Broken wrist/broken hand

A broken wrist or broken hand is a break or crack in one of the many bones within your wrist and hand. The most common of these injuries occurs in the wrist when people try to catch themselves during a fall and land hard on an outstretched hand.

Risk factors for a broken wrist or broken hand range from participation in certain sports — such as in-line skating or snowboarding — to having a condition in which bones become thinner and more fragile (osteoporosis).

It's important to treat a broken wrist or broken hand as soon as possible. Otherwise, the bones may not heal in proper alignment, which can affect your ability to perform everyday activities, such as grasping a pen or buttoning a shirt. Early treatment will also help minimize pain and stiffness.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

If you have a broken wrist or broken hand, you may experience these signs and symptoms:

  • Severe pain that tends to increase during gripping or squeezing
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Obvious deformity, such as a bent wrist or crooked finger
  • Stiffness or inability to move your fingers or thumb
  • Numbness in your hand

When to call a doctor

If you think you may have a broken wrist or hand, see a doctor immediately, especially if you have numbness, swelling or trouble moving your fingers. A delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to poor healing, decreased range of motion and decreased grip strength.

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