Wrist Fracture: Conditions, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Wrist Fracture

A wrist fracture, a broken wrist, is a common injury that can affect any of the 10 bones that comprise the forearm and wrist. The most commonly affected bone is the radius, one of the two long bones in the forearm.

Conditions and Causes

Wrist fractures can occur in various ways, including:

  • Falls on an outstretched hand
  • High-energy incidents like falls from heights, car accidents, and sports injuries (more common in younger people)
  • Low-energy incidents like falls from a standing position (more common in older adults)

People with osteoporosis, a condition that weakens the bones, are at a higher risk of wrist fractures, especially those over the age of 60.


The most common symptoms of a wrist fracture include:

  • Immediate pain, tenderness, bruising, and swelling
  • The wrist may appear deformed or bent in an odd way

Diagnosis and Treatment

To diagnose a wrist fracture, healthcare providers will perform a physical examination, ask about the injury, and order X-rays. Additional imaging tests like CT or MRI scans may be needed to assess the extent of the injury.

Treatment for a wrist fracture depends on the severity and displacement of the broken bones:

  • Non-displaced or minimally displaced fractures may be treated with a splint or cast to keep the bones in place as they heal.
  • Displaced fractures may require a "closed reduction" procedure to realign the bones before casting.
  • Severe or unstable fractures may require surgery to insert plates, screws, or other devices to hold the bones in the correct position.

Recovery and Prevention

Recovery time for a wrist fracture can range from 3 to 6 months or more, depending on the severity of the injury and the treatment method. Physical therapy is often recommended to help regain wrist function and range of motion.

To help prevent wrist fractures, especially in older adults, the following measures are recommended:

  • Maintaining a safe, active lifestyle and a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
  • Performing weight-bearing exercises to strengthen bones
  • Getting regular bone density scans to detect and treat osteoporosis

Bone Growth Stimulators

In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend the use of a bone growth stimulator to help accelerate the healing process of a wrist fracture. These devices use electrical or electromagnetic signals to stimulate the body's natural bone healing process, which can help reduce the time it takes for the bone to mend.

By following the proper treatment and prevention strategies, most people can return to their pre-injury activities without significant long-term issues after a wrist fracture.

If you have a wrist bone fracture and are considering using a bone growth stimulator, it is important to discuss the potential benefits and risks with your healthcare provider. They can help determine if a bone growth stimulator is right for you and provide guidance on how to use it effectively.

If you are a Medicare beneficiary, your insurance provider can assist you in obtaining a bone stimulator. Complete this contact form, and we will contact you to verify eligibility and offer further details.


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