Kid's Wrist Fracture
Wrist fractures in kids are common injuries. The commonly broken bone is the radius bone of the forearm (along the thumb side). Wrist fractures can also involve the ulna bone (small finger side of forearm) or one of the 8 smaller carpal bones within the wrist joint.
Wrist fractures in kids usually result from a fall onto an outstretched arm. Monkey bars, playground equipment, scooters, bikes, and sports are common culprits, as they produce higher energy falls that can cause the bone to break.
Wrist fractures result in pain, swelling, and decreased motion. Kids will oftentimes have difficulty bending or straightening the wrist, or pain and difficulty rotating the forearm. More severe wrist injuries can result in the forearm looking deformed or bent. X-rays are essential for a diagnosis.
Non-displaced, or stable, fractures can oftentimes be treated in a splint or cast. Splints provide less support than a hard cast, but may be used for minor injuries. Fractures take ~6 weeks to heal, but this can vary based on the location, severity, and age of the child.
Fractures that have shifted, or “displaced”, are sometimes treated surgically. This can involve reducing, or “setting” the bone, which can then be held in a corrected position with either pins or a cast. Sometimes an incision is required to properly align the fracture.
Dr. Schreiber is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand, wrist, and elbow conditions. Dr. Schreiber practices at the Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina.