A broken wrist is a very common injury. In fact, the radius is the larger bone in the forearm and is the most commonly broken bone in the arm. The distal end of the radius is the end toward the wrist, and a fracture of the distal radius occurs when the area of the radius near the wrist breaks.
A distal radius fracture almost always occurs about 1 inch from the end of the bone. One of the most common distal radius fractures is a Colles fracture where the broken fragment tilts upward. Other fractures include intra-articular (extending into the joint), extra-articular (does not extend into the joint), open (bone breaks the skin), and comminuted (broken in more than two pieces). The most common mechanism of injury is falling on an outstretched arm.
Symptoms involve immediate pain, tenderness, bruising, swelling, and deformity. Emergency care is important if the injury is very painful, the wrist is deformed or numb, or the fingers are not getting blood supply. An x-ray is almost always necessary to confirm or rule out a fracture.
Treatment is based around the fact that bones must be put back into place and stabilized until they heal back together. After proper bone alignment, a splint or cast may be placed on the arm to allow for uninterrupted healing. Surgery is sometimes necessary depending on the severity. The surgery may involve metal pins, plates, and/or an external fixator in order to help keep the bones in place.
See the attached article for more details regarding distal radius fractures. Distal Radius Fracture
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