A distal radius fracture, also called a wrist fracture, usually occurs when a person falls and lands on outstretched hands.
Fractures of the distal radius may be simple, or they may be complex. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, if the fracture is not in many pieces, your orthopaedic surgeon may put the bone back in position and place you in a cast or splint. For more severe fractures, your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend surgery and the use of implantable devices to hold the fracture in correct alignment. It usually takes six to eight weeks for the fracture to heal.
If you are in a cast, it’s important to take care of it properly. If your cast loosens, then you risk the bones losing alignment. Therefore, you need to:
- Keep it dry. To shower or bathe, use two layers of plastic or buy waterproof shields.
- Don’t pull out the padding.
- Don’t stick objects such as coat hangers inside to scratch itchy skin.
- Keep dirt, sand and powder away from the inside of the cast. If itching persists or if the skin around the cast becomes irritated, call your physician for advice.
- Don’t break off or trim rough edges of the cast without asking your physician first.