What are the Effects After a Broken Wrist?

Wrist contusion
Close up of a bandaged wrist (Image: Ocskaymark/iStock/Getty Images)

A broken wrist is a medical condition that occurs when at least one of the bones within the wrist sustains severe damage or injury, causing the bone to fracture. Common causes of a broken wrist include sport or motor vehicle injuries or bone disease, such as osteoporosis, according to MayoClinic.com. People who experience any of the effects after a broken wrist should seek prompt medical care for further evaluation and treatment.

Pain

The most common effect after a person breaks her wrist is sudden and severe wrist pain, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Sensations of pain can also radiate into the hand or up into the forearm or elbow. If a person attempts to move the broken wrist normally, sensations of pain typically increase in severity. Without appropriate treatment, pain sensations can persist or become more severe over time.

Swelling

An injury to the wrist can also damage the tissues that surround the site of wrist fracture. Tissue damage can lead to significant inflammation and irritation of the wrist. This inflammation can cause the wrist to swell or enlarge in people who sustain a wrist fracture, Aurora Health Care reports. Swelling typically centralizes around the wrist fracture, but may also cause enlargement of the hand. The swollen skin region is typically tender or uncomfortable when a person touches it.

Bruising

Bruising is also an effect of a broken wrist. When a bone within the wrist breaks, it can damage nearby blood vessels. Blood vessel damage causes blood to pool beneath the surface of the skin, which leads to unusual skin discoloration or bleeding, the AAOS explains. Bruised skin can appear dark red, blue or purple in color and can be tender to the touch. Though wrist bruising is temporary, it can persist for several weak after the initial fracture of the wrist bone.

Visible Deformity

A wrist bone fracture can affect the normal alignment of the wrist bones. Wrist bone misalignment can cause the wrist to appear abnormally bent or deformed. Visual wrist deformities are typically associated with sharp wrist pain and limited mobility.

Limited Mobility

People who experience a wrist fracture can have difficulty moving or rotating the affected wrist normally. It can be difficult for a person to grasp or pick up items due to limited mobility of the damaged wrist, the University of San Francisco Medical Center warns. Additional treatment or surgery is typically necessary to set or repair the broken wrist bone. Normal wrist mobility is generally restored once the injured wrist bone fully heals.

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