Wrist Fracture



A wrist fracture is caused by trauma from:

  • A fall on an outstretched hand with the wrist extended
  • Severe backwards bending of the wrist
  • A blow to the wrist
  • A motor vehicle accident

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of a wrist fracture are:

  • Playing contact sports, such as football or basketball
  • Activities that may cause falls onto the hands, such as bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, or snowboarding
  • Doing activities that involve heights, such as being on a ladder, bike, or horse
  • Being in a motor vehicle accident



Symptoms may be:

  • Pain that may be worse when moving the wrist or thumb
  • Weakness in the hand
  • Swelling
  • A change in the way the wrist looks


The doctor will ask about symptoms, past health, and how the injury happened.

Pictures of the wrist may be taken. This can be done with:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan
  • Bone scan



It can take 12 weeks to heal. The goal of treatment is to help the bones heal properly to prevent long term problems.

Putting Bones Back in Place

Some fractures may cause pieces of bone to come apart. The pieces of bone will need to be put back into place so it will heal properly. The doctor may do this through either of the following:

  • Carefully moving the bones and using tension to align them. Anesthesia will be given help to manage pain.
  • Surgery to reconnect bone sections with pins, screws, plates, or a wires. These devices will also hold the bone in place as it heals.


Support for all fractures can include:

  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • A splint or cast to support the bones as they heal
  • Exercises to help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion


Most fractures are due to accidents. Wear wrist guards for sports that may involve falls or contact, such as rollerblading and football.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.