Fractures of the wrist are very common. Some fractures can be managed in a cast but most serious fractures of the wrist (distal radius) require surgery.
Trauma Surgeons at Victorian Bone and Joint Specialists will assess your injury and organise x-rays and scans if required. If surgery is needed, our specialists will help guide you through the process as a successful outcome will require recovery and rehabilitation often with physiotherapists or a hand therapist. Some fractures will still need a cast after surgery and other types of fractures can be managed in a brace.
A simple crack in the bone, while painful, will normally heal well. Surgeons at Victorian Bone and Joint Specialists will immobilise the wrist and often advise treatment with a specialist wrist brace or cast. Follow up x-rays will be required.
If the broken bone has moved too much or if there is instability of the wrist and hand surgery to lock the bone back in place maybe the best option. Sometimes bone graft is also required. Your surgeon at Bone and Joint will discuss this with you.
Once fixed, you maybe able to begin to move the hand and wrist under the instruction of your surgeon at around two weeks after the operation. The wound will need to be checked 2 weeks after the operation to make sure that the skin is healing well.
What to expect after surgery:
There will be a dressing over the surgical incision of the front of the wrist. You will have a bandage or half cast (backslap) mad of plaster. This helps keep the wrist still while it heals.
Your wounds will be looked at after 2 weeks. You maybe able to wear a splint after this. Movement of your wrist will depend on the type of fracture you have had and your surgeon will discuss this with you.
This wrist splint can be used for fractures which are stable after surgery
Thumb Spica splints are used for scaphoid fractures, another common wrist fracture.
There are risks with surgery. These include infection, delayed healing or no healing of the bone. Sometime surgery to remove screws or the plate is required in the future. Arthritis of the wrist may occur as a result of this injury.