A Fractured Wrist Guide

Any fracture or break in wrist bones is a painful experience. Although many people see a fractured wrist as being a fairly minor injury, this couldn’t be further than the truth. An injured wrist will invariably mean one of your hands is also out of use, making normal everyday tasks so much harder. If you suffer a serious wrist injury, you need to know how to go about receiving the best treatment, and making sure you are on the road to a quick recovery. This short guide aims to help people understand what a fractured wrist is, how it occurs, and what the best treatment is.

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What is a Fractured Wrist?

A wrist fracture or break of wrist is the term used to describe a break injury to any of the ten bones which make up the human wrist. The most commonly broken wrist bone is the radius, which is one of the two long bones found in the forearm.

Fractured Wrist Key Facts

A fractured wrist is one of the most commonly reported and operated on orthopaedic conditions in the whole world. In the UK about 1 in every 10 broken bones is one of the bones which make up the human wrist, with the radius being the most commonly broken bone of all.

What makes a fractured wrist such a common injury, is the fact that unlike many other injuries that only ever really occur due to an accident, a fractured wrist is also a very common injury caused by recreational and sporting activities.

When it comes to slips, trips and falls, the most common type of personal accident in the UK, a fractured wrist is also a frequent result. Many people when they fall, naturally put out their hands to try and break their fall. In older age groups, the already fragile wrist bones are simply not up to the task. The graph below shows how as people become older, they are far more likely to suffer a fracture from a slip, trip or fall.

NHS wrist fracture statistics

NHS wrist fracture statistics

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Fractured Wrist?

If you believe you may have fractured your wrist, knowing what the key symptoms of the injury are can help you decided whether you need immediate medical attention. Fractured wrist symptoms Include:

  • Sharp and continuous pain or tenderness at or close to the wrist.
  • Unnatural bruising or swelling of the tissue around the wrist.
  • Moving your hand or your arm is difficult and causes pain.
  • Your lower arm or your wrist is a strange shape. For example, having a slight kink or even a bend where none should be.
  • When the injury happened, you heard a grinding of a snapping noise.
  • If there is blood around the wrist, that has been caused by a bone puncturing the skin.
  • You might feel a strange tingling or pins and needles sensation in your hand, wrist or arm.
  • Your hand, wrist or lower arm might be completely numb.
  • The general symptoms of shock might also be present such as nausea or dizziness.

It is important to understand that symptoms will vary due to the severity of the fracture. For example, hairline fractured wrist symptoms would generally be less easy to spot than a broken wrist that has snapped one of the large bones in the lower arm. The best advice we can give is that if you suspect for any reason you may have suffered a fractured wrist, then to seek medical help as soon as possible.

What Are the Most Common Causes of a Fractured Wrist?

Just as there are many wrist fracture types, then there is also a wide range of ways in which a fractured wrist can be caused. The most common of these are:

  • Slips, trips or falls – a natural reaction for most human beings, when they find themselves falling, is to put their arms out in front of them to help break the fall. This is an extremely common cause of fractured wrist injuries.
  • Road traffic accidents – car and motorcycle accidents are the most common type of accident that results in injury in the UK. A broken or fractured wrist is a common injury sustained in a road traffic accident.

Additionally, a very many fractured wrist injuries are not sustained due to an accident but are sustained through sporting injuries. Sports such as football, rugby, horse riding, hockey, skiing, and trampolining are all frequently the cause of broken wrist injuries.

How to Get a Free Expert Orthopaedic Assessment for Your Broken Bone Report

When a doctors x ray fractured wrist injuries, these important medical records can be included in a full orthopaedic report. An orthopaedic report helps you and the people treating you to understand the severity of your injury, and what its best treatment would be, as well as the odds of recovery. If you would like to find out how to get a completely free orthopaedic report for your fractured wrist injury, then give us a call today. Within half a minute we will be able to let you know whether you qualify for one.

How is a Fractured Wrist Treated?

