From Fracture To Fully Healed

Saying that wrist fractures are no fun is far from an understatement. Used as another word to mean broken bone, the injury usually occurs in the small bones of the wrist. Many people continue to believe myths about wrist fractures, which can impede receiving proper treatment. Knowing the facts can help patients determine when minimally invasive surgery can help.


1. A fracture is always minor

Just because a physician uses a technical term like fracture doesn’t mean that a wrist injury is less severe than breaking a bone. Keep in mind that fractures can vary in severity. While a slight break might not require surgery, a more significant break will likely need to be treated much differently. Don’t assume that fractures are always simple injuries that can be managed at home. If a break in the wrist is suspected, seek medical attention immediately.

2. Only athletes get wrist fractures

Another incorrect and pervasive myth about wrist fractures is that only athletes can be injured in such a way. In reality, a recent study found that older adults ages 50 and up tend to be more likely to suffer wrist fractures. From poor balance to brittle bones due to calcium depletion or osteoporosis, this cohort is more at risk.

3. Fractures aren’t preventable

Can people completely avoid breaking bones? Unfortunately, no. However, reducing the risk of such an injury is possible. For example, athletes should wear the proper protective gear to avoid experiencing hand injuries. Meanwhile, the general population should be mindful of slippery surfaces or obstacles on the ground when walking or running. Additionally, being aware of the amount of strain or pressure placed on the wrist and hands can be a preventative solution against wrist fractures.

Treating a wrist fracture

Proper treatment depends on the severity of the wrist injury. Not all people with a fracture will require surgery. In many cases, individuals can heal completely simply by immobilizing the wrist with a splint or cast. Other people may need to have the bones reset first. Surgery may be necessary to properly reposition the bones in more serious cases.

The minimally invasive approach

For more severe cases, minimally invasive surgery can be a pathway to healing that reduces recovery time and the need for larger incisions. Common options can include using arthroscopy, which relies on visualizing technologies to guide the surgeon through a small incision in the wrist. Other patients may benefit from a percutaneous fracture treatment which allows for healing without requiring a cast. Minimally invasive wrist surgery uses small incisions and can be performed outpatient, meaning the patient leaves on the same day with minimal scarring.

Don’t ignore a wrist fracture

In most cases, wrist fractures are a serious injury requiring treatment. Depending on the type of break that occurred, delaying treatment can increase a person’s chances of developing arthritis at the injury site. Likewise, reduced range of motion (ROM) and increased pain are other common concerns. Although not all people will need surgery to treat a wrist fracture, if the break can’t be easily repaired with nonsurgical solutions, consider speaking with an orthopedic specialist to understand the options.

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