cast to keep the wrist in position and give pain medication.
- Bone repositionIf the position of the wrist bones shift, but the shift is not too severe, the doctor can restore the position of the bones to their original position, and then held in place using a cast.
- Pen insert operationIn the case of a severe wrist fracture, the orthopedic doctor will perform a pen surgery to stabilize the position of the bone so that it remains in the right position when the patient recovers later.
After undergoing surgery, the pen will be removed when the wrist bone has completely healed. If needed, the doctor will perform a bone graft on the broken bone by removing bone tissue from other parts of the body.
After the patient is discharged from the hospital, the doctor will advise the patient to carry out follow-up care at home, namely:
- Position your hands higher than your chest with pillows to relieve pain or swelling.
- Take pain medication.
- Routinely move your fingers, elbows, and shoulders slowly to relax them.
The duration of wrist fracture healing in each patient is different. This is determined by age, the severity of the fracture, and the extent of damage to the surrounding tissue. During the healing period of wrist fractures, doctors advise patients to:
- Take prescribed painkillers to reduce pain during the healing period.
- Wearing a cast and splint until the bone is completely healed. The doctor will also teach the patient how to take care of the cast at home.
- Keep the cast dry and not exposed to water.
- Delaying activity to prevent further damage to the bones.
- Check yourself according to the specified schedule so that the doctor can monitor the healing process carefully.
Make sure to always monitor the condition of the wrist that is still in the healing process. If you see anything suspicious or unusual (e.g. skin discoloration, severe pain, cracking in the cast, signs of infection, or something else) see a doctor immediately.
Complications of Wrist Fracture
Although rare, complications of wrist fractures are potentially experienced if not treated properly. The risks of these complications include:
- Stiff to the point of paralysis, especially if the injury is deep enough.
- Osteoarthritis, usually occurs when the broken bone reaches the joint.
- Damage to nerves or blood vessels, which interferes with blood circulation.
Wrist Fracture Prevention
Falling or experiencing an impact 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 doing physical activities that risk causing a broken wrist
- Avoid ground, road, or floor surfaces that have the potential to cause you to trip (e.g. potholed, rocky, or slippery roads).
- Always wear proper, non-slip footwear to prevent slipping, especially in wet areas.
- Use proper lighting or lamps in the house to avoid slipping.
- Install safety devices in the house, for example in the form of a handrail in the bathroom or on the stairs.
- Take care of eye health or take medication if you have problems with your eyes so that your vision remains good.
- Maintain bone health and strength by exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and consuming adequate amounts of vitamin D or calcium.
For women who are at risk for osteoporosis, it is advisable to consult a doctor to find out how to reduce the risk of bone loss and fractures.