The key to a rapid and complete broken wrist recovery is having the injury treated properly, using the best methods. Thirty years ago, simply being administered painkillers and then getting sent home with a broken wrist cast was the standard treatment. Modern medicine is entirely different, even the fractured wrist cast itself has changed completely from the plaster casts of old.

If you think you have suffered a fractured wrist injury, there are some steps you can take immediately to ensure you get the best treatment.

In the case of bad fractures, you should call 999 for an ambulance. For less serious fractures you should head to the Accident & Emergency Department at your local hospital. Although for very minor fractures, you could go to the minor injuries unit, which could see you being treated quicker as A&E departments are notoriously busy.

Whilst you are waiting to be treated you should try not to move your wrist, hand or arm. If you can, make a temporary sling to support the entire arm and immobilise it.

If you have an open bleeding wound that was caused at the same time as the fracture, then apply gentle pressure with a clean bandage or dressing to stop the bleeding.

To help with the pain, you can apply an ice pack to the fracture. If you don’t have a proper ice pack, then a bag of frozen vegetables from the freezer, wrapped in a towel will work just as well.

If you believe you have a serious fracture, make sure not to eat or drink anything until you have been seen by a doctor. You may need emergency surgery that would be delayed if you eat or drink.

Once you arrive at the hospital or clinic where you will be treated, the professionals will take over and begin your medical treatment.

You will be asked if you are in any pain, and if you are, you will likely be offered painkillers. You are free to refuse these if you prefer not to take them. A nurse will also try and immobilise your arm in the short term, using either a sling or fractured wrist splint.

You will be taken for an X-ray, to find out if you have actually broken your wrist, and if you have, how badly it is broken. What happens next depends on the severity of the fracture.

For minor fractures:

A cast or a splint might be attached to your arm. This might be done immediately, or it might be done in a few days once the swelling has gone down.

Most people will be given a sling to support their damaged arm. If you need them, you will also be given enough painkillers for a few days use, and instructed on how to take them. You will also be taught all about how to care for your cast. If the treatment is for a childs fractured wrist then this instruction will be given to the parents instead.

For serious fractures:

A doctor may need to adjust the alignment of the bones in your wrist so that it heals properly. The doctor will do this manually using their hands, and you will have had your arm numbed for the process.

For some serious injuries, such as a shattered fractured wrist ulnar a doctor won’t be able to realign the bones using just their hands. And in these cases, surgery will be used instead. This may also result in pins plates, rods and wires being used to keep the bones in place while they heal. This is always temporary and will be removed once the bones have set. Your arm will then be put in a cast and you can then go home.

What Free Private Treatment Can I Qualify For?

You may not realise it, but you could be eligible to receive some free private treatment for your fractured or broken wrist. There is a wide range of free treatments available, depending on where you live.

These treatments could help you recover from your broken wrist much quicker than normal. If you would like to find out if you qualify for any of this free private treatment for a fractured wrist, then please contact us today.

Is There Any Other Good Treatment I Can Get for Free?

If you have suffered a fractured wrist or sprain injury, you could be eligible to receive a free fractured wrist sling. Many people can claim tertiary treatment for their condition free, which can help them towards a speedier recovery. If you would like to find out if any of this treatment is available to you, then please contact us today to find out.

How Long Does a Fractured Wrist Take to Heal?

The answer to the question how long does fractured wrist take to heal? Has no simple answer. The fractured wrist healing time will always depend entirely on the type of injury you have sustained, and how serious it is. Take a look at some broken wrist pictures and you will see how some look far worse than others. The bad ones will always take longer to heal. For example, distal radius fracture healing time is quite rapid, as this is a large bone that is easy to treat.

