How To Prevent A Broken Or Sprained Wrist
My best advice–try not to fall! This may seem common sense, but many times the cause is preventable. Loose rugs, items on the floor, unsafe ladder use, all are preventable common causes of falls. As much as we love our pets, we must also be careful with them around our feet as well.
Second to that, there are a few things you can do to prevent a wrist injury should you fall.
- Be proactive and build bone strength with a diet containing sufficient calcium and vitamin D and doing weight-bearing exercises
- Wear protective gear for sports activities, especially skateboarding and rollerblading
- Take care when walking on slippery or bumpy surfaces
Hows A Hairline Fracture Diagnosed
If you believe you have a hairline fracture, its important to seek treatment from your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and general health. Theyll also ask questions about your diet, medications, and other risk factors. Then, they may perform several exams, including:
- Physical examination: Your doctor will inspect the painful area. Theyll probably apply gentle pressure to see if it causes pain. Pain in response to pressure is often the key for your doctor to diagnose a hairline fracture.
- MRI: The best imaging test for determining hairline fractures is an MRI. This test uses magnets and radio waves to provide images of your bones. An MRI will determine a fracture before an X-ray can. Itll do a better job of determining the type of fracture as well.
- X-ray: Hairline fractures often arent visible on X-rays immediately after the injury. The fracture may become visible a few weeks after the injury takes place, when a callus has formed around the healing area.
- Bone scan: A bone scan involves receiving a small dose of radioactive material through a vein. This substance accumulates in areas where bones are repairing. But because this test will indicate an increased blood supply to a particular area, it wont specifically prove theres a hairline fracture. Its suggestive but not diagnostic of a hairline fracture, as other conditions can cause an abnormal bone scan.
Signs Of A Wrist Sprain
If you have a wrist sprain, you may be able to move the wrist in a range of motion. It may be painful, but you will still be able to do it.
That usually means the bones are not broken, and you have a sprain.
Another sign of a wrist sprain is that there are swelling and redness around the sprained area of the wrist.
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Broken Hand Symptoms: How Do I Know If I Have A Broken Hand
Approximately 6 million people suffer a broken bone every year in the United States, and broken fingers are very common. The location and severity of the hand fracture will determine the symptoms the patient experiences and the available treatment options. So what does a broken hand feel like? Lets take a look at a few of the most common broken hand symptoms.
Fractured hand symptoms involving the metacarpals include pain, swelling, general tenderness along the site of the injury, and bruising. These metacarpal fractures symptoms may be more pronounced as the patient makes a fist or even loosely grips items. Metacarpal fractures may also give the involved fingers a shortened appearance. For example, Boxers fracture symptoms may include the knuckle appearing indented or crushed inward due to displacement along the neck of the metacarpal. Broken finger symptoms include pain, decreased range of motion, swelling, and sensitivity to even the lightest touch. Fractured finger symptoms may also include bruising, and its possible for the finger to appear deformed or misaligned. Broken thumb symptoms include swelling, bruising, sensitivity to the touch, and decreased range of motion. Some patients also report numbness or feelings of cold around the injury. In some cases, the hand or fingers may change colors, becoming pale or even blue, after a fracture of the hand. Patients may also notice other tactile sensations, such as tingling.
Do I Have A Broken Or Sprained Wrist
How does a broken or sprained wrist happen? Rushing around, trying to do too many things at once, we have tripped and fallen. Usually its fine. We brush ourselves off and keep going. However, the first thing we usually do when we fall is try to catch ourselves by putting our hands out. Our wrists are not meant to take that kind of impact, though, and often the force of a fall can cause damage to wrists.
Wrist pain caused by a fall might be serious or it might not. How do we know if we have a broken or sprained wrist? Sometimes it is hard to tell.
In todays post, I would like to discuss wrist fractures by clarifying what a wrist fracture is, how to differentiate between a fracture and a sprain, and explain how they are treated.
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Less Common Symptoms Of Wrist Sprains
The less common symptoms of wrist sprains may include:
- Bruising. A bruise, also known as contusion, may form on the skin over the wrist due to rupture of blood vessels under the skin and leaking of blood into the tissue spaces. A change in color of the skin varying from red, black, or blue may occur due to bruising. Sometimes, bruising may extend to the fingers.
- Warmth. A feeling of warmth over the sprained wrist may be present due to increased blood flow to the area.
- Numbness. Numbness in one or more fingers may be experienced in cases where a wrist bone dislocates and presses on one or more nerves in the wrist.
