A distal radius fracture is the most common way to break your wrist, typically from falling on your arm when it's outstretched. If you think you have a broken wrist, expert hand and upper extremity surgeon Luke Nicholson, MD, can help. Dr. Nicholson has offices in Beverly Hills and at the Keck Medical Center in Downtown Los Angeles, California, where he provides both conservative and minimally invasive surgical solutions for patients with distal radius fractures. For the best in wrist fracture care, call Luke Nicholson MD or schedule a consultation using the online booking form today.
A distal radius fracture is a break in the larger of your two forearm bones at the wrist end. Distal radius fractures are among the most common types of fracture, most often occurring about one inch from the end of the bone. The break may occur in several ways, including:
A Colles fracture is one where the broken end of your radius angles upward.
An intra-articular fracture is a distal radius fracture that extends into your wrist joint. If the break doesn't affect the joint, it's known as an extra-articular fracture.
An open distal radius fracture is one where the bone breaks your skin. The risk of infection is high with an open fracture, so immediate medical care is vital.
A comminuted fracture is one where your radius breaks into two or more pieces.
The most likely cause of a distal radius fracture is a fall with your arm outstretched.
A distal radius fracture typically causes instant pain and tenderness, followed by bruising and swelling. Depending on how the bone fractures, your wrist may look odd or be bent the wrong way.
If you can see the bone, there's visible wrist deformity or numbness, or your fingers aren't warm and pink, you should seek urgent medical attention.
X-rays show if you have a broken radius and the nature of the break so Dr. Nicholson can formulate an appropriate treatment plan.
In some cases, nonsurgical treatment is a possibility for a distal radius fracture. If the break is clean and the bones line up correctly, you may only require a cast to immobilize your arm while the bones heal.
If the bones are out of alignment, Dr. Nicholson needs to get them back in the correct position, a procedure known as reduction. He can sometimes do this by manipulating the bones to realign them (closed reduction), then apply a splint or cast.
If Dr. Nicholson can't perform a closed reduction, you might need surgery (open reduction) to repair your distal radius fracture.
Open reduction involves having metal pins, a plate and screws, an external fixator, or a combination of these to secure the pieces of bone in the right place while they heal.
For outstanding treatment of distal radius fractures and a fast return to health, call the office of Luke Nicholson MD today or book an appointment online.