Hairline Wrist Fracture

Please watch this Video on why hand pain can't wait.  If you think you have a fracture or a broken bone, don't wait.  Give JOI a Call!

What are the Symptoms of a Hairline Fracture of the Wrist & Hand?

Hairline Wrist FractureWrist or Hand Hairline Fracture

The quick answer is the symptoms of hairline fractures of the wrist are pain(sharp or achy), swelling, bruising and lack of function of the wrist. Wrist fractures can occur with a fall on an outstretched arm, or a forceful impact such as a car accident. Fractures to the wrist are typically painful at the wrist and can appear to deform the wrist and hand. 

 There are 2 long bones in the forearm which connect to the wrist and hand.  There are 8 small bones called carpals which work together to connect the forearm to the hand.  A severe fracture in the wrist may involve one of the long bones (radius and ulna), or one or more of the 8 carpal bones.  Hairline fractures are also known as stress fractures.  Hairline fractures are also common in the foot, ankle and spine.  Fractures are diagnosed with x-rays and an exam from a physician. 

Symptoms of hairline fractures in other areas of the body vary.  Most feel a pain or ache in the bone which is involved.  In the lower extremity, the pain gets worse with weight bearing or standing on hard surfaces.  If the fracture is diagnosed in a timely manner, the pain will become more sharp in nature.

How do you tell the Difference between a Fracture vs Break? 

A broken wrist is the same as a fractured wrist.  A break may may suggest a more severe fracture.  A fracture is a compromise of the bone and may vary in severity and this includes a stress fracture.  A wrist sprain is painful as well but it is not a bone injury though.  Sprains of the wrist involve the ligaments being damaged.  Severe wrist sprains and all fractures should be evaluated by an Orthopedic Physician. 

X-ray of the human wrist anatomy showing a fractured scaphoid or broken wrist. JOI RehabScaphoid Fracture

If you would like to learn more about wrist sprains, this video may help.

Do Hairline Wrist & Hand Fractures Heal by Themselves?

The quick answer is hairline fractures usually heal by themselves but usually require immobilization.  Continued exposure to weight bearing or force can slow the healing process.  Immobilization of the wrist can hold the bones and joints in position to allow the hairline fracture to heal faster and limit pain during the healing process.  

Hairline Fracture Wrist/Hand Cast or Splint

Immobilization of a wrist fracture is done with a cast or a splint.  For workers or athletes who need to continue their activity while healing, an ActivArmor cast may be an option.  ActivArmor is the latest technology in casting. This allows 3D scanning and printing of a hard plastic custom cast. This allows the fractured area to get wet and protects against potential forces.

JOI Hairline Fracture Wrist or Hand CastHairline Fracture Wrist Cast in ActivArmor

Can You Move Your Wrist or Hand with a Hairline Fracture?

You can move the wrist with a hairline fracture but it is typically not recommended.  It also depends on the location of the fracture and it severity.  Immobilization is typically recommended to prevent healing complications.  If you have persistent wrist pain that wont go away, you should be evaluated by an orthopedic hand specialist.

How Long Does it Take to Heal a Hairline Fracture?

Fractures usually take 6 to 8 weeks to heal.  Hairline fractures may heal faster depending on the severity.  
Some types of fractures are more delicate and may require continued care.  A fracture of the Scaphoid bone in the wrist is one that can cause complications.  The Scaphoid is one of the 8 carpal bones which is closest to the thumb.  It is unique because of its blood supply.  Compromise of the artery which feeds the Scaphoid can lead to healing problems and may pose a medical emergency.  

If you would like to learn more about fractures of the arm, please go to: Hairline fractures of the arm
or The Anatomy of the Hand.

Other Common Hairline Fractures

Hairline fractures are common in other areas as well;

  • Knee
  • Shin
  • Tibia
  • Arm
  • Fibula

Book an Appointment with The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Today!

If you have wrist pain or are concerned about a hairline wrist fracture, JOI can help!  Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute has the field’s top hand/ upper extremity surgeons and microvascular specialists.  We also provide the latest technology in casting, splinting, and treatment.  Come See Us!.

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

By: Ehren Allen, PT, Certified Manual Therapist



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