- Feeling of tearing. In some moderate to severe wrist sprains, popping or tearing may be felt at the time of injury. The tearing feeling may also occur during wrist movements.
- Feeling of instability. Instability refers to a consistent click or clunk when moving the wrist. It can feel like the bones are shifting position and may be uncomfortable.
It is also possible for bone fractures, tendon damage, and/or nerve injuries to occur along with wrist sprains. A careful evaluation by a medical professional can help diagnose and treat wrist injuries.
The Difference Between A Broken Or Sprained Wrist
A sprain involves the ligaments that connect the bones at the joint. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a fracture and a sprain. You should not assume that the degree of pain determines the specific problem.
Although it would seem that a sprain would hurt less than a fracture, this is not always the case. Sprains can often be extremely painful, where fractures may sometimes hurt less. There are also different degrees of sprains from mild to severe.
A broken or sprained wrist may have many of the same symptoms:
- Swelling in your wrist or hand
- Pain, especially when you move your wrist
- Difficulty picking up objects
- Limited range of motion
However, if youve fractured your wrist, there are a few symptoms that go beyond sprains. There may be a deformity in the wrist and bone pushing against the skin or sometimes puncturing it. When you fall and hurt your wrists, you might hear a snap or pop and your wrist will usually swell immediately and worsen, even when treated with ice.
The best way to know for certain if your wrist is fractured or sprained is to see a hand surgery specialist. They can do a thorough assessment and diagnose what is causing your pain.
“Many wrist fractures do not require surgery, and can be adequately treated in a cast or brace. “Brandon P. Donnelly, MD
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To 8 Weeks After Your Injury
As your injury recovers, you can begin to:
- return to full function
- resume normal day to day activity
- gradually increase the amount of weight you’re carrying
- return to contact sports at 12 weeks
You can start exercises for your wrist once advised by your healthcare professional.
Stop exercising if it makes your symptoms worse, or if it causes new pain.
Signs Of A Fracture Vs A Sprain
People may assume the level of pain an injury causes is directly related to the extent of an injury. Therefore, a sprain would cause less pain than a fracture. This is not necessarily the case. Fractures can cause mild or dull pain, and sprains can often cause severe pain.
There are a few telltale symptoms to detect a wrist fracture: deformity of the wrist or bone matter breaking through the skin are obvious signs of fracture. When these occur, individuals need to seek medical care right away.
However, other wrist injury symptoms are common for both fractures and sprains. These can include:
- Swelling in the wrist
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Hairline Fracture Of The Wrist & Hand
Wrist or Hand Hairline FractureThe quick answer is the symptoms of hairline fractures of the wrist are pain, swelling, bruising and lack of function of the wrist. Wrist fractures can occur with a fall on an outstretched arm, or a forceful impact such as a car accident. Fractures to the wrist are typically painful at the wrist and can appear to deform the wrist and hand.
There are 2 long bones in the forearm which connect to the wrist and hand. There are 8 small bones called carpals which work together to connect the forearm to the hand. A severe fracture in the wrist may involve one of the long bones , or one or more of the 8 carpal bones. Hairline fractures are also known as stress fractures. Hairline fractures are also common in the foot, ankle and spine. Fractures are diagnosed with x-rays and an exam from a physician.
Symptoms of hairline fractures in other areas of the body vary. Most feel a pain or ache in the bone which is involved. In the lower extremity, the pain gets worse with weight bearing or standing on hard surfaces. If the fracture is diagnosed in a timely manner, the pain will become more sharp in nature.
Will My Broken Wrist Ever Be The Same
Most people make a full recovery from a broken wrist. It might take several months, but your wrist should completely heal. If healing is slow, physical therapy and occupational therapy can help you regain mobility and strength in your wrist.
Some people do experience long-term complications from a broken wrist, but this is rare. Ask your doctor if long-term complications are likely in your case.
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How Is A Wrist Fracture Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will examine you. You may need an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI. You may be given contrast liquid to help your wrist bones show up better in pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
Proper Evaluation And Treatment
If you injure your wrist, place a cold pack over a washcloth to decrease swelling and stabilize the wrist area until you can get medical treatment.
Because it can be very difficult to tell between wrist sprains and wrist fractures, an x-ray is almost always advisable. Your doctor should obtain an x-ray of the wrist to make sure none of the bones have been fractured around the wrist joint if you have had a history of trauma to your wrist and are experiencing the characteristics of a fracture we described earlier.
