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Wrist Fractures

Clip Number: 3 of 33
Presentation: Distal Radius Fracture Surgery
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Now let's discuss what happens when the radius bone of the wrist is fractured, or broken.
The wrist can fracture in many different ways.
The radius may fracture just outside the wrist joint. This can also be coupled with a fracture in the ulna. In other cases, the radius may be fractured in a way that damages the articular cartilage on the joint surface. Notice how this makes the smooth surface of the articular cartilage become rough or jagged. Fractures such as these can be more serious because even a little roughness or irregularity in the joint surface can lead to painful movement of the joint and the early development of arthritis.
In most cases, surgery allows for roughness on the joint surface to be returned to its original or near original smoothness. This offers the greatest chance for the return of normal function.
The carpal tunnel is on the palm side of the wrist. When a bone breaks, there is bleeding and swelling at the site of fracture. If the radius bone is displaced from its normal position, it can place pressure on the median nerve in the fixed space of the carpal tunnel. This pressure can damage the nerve, and result in numbness or weakness in the hand.

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