Distal Radius Fractures

Erin Nance, MD -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Nance MD Hand Surgery

Erin Nance, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon & Hand and Upper Extremity Specialist located in Midtown East, New York, NY

If you fall on your wrist and have sudden and severe pain, along with swelling, tenderness, and bruising, you may have a distal radius fracture, the most common broken arm bone. At Nance MD Hand Surgery, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Erin Nance specializes in hand and upper extremity surgery. Through a thorough examination, she can determine how best to help your broken wrist heal. If you live in or near Midtown East, New York and think you may have a distal radius fracture, call or go online to schedule your initial consultation today.

Distal Radius Fractures Q & A

What is a distal radius fracture?

A distal radius fracture is the most common arm and wrist bone fracture. These bone fractures often occur about one inch from the wrist joint.

Your radius it the largest bone in your forearm and its distal end is the portion nearest your wrist. This area of your forearm and wrist is susceptible to breaking, especially under abrupt force, like catching yourself with an outstretched arm during a fall.

What types of distal radius fractures are there?

Your distal radius fracture may be stable or unstable. Stable fractures include non-displaced bones, which do not move away from one another during the break, and some displaced fractures that are close enough to treat with just a cast or splint.

More severe, unstable fractures move or shift, even after being repositioned and casted. These fractures need surgery to stabilize the bone and stop the wrist from healing in a crooked position.

Beyond being stable or unstable, distal radius fractures also occur in other forms:

  • Colles fracture, where the broken bone fragment tilts upward
  • Intra-articular fracture, which extends into your joint
  • Open fracture, where the bone breaks through your skin
  • Comminuted fracture, when your bone breaks into more than two pieces

How do you treat a distal radius fracture?

After your injury, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience significant pain or numbness, or your wrist looks deformed. When you see Dr. Nance, she uses X-rays to determine the type and severity of your distal radius fracture.

If you have a stable fracture and no space between the bones, she may cast your injury and have you return for a follow-up. If your break is more significant, she must re-align them. In that case, she moves the bone through a process called reduction.

In some instances, she can perform a closed reduction, without needing to create an incision. With severe breaks, Dr. Nance may need to do an open reduction, where she makes an incision to realign your broken bone.

If the bone doesn’t appear stable, you may need surgery where she uses pins or plates to help your wrists heal properly. Once complete, she casts your wrist.

If you think you may have a distal radius fracture, don’t wait to see Dr. Nance: Call the office today or go online to book your initial consultation.