Symptoms and Signs of Wrist Injury (Wrist Fracture)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 1/11/2022

Doctor's Notes on Wrist Injury (Wrist Fracture)

A wrist injury typically refers to a sprain, strain, or fracture. Signs and symptoms of a wrist injury (fracture) may include

  • wrist pain,
  • swelling,
  • limited range of motion of the wrist joint,
  • skin discoloration over the joint,
  • warmth of the joint, and
  • joint deformity.

Tendons and ligaments may also be injured with fractures; signs and symptoms are similar.

Causes of wrist fractures most often are falls onto an outstretched hand, but almost any type of trauma (falls, hit with a blunt object, crush injuries, for example) can cause fractures. Causes of injury without fractures are often due to overuse and carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Are the Treatments for a Wrist Fracture?

The treatments for a wrist fracture are as follows and are used according to the severity of the fractures:

  • Reduction realigns fractured bones in the wrist (with local or general anesthesia before reduction).
  • Immobilization: cast or splint
  • Medication: over-the-counter medications (ask about NSAIDs) or prescription (like codeine); antibiotics if necessary
  • Surgery holds bones in place.
    • Implants: pins, plates, rods, and/or screws
    • External fixation: external rod or frame with pins attached that go through the skin into the bone on both sides of the fracture
    • Bone graft to promote healing

An orthopedic hand surgeon is usually consulted about what treatments may be best for the individual, including the need for physical and/or occupational therapy.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.