A fractured wrist is a crack in the wrist bones and immediate treatment is required for proper healing. This injury is among the most frequently diagnosed and treated orthopedic injuries in the United States. Every year, nearly 250,000 Americans fracture the distal radius bone in their wrist. Luckily, a wrist fracture is often easily treatable and you can have a great recovery by following your doctor’s instructions.
About Wrist Injuries
The wrist comprises two forearm bones: the radius and ulna. When the radius bone, the largest of the two, is fractured, it is referred to as a distal radius fracture. This fracture often occurs from falling on an outstretched arm. The type of fracture you have will determine the course of treatment. Small breaks that do not move the bone may simply require a cast while open fractures with skin breaks will often require surgery.
Recovery After a Wrist Fracture
Depending on the extent of your injury, your recovery may take a while, but patience is key to ensure the bone heals evenly. Following these steps can ensure a smooth recovery and the best possible results for healing:
Manage Pain and Swelling
One of the first things you should do is talk to your surgeon about how to limit swelling after wrist fracture surgery. They will likely recommend that you elevate your arm as much as possible, apply ice, and take pain medicine, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen
If the pain is severe after surgery, your doctor can prescribe narcotics.
A cast is a hard bandage that immobilizes the arm (or another treated body part) and prevents movement while it heals. Sometimes a cast is the only treatment needed, or a cast is placed after surgery. The cast must be worn for about six weeks and kept dry at all times. Be careful not to let your cast get wet when showering or bathing.
Maintain an Active Lifestyle
Most patients will suffer from wrist stiffness, which will slowly improve over time. While your arm is cast, you can continue with lower body exercises to maintain your physical health. Physical therapy may be recommended by your surgeon to help you regain strength in your arm after the cast is removed. Ask your surgeon three to four months after your surgery if you can increase your activity level.
Things to Watch Out for During Recovery
If you have excessive swelling or pain after surgery, call our office immediately. Your cast may need to be loosened to alleviate pain syndrome, a possible complication from casting. If osteoporosis (sometimes called brittle bones) is the cause of your break, your surgeon can discuss tips for preventing future breaks.
About Regional Hand Center
The orthopedic hand surgeons at Regional Hand Center are leading experts in hand and upper extremity injuries. They can treat chronic pain, nerve and tendon injuries, wrist and hand fractures, and more. If you are experiencing pain in your wrist and suspect a break, contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our two offices in Visalia and Fresno, CA.Back to All Blogs