If you have continuing pain from a wrist sprain or fracture, please call 295-8590 for an assessment today.
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When Should I Seek Immediate Care
- Your pain gets worse or does not get better after you take pain medicine.
- Your cast or splint breaks, gets wet, or is damaged.
- Your hand or fingers feel numb or cold.
- Your hand or fingers turn white or blue.
- Your splint or cast feels too tight.
- You have more pain or swelling after the cast or splint is put on.
What Should You Do
If you do think you have a wrist sprain or you may have fractured your wrist, you should immediately see a doctor. Schedule an appointment to have a medical professional decide if you will need surgery, an x-ray, or specific treatment options.
If you cant see a doctor immediately, its important to remember the acronym, RICE. That stands for, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. That is what you should be doing for your wrist until you see a medical professional.
Having a broken or sprained wrist can also limit your ability to drive places or see a doctor. If that happens, you can speak with us remotely by contacting us here.
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Does A Broken Wrist Cause Arthritis
If you have a severe wrist break that extends to the joint of your wrist, its possible for arthritis to develop years later. This happens because a break leaves the surfaces of joints uneven. The uneven joints then rub together and wear out more quickly than even joints, which can lead to arthritis for some people.
How Can I Care For Myself With A Broken Wrist
There are several self-care measures that you can do to help the recovery of your broken wrist. These include:
- taking regular pain killers if you have any pain
- keeping your arm elevated on a pillow or with a sling in the first week, but after that start to let your arm be part of your everyday life again
- doing gentle exercises as advised by your health providers
- avoiding heavy lifting or activities that require your wrist to work hard
- positioning your arm with your thumb up rather than letting your arm rest with the palm down all the time as this will help lessen stiffness later
- keeping your cast dry
Read more about care of your broken wrist while in a cast.
After your cast is removed, you may find your wrist is stiff, your skin dry or your hand swollen. It may take 4 months to 1 year to regain full use of your hand and wrist. Your recovery will be helped by using your hand as normally as possible for everyday activities and by doing any exercises your doctor recommends.Read more about caring for your wrist following removal of your cast.
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The Signs Of A Wrist Fracture
Fractures to the wrist can range in severity, and it may be difficult to tell if your wrist is broken or if it is injured in some other way. Here are five signs that your wrist may be broken:
These signs may mean a fracture in your wrist, and medical attention should be sought, preferably from a specialist dealing in bone health.
What Is The Outlook For Someone With A Broken Wrist
You will need to wear a cast until the bones heal. This will usually take 46 weeks, or longer if the fracture is more serious.
Sometimes after the cast comes off it may be useful to wear a splint some of the time, so that you feel comfortable and confident to use your hand again, but a splint is not always necessary. If you have had surgery and the bones are well fixed with a plate and/or screw, you might only have the cast on for 1014 days. After that you may wear a splint for some or all the time for 34 weeks, but you can start moving your wrist, usually under the guidance of your surgeon and/or physiotherapist or hand therapist. Do not expect your hand and wrist to be normal as soon as the cast comes off. Eventually, your hand and wrist will work well again, but it will take time.
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Wrist Sprain Vs Broken Wrist: Signs To Tell Which Happened
There are eight small bones in your wrist. Any of them can break and cause severe damage to your wrist.
Depending on the break, your wrist could take anywhere from weeks to months to heal.
Maybe you broke one of these eight wrist bones, but youre unsure if its a break or a sprain. How do you tell the difference?
Heres a guide on the difference between a wrist sprain and a wrist break that can give you insight on if you should see a doctor and the treatment options available to you.
Fastmed Professionals Can Tell If Your Wrist Is Broken
It is important to have your broken wrist attended to as soon as possible.Fortunately, the medical professionals at FastMed Urgent Care are ready and able to examine your broken wrist, reset the bone if necessary, and secure it in a splint. Even on the weekends or after typical business hours, we can treat your broken wrist.
We are open 365 days a year and have extended weekday hours for your convenience. Our state-of-the-art facilities are equipped with digital X-ray machines so that your evaluation and treatment can be handled in one stop.
Contact us or simply walk in at one of our locations for your broken wrist treatment. Also check out what some of our patients are saying:
The urgent care center was terrific! The staff delivered exactly what I needed: professional care and personal attention and they delivered it with care and kindness. Urgent Care is on my radar as an integral part of my community and I have given several enthusiastic recommendations to friends and work associates. Thank you! Gayle C.
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