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A wrist fracture can be a painful injury and can hamper your ability to carry out normal everyday tasks. The wrist joint comprises of the radius, ulna and eight carpal bones. A fracture or break can occur when the wrist is placed under excessive force. Any of the bones making up the wrist can be injured. The most common wrist fracture occurs within the radius. Wrist fractures can occur at any age but are most prevalent among elderly people. A lot of fractures happen during sports.
Most individuals who suffer a wrist fracture will experience severe pain, swelling, tenderness and loss of movement to the affected area. It can often be hard for some individuals to move and use their hand and wrist until the fracture has completely healed. Treatment for a wrist fracture depends on many factors. These factors are type of fracture, age of patient, activity level, overall health and whether or not it your “dominant” hand. Depending on the severity and location, a padded splint or cast may be used initially to align the bones. It also provides support and relief from initial pain. In some cases, surgery may be required to realign broken bones and hold the fracture in place. Doctors may use devices such as pins or plates.
Early physiotherapy treatment can be very beneficial in the recovery process for a wrist fracture injury. As the hand and wrist can often become stiff during recovery, physiotherapy exercises can help restore muscle strength, mobility and function. Your physiotherapist will provide you with a regime of stretching, strengthening and load bearing exercises. These exercises may be of particular benefit to elderly patients. It helps to build stronger, denser bones and prevent the risk of further injury. As the wrist operates as a hinge joint, extension/ flexion exercises which involve bending the wrist up and down will help strengthen any muscles surrounding the wrist. As healing continues, you can include weights into your physiotherapy programme to further strengthen the wrist. Your physiotherapist may also advise exercises to improve grip, elbow and shoulder strength.
Patients may be at a risk of developing arthritis as a result of certain types of wrist fractures. Your physiotherapist will be able to assess if you are at risk and provide you with the appropriate advice. They can give you a physiotherapy programme needed to prevent any further complications secondary to your wrist fracture. If you have suffered a recent wrist fracture and would like to book an appointment, contact us here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic where one of our chartered physiotherapists will help you on your recovery journey.