Distal Radius Fracture

Overview

While it's always possible for an adult to break a bone in the forearm, it's far more common in youth sports. Sports with a high potential for impact, either with the ground or another player such as soccer, football and equestrian events along with snowboarding and skiing in the winter, are usually to blame.
Because of the nature of the injury, a visit to the doctor is required. At the Florida Hospital Celebration Health Sports Medicine Program, your physician will examine the injury and repair the damage so that your arm is as good as new.

 

Causes of Distal Radius Fractures

The radius is the most commonly broken bone in the arm. It is usually broken due to:

  • Common occurrences such as a bike accident, skiing accident or similar situation.
  • A fall where you land on outstretched hands.

 

Distral Radius Fracture Symptoms

The most obvious sign of a distal radius fracture is immediate pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Tenderness
  • Bruising and swelling
  • A deformity where the wrist hangs in an odd or bent way

 

Treatment

If the break is minor (there isn't a great deal of pain or the wrist is not deformed) you may be able to wait to see the doctor until the next day. The wrist can be protected with a splint and an ice pack can be applied to reduce swelling. You will want to keep the wrist elevated until a doctor can see you.

If the injury is painful, the wrist is deformed or your fingers aren't pink, you'll want to see a doctor as soon as possible, going to the emergency room, if necessary.

If the broken bone remains in good alignment, doctors at the FHCH Sports Medicine Program will apply a cast to allow the distal radius fracture to mend naturally.

If the alignment is off and likely to cause future problems, it may be necessary to realign the bone before a splint or cast is placed on the arm. Initially, a splint is used so the swelling can go down before a cast is applied. As the swelling goes down, the cast will be replaced to keep it tight.

After six weeks, the cast can finally be removed. When it is, your doctor will prescribe physical therapy so you can improve the motion and function of the injured arm.

Learn about Distal Radius Fracture surgery.

If you have questions about a distal radius fracture or want to make an appointment with us, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators and they'll be happy to help you.