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I Broke my Wrist, Do I Need Surgery?

woman with broken wrist at the doctors Broken wrists are very common injuries that can result from getting hit on the wrist or falling onto an outstretched arm. This can happen to anyone, but it’s especially common among people who are physically active as well as those who have osteoporosis.

In this blog, Dr. Ather Mirza and Dr. Justin Mirza, orthopedic physicians at Mirza Orthopedics, explain when surgery for a broken wrist may be needed and when it can sometimes be avoided.

What are the symptoms of a broken wrist?

Symptoms of a broken wrist can include the following:

  • Pain, especially when flexing your wrist or moving your fingers
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty moving or using your hand or wrist
  • A deformed appearance due to swelling or a bone that’s out of place
  • Fingers that tingle or feel numb at the tips

What are the treatment options for a broken wrist?

In the majority of cases, surgery isn’t necessary for wrist fractures. Your doctor may be able to reset the fracture, put a splint and then a cast on your wrist, and wait for the bones to heal. Regular X-rays will be performed to make sure your wrist is healing as it should.

The exact type of treatment you’ll need depends on some of the following factors:

  • Fracture location
  • Your age
  • Bone strength
  • Bone positioning
  • Your activity level
  • Hand dominance (left or right)

What is involved with broken wrist treatment?

In addition to a splint or cast, your doctor may suggest the following to reduce pain and swelling:

  • Elevating your wrist – Put your wrist on a pillow above your heart level for a few days.
  • Applying ice – Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every few hours for two to three days may help fractured wrists, but take care so you don’t get it on your splint or cast.
  • Taking medication – In some cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can also help.
  • Exercises – Your doctor may recommend strengthening and stretching exercises for your fingers, elbow, and shoulder.

In some cases, surgery might be needed for wrist fractures. Your orthopedic physician may recommend this option if the fracture pattern of your wrist makes it difficult to properly set and realign your bones.

If this is the case, surgery can help stabilize the fractured pieces.

Using pins, screws, plates, rods, or other methods can help set the fractured pieces. If a bone is severely crushed enough to leave a gap in the bone after it’s been realigned, a bone graft may be added to help the area heal properly.

Depending on the severity of your break, it can take a broken wrist anywhere from eight weeks to six months or so to fully heal. Don’t rush back into your normal activities too soon, or you could delay your recovery.

Why see Mirza Orthopedics for your broken wrist?

Mirza Orthopedics is the premier orthopedic wrist, hand, elbow, and shoulder center on Long Island. We offer the latest nonsurgical and surgical treatments and will recommend the least invasive form of treatment that will get you back to your active lifestyle with minimum downtime.

Our orthopedic physicians are known for their expertise as well as their commitment to research and to compassionate, highly personalized care. We have extensive experience wrist fractures as well as many other injuries.

If you have symptoms that could indicate you have a broken wrist, make an appointment today with Mirza Orthopedics. We’ll correctly diagnose the source of your symptoms and will provide you with the most effective treatment possible.

Our Orthopedists and Doctors in Smithtown NY
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