There are some things you can do to make sure that you have the shortest recovery time possible. However, please understand that your cast will need to stay on until the break is healed, and this will be a month at a minimum and possibly two or more months. While you are wearing your cast, these broken wrist recovery tips will help to lower the recovery time:

  • Don’t put any strain on your arm, or lift anything heavy. Stay away from sports, don’t drive or do anything else that could stress your arm. Don’t stop moving it entirely, a little movement is good.
  • Always keep the cast dry, and make sure you keep your arm raised and supported whenever you can.
  • Some simple, light stretching exercises can help to stop your arm from stiffening up while it is in a cast. Talk to your doctor before you start doing this, and follow his recommendations.
  • Keep an eye on your condition. If you notice your skin has changed colour at all, or you have any odd tingling or numbness in your arm, then you must inform your doctor right away. Also, if you notice any additional swelling or your arm seems to have become infected under the cast, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Talk to your doctor about how you can effectively begin enjoying a regular life and how your fractured wrist treatment should include a plan for getting back to normal after your injury.
  • Start planning how you will manage your recuperation, and begin preparing for a return to work, even if you are not entirely healed. You may not regain full use of your wrist for many months.
  • Start to arrange for physiotherapy for your recuperation. You will likely not be able to drive yourself at first, so you will need someone to help you too and from your appointments. Public transport might also work, but it would be best if you still had somebody along to assist you as your arm will be very weak for the first few weeks after removing the cast.

How Can I Recover Safer and Possibly Faster?

Did you know that you might be eligible for some free high-quality physiotherapy in your local area? Would you like to find out more? Give us a call today for a chat, and we will let you know if we think you could be eligible, it will take you less than 30 seconds, and the cost of a local phone call to find out.

What are the Possible Complications with a Fractured Wrist?

As with any serious injury, a broken wrist could lead to further complications. For example, broken wrist surgery plate and screws used to keep bones immobile while they mend could become infected. They would need to be removed, and this will mean your bones can no longer be supported as well during the healing process.

People who have to wear a plaster cast immobilizing and arm for extended periods often overcompensate, using their remaining good side overmuch. This can lead to strain and tear injuries.

Furthermore, people who for example are right handed may find themselves having to use their left hand for dangerous activities such as using a sharp knife or scissors. This can lead to further injuries through accidents.

Do You Think Your Doctor Might Have Missed Something About Your Injury?

Doctors are not perfect and from time to time may miss something on a fractured wrist x ray. If you wish to make sure that you have been treated correctly, we hope this guide has been useful so far. Here are a number of other useful links that will tell you more about fractured wrist injuries.

NHS – Fractured Arm or Wrist Information
How to Make a Temporary Sling
How to Care for a Plaster Cast

Are There Any Long-Term Health Issues Caused by a Fractured Wrist?

As with any serious injury, a wrist break or sprain may result in a long-term effect on your health. A perfect fractured wrist recovery is never guaranteed, and the results of treatment are dependant on a number of factors such as a patients age, general health and their living environment.

For fractured wrist injuries, there are a number of long-term health issues that could continue well after the cast itself has been removed. These are:

  • General weakness of the arm, wrist or hand – sometimes when you break a bone, it never knits together as good as it was originally. This means that there is the possibility that this particular bone is weaker, and can be broken again more easily in the future.
  • Loss of grip strength – some fractured wrists also cause damage to the muscles and ligaments in the wrist or hand. These, even when they heal, can leave the hand less capable than it was originally.
  • Loss of arm strength – as with the loss of grip above, when the large bones of the lower arm are damaged, they can also cause damage to the surrounding muscles and ligaments, leading to weakness in the arm.
  • Loss of feeling in the hand or fingers – when nerves are damaged during the injury that caused the fractured wrist, these sometimes do not heal entirely. This can leave a person with reduced feeling.

Contact Us to Find Out if You Qualify for Free Private Treatment

Many people do not fully understand that there may be some form of private treatment available to them when they suffer a fractured wrist injury.

This free treatment may be something simple, like being able to claim for a free sling or another form of medical supplies. It may consist of being able to have a full orthopaedic report create on their behalf. In some cases, it could be advanced free private treatment such as professional physiotherapy to help them back to work.

If you would like to know if you qualify for any of this free private treatment for your fractured or broken wrist, then call us today on 020 3870 4868. It will take less than 30 seconds of your time for us to find out if you are eligible for any free private treatment in your local area. Let us aid you on your road to recovery by making sure you have access to the medical treatment you are eligible for now.