Wrist Fracture

(Fracture, Wrist; Broken Wrist; Scaphoid Fracture; Navicular Fracture)

Definition

A wrist fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in the wrist. The wrist is made up of the two bones in the forearm called the radius and the ulna. It also includes 8 carpal bones. The carpal bones lie between the end of the forearm bones and the bases of the fingers. The most commonly fractured carpal bone is called the scaphoid or navicular bone. This fact sheet will focus on fractures of the carpal bones of the wrist. Wrist fractures of the radius, often called Colles' fracture, can be found on a separate sheet.
Scaphoid Fracture
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Causes

A wrist fracture is caused by trauma to the bones in the wrist. Trauma may be caused by:
  • Falling on an outstretched arm
  • Direct blow to the wrist
  • Severe twist of the wrist

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of a wrist fracture include:
  • Participating in contact sports, such as football or soccer
  • Participating in activities such as in-line skating, skateboarding, or bike riding
  • Participating in any activity which could cause you to fall on your outstretched hand
  • Violence or high-velocity trauma, such as an automobile accident

Symptoms

A wrist fracture may cause:
  • Pain
  • Swelling and tenderness around the wrist
  • Bruising around the wrist
  • Limited range of wrist or thumb motion
  • Visible deformity in the wrist

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