Radius Fracture Treatment | Radius Bone Fracture Surgery | Fractured Radius Healing Time, Recovery, Symptoms, Types and Causes
The forearm has two large bones– the radius and the ulna. While the radius is larger than the ulna and it is located in the front side of the arm, it is also prone to fractures. The end point of the radius that is near the wrist is the distal end so when there is a fracture on the wrist there could also be a fracture of the distal radius. A distal radius fracture is a bone fracture that happens during a fall, with an outstretched arm and because the fracture happens very near to the wrist joint.
Radius Fracture Types
There are four types of distal radius bone fracture and these are the following:
• Colles’ fracture. This is a distal fracture of the radius located in the forearm and dorsal end of the wrist and usually involves displacement of the wrist bone. This is also called “dinner fork deformity” because of its shape like a fork when fractured. It can be caused by falling with an extended arm.
• Smith’s fracture. This is the reverse type of Colles’ fracture and this is a fracture of the distal radius itself. It can be caused by falling with a flexed wrist or by a direct blow to the dorsal forearm.
• Bartons’ fracture. This is an intra-articular fracture that occurs at the distal radius and there is dislocation of the radiocarpal joint. There are two types of this fracture. The first one is dorsal and the other one is the palmar. Barton’s fractures are caused by falling with an extended and pronated wrist which compress the carpal bone and breaks it.
• Chauffeur’s fracture. This is one kind of forearm fracture which specifically involves the radial styloid. The injury can be sustained because of the compression of the scaphoid bone of the hand when people fall with an outstretched hand.
The various types are radius fracture wrist, left and right distal, proximal radius, head of radius, fractured ulna, fractured head, greenstick and buckle fracture radius.
Your doctor will normally take an X-ray of your wrist so that he can identify the extent of your injury. A single bone fracture that extends to the joint is termed an intra-articular fracture but if it does not extend to the joint then it is called an extra-articular fracture. When the bone breaks into two or more pieces it will be called a comminuted fracture while a bone that is broken and protruding from the skin is an open fracture. Classification of bone fractures especially on radius fractures is important because this will give the doctor ideas on what diagnosis he must further conduct so that he can make the necessary steps for treatment.
Distal radius fractures are not actually unusual because this is the most prone bone part in the forearm. It can normally occur when a person fell and protect his body with an outstretched or pronated hands. It can also occur during car accidents, skiing, bike accident, fall from a horse or any similar fall that landed the person with an outstretched hand and arm. Most of the times not only the distal end of the radius is fractured but also the ulna and when there is a break in the ulna this is what we call the distal ulna fracture.
Radius bone fractures or broken wrists are always accompanied by immediate pain. There will be tenderness on the region, bruising and some swelling. For severe fractures, there could even be deformities. If your wrist is in angled shape after a wrist accident then you can assume this is a distal radius fracture. Some of the symptoms you may encounter are the following:
• There would be pain on the wrist and this pain can travel way up to the arm
• There would be bruising around the broken area
• There would be swelling, which only occurs minutes after the fracture
• There would be tenderness on the swollen area
• There would be pain in moving the wrist or sometimes the wrist cannot be moved at all
• There would be deformity for serious cases
Radius Fracture Treatment
When an accident happened and the wrist is neither painful nor deformed, you can wait till the next day and watch out for bruises or swelling. You can put the wrist on a splint if you want or put an ice pack and keep it elevated. If there would be swelling then better visit your doctor right away. For those injuries that are very painful and with deformed fingers that go numb, an emergency visit to the hospital is needed. The doctor will take an x-ray of your wrist and then determine what to do.
For non-surgical treatment, the doctor either puts your wrist on a splint or in cast plaster. If the bones are badly deformed or really broken then the doctor may make an incision on your wrist and will conduct a bone reduction. Metal pins, plate or screws will be needed and an external fixator a device that will remain outside your arm to reattach bones will be installed. For straightened but broken wrist, you can have a closed reduction or castings of your wrist until the bones are back on their normal position.
In order to reduce your risk of having radius fractures you must always have a good nutrition since this is highly advantageous for your skeletal health. You must have adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D to fortify your bones including the small bones in your wrist. Avoid sports that could put your hands and wrist at stake or you could wear a wrist guard if you still want to pursue your sport. Exercise regularly so that you will develop your muscles more and can protect your bones from fractures.
When to Call A Doctor
When you fell on a hard pavement with an outstretched arm and you feel that your wrist is broken, observe it first and feel any abnormal sensation. If there would be bruises, and then swelling occurs, you better go to the hospital immediately. There are major blood vessels in our wrists that must not be damaged so in time when wrist fractures is most likely, do not hesitate to go to the hospital immediately.