Accidents can happen at any time, and we may use our hands to protect ourselves instinctively during a fall, which may result in a wrist or hand fracture. It’s essential to know how to respond in such a situation. This article will provide the steps to take when you suspect a wrist fracture.
Is it a Wrist Fracture or Contusion?
Wrist fractures can involve various bones, such as the radius, ulna, or scaphoid. Common fracture symptoms include pain, reduced finger mobility, and swelling with possible deformity in the affected area. However, if finger mobility is normal and the wrist profile appears regular, it is more likely a contusion.
When Should You Seek Emergency Care?
If the pain is manageable, applying ice and resting the wrist can help during the initial phase. However, if the pain persists, swelling worsens, and mobility is impaired, it is necessary to go to the emergency room. When possible, temporarily immobilize the wrist by resting it on a rigid support, covering the top of the wrist, and taping it with a cloth or duct tape. Applying an ice pack can also help.
Diagnosis of a Wrist Fracture
Upon arrival at the emergency room, a clinical examination and X-ray will be performed to confirm the presence and characteristics of the fracture. In exceptional cases, a CT scan may be recommended.
Treatment for Wrist Fracture
Treatment options for wrist fractures depend on the type of fracture. The specialist may determine if a closed brace or cast is sufficient or if surgery is required to realign and stabilize the fracture. The most common surgical procedure is osteosynthesis, where a plate is attached to the bone using screws. This minimally invasive procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis and lasts about one hour.
Recovery from a Wrist Fracture
Fractures generally take about five weeks to heal, but proper treatment, including surgery, can expedite regaining essential hand function. Factors such as age, functional needs, and the quality of the rehabilitation protocol following the injury will influence the recovery process.
Note: It is essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.