The Broken Wrist


So you’ve broken your wrist…What next?

Broken wrists – also known as distal radius fractures – are quite common as people naturally use their hands and wrists to break their fall. The radius is actually the most often broken bone in the arm.

There are two bones of the forearm of which the radius is the longer. The end toward the wrist is called the distal end, hence the name ‘distal radius fracture’. 

Other ways the distal radius can break include (source):

  • Intra-articular fracture. A fracture that extends into the wrist joint. (“Articular” means “joint.”)
  • Extra-articular fracture. A fracture that does not extend into the joint is called an extra-articular fracture.
  • Open fracture. When a fractured bone breaks the skin, it is called an open fracture. These types of fractures require immediate medical attention because of the risk for infection.
  • Comminuted fracture. When a bone is broken into more than two pieces, it is called a comminuted fracture.


If you have a broken wrist, you will likely experience immediate pain at the time of breaking it, followed by bruising, swelling, and tenderness. In most cases, it may be visibly broken as it may ‘hang’ in an abnormal way.

Dr. Brandon Luskin is our on site orthopedic hand surgeon, who also specializes in the treatment of orthopedic wrist injuries in Boynton Beach and Boca Raton.