The radius is the larger of the two long forearm bones that connects the elbow to the wrist.
A distal radius fracture occurs when the end of the bone, closest to the wrist, breaks.
This often happens when a person falls onto an outstretched hand.
The distal radius fracture is the most commonly occurring fracture in the arm.
Pain, tenderness, bruising and swelling following an injury in the wrist and hand, particularly a fall onto an outstretched hand.
Stiffness or inability to move the wrist.
In a more severe fracture, the wrist may have an unusual bump or be positioned at an odd angle.
If the fracture is complex or offset, a surgery may be need to position the bone in proper alignment while the fracture heals.
Common Treatments may include:
Depending upon the severity of the fracture or the degree of stability of the fracture, use of a wrist brace, splint or orthotic or cast at all times until the bone has healed (approximately 5-6 weeks following injury)
If the fractured bones are so offset that they can not be held in stable alignment with a cast, surgery may be required to stabilize the fracture.
Following the immobilization period, treatment may include:
Regaining mobility of the joints that had to be immobilized during the healing phase.
Gradually regaining strength in the hand, wrist and arm.
Use of Heat and cold
Use cold packs for acute pain or swelling.
Use heat packs to control more chronic pain or relax the muscles.
Alternating heat and cold (a contrast bath routine) can be particularly helpful following a wrist fracture to reduce swelling and improve flexibility of the joints.
Wearing compression sleeves or Isotoner gloves at night may help control swelling and provide a comforting, neutral warmth.
Modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation may reduce inflammation and pain.
Scar management techniques if surgery was required.
Techniques to reduce swelling such as using a compression glove or sleeve, electrical stimulation, use of cold packs, elevation of the arm.