Wrist Fracture



This injury 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 this 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. Images may be taken with:

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



It can take up to 12 weeks to heal. The goals of treatment are to manage pain and support the bone as it heals. Options may be:

  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • A splint or cast to keep bones in place as they heal
  • Exercises to help with muscle strength and range of motion once the bone has healed

Some fractures cause pieces of bone to come apart. These pieces will need to be put back into place. This may be done:

  • Without surgery—anesthesia will be used to ease pain while the doctor moves the pieces back into place.
  • With surgery—pins, screws, plates, or wires may be used to reconnect the pieces and hold them in place.


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.