Distal Radius Wrist Fracture
A Distal Radius Fracture is among the most common type of fracture. This type of fracture to the wrist is generally the result of a person extending their hand to break a fall.
The radius is a bone in the forearm, and the distal radius is the end of the forearm bone at the wrist. When the forearm is extended in order to break a sudden fall, it becomes rigid and is subjected to extreme compression and a twisting force – resulting in a fracture to the wrist. This type of fracture can also occur as a result of direct trauma, such as in an auto accident.
When a fracture like this occurs, pain is immediate and there will be an obvious deformity of the wrist. Less common than a fractured radius are fractures, or dislocations, of the carpal bones. In either case, a disturbing deformity is evident.
Some of the symptoms patients experience with a Distal Radius Fracture include the disturbing deformity, pain, stiffness, swelling in the affected area, and loss of movement. Diagnosis is confirmed on an X-ray.
Treatment of a Distal Radius Fracture
Ensuring that the bones heal in the correct alignment is important when treating a Distal Radius Fracture. The most appropriate treatment for a patient with a fractured wrist that is not displaced (out of alignment) is a simple brace that is worn for three weeks. If bones are not in proper alignment, then surgery is indicated to ensure that the fracture fragments or dislocated carpal bones are replaced in their normal anatomic positions.
For athletes requiring the use of their wrist, such as in motocross, cycling or tennis, recovering from a fracture without stiffness is very important. This is done by performing surgery only when necessary to realign the bones and, treating post surgery without a cast so that they may begin early motion of their wrist and fingers. The more motion patients have, the easier it is to resume their sport.
Following surgery patients return home and begin exercises on their hand and wrist the next day. And by six to 12 weeks, they can fully resume activities.