A fracture of the wrist or radiocarpal joint is one of the most common fractures that may occur. More specifically, more than a third of the fractures that occur are in the area of the wrist or otherwise of the distal radius.
In young people these fractures are often caused during car accidents, while in the elderly they usually occur after a fall from a standing position.
The patient’s symptoms are pain, swelling in the affected area and ecchymosis, while often a characteristic “fork-like” deformity is described.
The diagnosis is made clinically and radiologically with simple radiographs, while in more complex cases, a computed tomography may be required to determine the type of treatment that will be chosen.
In case of injury in the patient’s home, when he or his family members request it, the treatment can take place at home, without unnecessary patient transitions. Portable radiological equipment can provide simple radiographs of the fracture, while the Orthopedist can reposition the bone fragments and apply a plaster or splint as appropriate.
In simple fractures that are easily repositioned, the treatment is immobilization with plaster for about 6 weeks, during which time the affected area is re-examined with X-rays, with the treatment being adjusted on a case-by-case basis.
In cases of intra-articular fractures, fractures with significant displacement that cannot be properly repositioned, surgical treatment is chosen, usually with internal osteosynthesis of the bone fragments, while, in some cases, external osteosynthesis or use of transdermal needles may be used.
In recent years, special low-profile plates for all types of wrist fractures have been made available on the market of orthopedic materials with much better results compared to the older, more bulky plates used.
In both cases of treatment, surgical or conservative, physiotherapy will be needed for the patients to regain the full range of motion of the joint and muscular strength, so as to return to their daily activities.