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Wrist Fractures

Wrist fractures are the most common fracture because we use our hands throughout daily living.  The wrist joint is composed of the ends of the two long bones in the forearm (radius and ulna) and the first row of carpal bones in the hand (scaphoid, lunate, triquetrium).  Usually it is the radius that is fractured because it is larger at the wrist and this bone absorbs the majority of any weight placed through the wrist.  A fracture of the distal end of the radius at the wrist is also known as a Colles fracture.  

If you have suffered a fracture in your wrist, it is likely that you have moderate to significant pain in the wrist, point tenderness, swelling, bruising and may have noticed a deformity.  An x-ray is warranted to evaluate the fracture and help determine the proper course of treatment.  Depending on the patient’s age, severity and location of the fracture, either surgical or non-operative treatment can be rendered.  If surgical intervention is required, it is likely that a plate and screws will be used to stabilize the fracture site.  Occasionally, the tip of the ulna is fractured along with the radius but this part of the bone does not play a major role in the wrist and does not typically require additional treatment or stabilization.  Regardless of treatment, a period of immobilization is likely followed by a course of rehabilitation to restore motion and regain strength.