We have all experienced the sensation at some point – that unsteady feeling of losing our balance on a patch of ice. Our immediate reaction is to break the fall with our hands. While this response is the body’s natural way to prevent injuries to our head and other parts of our body, the impact can sometimes result in a distal radius fracture (i.e. a broken wrist).
The radius is the largest bone in the forearm, most often broken closest to the wrist. Elderly patients and individuals who have bone diseases such as osteoporosis are at an increased risk of suffering a distal radius fracture.
Symptoms of a wrist fracture or break include: immediate pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness. You may also notice that your wrist falls or bends in an odd way.
So what happens when you think you may have fractured or broken your wrist due to a slip on the ice? Your physician will likely take an x-ray to verify a fracture or break has occurred. Most fractured wrists can be treated without surgery. This involves the use of splints and casts to aid in the stabilization and healing process. If a break or fracture is more complex in nature, surgery may be required to ensure that your bones are correctly positioned and stabilized for proper healing.