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A wrist fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in the wrist. The scaphoid is the most commonly fractured bone.
This fact sheet will focus on scaphoid fracture. There are also 2 bones in the forearm that make up the wrist. Wrist fractures of one of these bones, called a Colles fracture, are on another sheet.
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Trauma to the bones in the wrist cause a fracture. Falling on an outstretched hand with your wrist stretched causes this to happen. This is the most common cause. There are other ways it can happen.
This injury is most common in young men who are 15-30 years of age.
Symptoms of this injury are:
You will be asked about your symptoms how the injury occurred. Your wrist will be checked.
Images may be taken. They can highlight damage to the bone and make sure everything is in the right place.
Proper treatment can help you avoid problems with your wrist later. Treatment will depend on your fracture, but may include:
You will need extra support to protect your wrist and keep it in line. You may have a splint or cast to keep it still.
Sometimes pieces of bone can come apart. The doctor will need to put these pieces back into place. This may be done:
Children’s bones are still growing at an area of the bone called the growth plate. If the fracture is in the growth plate, your child may be sent to a doctor who treats the bones of children. An injury to the growth plate will need to be monitored to make sure the bone grows as it should.
Over-the-counter medicine can help with swelling and pain.
Physical therapy will help strengthen muscles and range of motion.
To lower your chance of a wrist fracture:
To help reduce falling hazards at work and home, take these steps:
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Distal radius fractures (broken wrist). Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00412. Updated March 2013. Accessed September 1, 2017.
Scaphoid fracture. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116698/Scaphoid-fracture. Updated October 26, 2015. Accessed September 1, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM Last Updated: 9/30/2013