The definition of a broken wrist is a break in one or more of the bones in the wrist. The wrist is made up of the two bones in the forearm called the radius and the ulna. Also included are eight carpal bones. These carpal bones are situated between the base of the fingers and the end of the forearm bones. The carpal bone which is most commonly fractured is called the scaphoid or navicular bone.
A fractured wrist is mostly caused by a fall on an outstretched hand, in which your weight lands on the palm of your hand. The end of one of the forearm bones (the radius) may also break in this type of fall, depending on the position of the hand on landing.
Scaphoid fractures occur in people of all ages which includes children. This type of injury usually happens during sporting activities or can occur because of a motor vehicle accident. People aged between 20 to 30 years are most susceptible to experience this injury.
Symptoms following a broken wrist typically involve the following:
- Pain that gets gradually worse
- Swelling and tenderness around the wrist
- The wrist is bruised
- Lack of motion in the wrist or thumb
- Visible deformity in the wrist
The symptoms listed above can also occur if the wrist is strained rather than broken. In any case the best form of action would be to go to hospital and have an X-Ray. If the bone has broken cleanly, you may have heard a crack or grinding noise when the accident took place. The bone can break diagonally, diagonally, or in a spiral pattern. In the worst type of cases the bone may well be sticking out in numerous places.
It is vitally important not to drink or eat anything if you think your wrist is broken, as you may need a general anaesthetic (be put to sleep) to allow doctors to realign the bone.
Applying an ice pack to the injured area (try a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) can help reduce pain and swelling.
If your child does indeed have a suspected fractured wrist, try and get someone else to drive which will mean that you will be able to support the child.