A broken wrist is considered as a common injury particularly among children who engage in contact sports or the elderly with osteoporosis. A broken wrist is basically a fracture that involves one of the bones within the wrist and typically occurs after extreme pressure or force is applied on the hand. If this injury is not treated with first aid care appropriately, the wrist will not heal properly and can become prone to fractures and complications later.
It is important to note that a broken wrist typically occurs among children and the elderly due to their soft or brittle bones. The common cause is by falling forward and the hands are used as a barrier to the ground. The force and weight that the wrist was subjected to can cause the bones to buckle and break. Nevertheless, various types of fractures are considered to be sprains and are undiagnosed and not treated. A broken wrist that is not treated will increase the risk to fractures and can even impair the motor skills of the affected hand.
Indicators of a broken wrist
The common indications that an individual has a broken wrist include tenderness, bruising, stiffness in the joints and fingers, swelling, severe pain when squeezing the hand or holding objects, coldness or numbness in the fingers and severe deformity.
The wrist can also be broken without any deformity and severe pain. Always bear in mind that these fractures are often mistaken as sprains and end up untreated.
Possible complications of a broken wrist
A broken wrist can later on result to stiffness or aching of the joints. The pain tends to go away after a span of two or three months but if the fracture is severe, the pain can be permanent. A severe case of fracture can also damage the surrounding blood vessels and cause circulation issues. Once an individual sustained a wrist fracture, he/she is also at risk for osteoarthritis.
How to treat a broken wrist
The doctor will immobilize the broken wrist using a cast or a splint. Medications for pain and swelling will be prescribed. If the individual experiences severe pain, an opiate might be prescribed.
Once the cast is removed, the individual would require exercises or therapy in order to restore the functionality of the muscles in the wrist. This will help ensure that the individual will have lower risk to complications as well as minimize the pain and stiffness. It will also help restore the full motion of the affected hand. In some cases, the doctor might recommend surgery to correct a fracture.
When to consult a doctor?
If the individual is uncertain if he/she has a broken wrist, instruct him/her to wait for 24 hours to see if the swelling or bruising will vanish. The pain can be managed with basic first aid by simply providing over-the-counter medications for pain. If the symptoms persist after 24 hours, it is best to consult a doctor.