Broken Wrist

Broken Wrist

A broken wrist is a fracture or break in the wrist end of either the radius and ulna forearm bones or any of the small carpal bones in the wrist.

Symptoms of a broken wrist

Broken wrist symptoms will vary slightly depending on the type and grade of injury. Sudden pain is common with rapid swelling. The wrist may appear deformed and pain is likely to increase when trying to move the hand. If tingling or numbness are felt anywhere in the hand or fingers this may indicate nerve damage.

Scaphoid fracture

A Scaphoid fracture is probably the most common wrist fracture and involves a fracture to one of the small carpal bones in the wrist called the scaphoid bone. The blood supply to the scaphoid is poor so complications and incomplete healing can occur.

Colles fracture

A Colle's fracture is a break at the wrist end of the radius bone in the forearm. The most common cause of a Colles fracture is a fall onto an outstretched arm, particularly in older females who may be suffering from osteoperosis.

Hook of hamate fracture

Another type of wrist fracture is a fractured hook of hamate. This is a fracture to the hamate bone which is one of the small carpal bones on the little finger side of the wrist.


If you suspect a broken wrist it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The arm should be X-rayed to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the extent of the fracture and any complications.

A straight forward fracture simply requires immobilisation in a cast or splint for 4-8 weeks to allow the bone to heal.

If the X-ray reveals any complications, such as multiple fractures (comminuted) or displacement, then surgery may be required to realign the bones and hold them together whilst they heal.