Fractures to the distal (closest to the hand) end of the arm bone are among the most common injuries sustained by the human skeletal system. In fact, when the conditions are right, a simple fall can lead to a broken wrist. But what may look like a simple fall to the average eye, is assessed more closely by distal radial fracture surgeons. Depending on the context of the injury and the type of fracture sustained, a surgeon will choose from a variety of ways to treat the joint.
Why are Distal Radial Fractures So Common?
The answer to this question can be summed up in one word: osteoporosis. Although this fracture can occur because of trauma to the wrist (such as in a car accident), it is most often sustained in those with osteoporosis, who fall and extend their hand outward to try to “catch” themselves.
Osteoporosis is a thinning of the natural bone mass, which leaves the body especially susceptible to injury. Because this condition itself occurs slowly and naturally over time, but does not have any noticeable symptoms (osteoporosis itself is not painful), a wrist fracture is sometimes the first sign that the patient is experiencing bone loss.
Distal radial fracture surgeons report that the rates of osteoporosis are highest in older women, who have a low body weight. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the best strategies for avoiding osteoporosis. But in cases where the bone loss has already occurred, the patient should consider the option of wearing protective wrist braces to provide extra support.
Some distal radial fractures do not require surgery. Depending on whether the bones have shifted and how stable they are, the physician will decide whether to perform surgery. Surgeries on the wrist
can include hardware such as plates, screws and pins.
5 Ways the Distal Radius (Wrist) Can Break
Distal radial fracture surgeons classify the kind of injury based on how the radius broke and the position of the bones after the fact. Below you’ll find some common classifications:
- A Colles fracture occurs when the broken fragment of the radius tilts upward (usually because the patient had reached out their hand to catch themselves during a fall).
- Smith’s fractures happen when the hand is caught under the wrist. The motion that causes this kind of fracture is the opposite mechanism as the Colles.
- An open fracture is indicated by bone that breaks the skin.
- When a bone is broken into more than two pieces, it is called a comminuted fracture.
- A displaced fracture has occurred when the broken pieces of bone do not line up straight.
Why See Rothman Institute Distal Radial Fracture Surgeons?
We’ve already mentioned that wrist fractures
are common orthopedic injuries. But that doesn’t mean you should go to just any care provider. You’ll want to look around to find the very best your area has to offer. Here are just a few reasons to choose Rothman Institute:
Education: These world-renowned specialists train the orthopaedic surgeons of today and tomorrow, lecturing internationally, conducting webcasts and surgical satellite simulcasts to surgeons around the world, as well as those around the corner.
Technology: All Rothman Institute surgeons are trained in the most cutting edge technology and tools in their subspecialties. While many hospitals are reluctant to spend the money to purchase expensive new technology, Rothman Institute is committed to bringing our patients the very best - no matter what the cost.
With 20 locations
throughout the region, there is a Rothman Institute office near you! That means you won’t have to drive far to benefit from the vast experience and years of incredible, proven patient outcomes that you’ll find when you come to Rothman Institute.
Patients should look for distal radial fracture surgeons that not only have the skill and experience, but also the academic expertise to provide the best possible result.