Wrist injuries, such as fractures and sprains, are very common. They often occur when you put your hand out to catch yourself during a fall. When a wrist injury happens, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what type of injury has been sustained. An x-ray can be an effective way to accurately diagnose the type of injury and to determine the appropriate treatment.
Common Wrist Injuries
Fractures and sprains are the most common types of wrist injuries. You may assume that a fracture can cause greater pain than a sprain, but this is not always the case as they can have similar symptoms, making it difficult to determine the type and extent of the injury you have.
A sprain can occur if you over-stretch or tear the ligaments in your wrist. Ligaments are tough, fibrous bands of tissue that connect bones together and give them stability. A wrist sprain is often caused when the scapholunate ligament is injured. The scapholunate ligament is an important ligament that connects two of the small carpal bones together, known as the scaphoid and the lunate, are located near the center of the wrist. Sprains can cause symptoms including swelling, pain and bruising, limited movement around the joint, and sometimes, a popping sensation at the time of injury.
The wrist is made up of two forearm bones called the radius and ulna. The radius is the larger of the two bones. A distal radius fracture is a break near the wrist (distal) end of the radius bone, where it is particularly vulnerable. It is important to classify the type of fracture in order to treat it effectively, as some distal radial fractures, such as those that extend to the wrist joint, or a fracture that breaks the skin, can be difficult to treat. Sometimes, the ulna bone in the forearm is also broken, which is called a distal ulna fracture.
Scaphoid fractures are the second-most common type of wrist fracture, but they can be difficult to identify and treat. The scaphoid is one of the carpal bones that form two rows of small round bones in the wrist, located near the base of the thumb.
A wrist fracture usually causes immediate pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising to the affected area. In some cases, there may also be an obvious deformity. If you experience severe pain, have an open fracture (where the bone breaks the skin), or if the wrist area is deformed or numb, or fingers are no longer pink, you should seek immediate medical treatment.
Because symptoms of a sprain and a fracture can be similar, it can be difficult to determine the type of injury you have and may require an x-ray to accurately assess the injury.
An x-ray (radiograph) is a quick, painless procedure that involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to create images of internal body structures. An x-ray can help diagnose a number of conditions, including a bone fracture, and with advances in computer technology, it now means information can be directly captured from an x-ray and immediately transferred to a computer system to instantly view it. Digital x-ray is an efficient and cost-effective diagnostic method. It can also reduce patient radiation exposure by as much as 90 percent compared to traditional x-ray equipment, making it much safer.
Following an x-ray, your doctor and/or a radiologist will review your results. Your doctor will then use the information to formulate an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Urgent Care In North Richland Hills, Texas
If you have a wrist injury, talk to the dedicated healthcare providers at EMC Express Care. We are committed to providing dependable and compassionate care services for your urgent, nonemergency health care needs. We are equipped with specialized treatment rooms and advanced technology including digital x-rays.
If you require prompt medical treatment, visit EMC Express Care today, where you can be seen without an appointment and with short wait times. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer, call us today at (817) 503-8800 or you can visit us at our walk-in clinic.