Wrist Injuries from Falling Off Your Bike

We all have had experiences with falling off of a bike. Peddling a cruiser down a bumpy beach or guiding your little one through their first ride without training wheels, falls happen. Wrist injuries are common when falling off of a bike. We are wired to use our hands to protect our faces and heads.  It is instinct to throw out the hands to brace against a fall when gravity gets the best of us. 

man and woman riding mountain bikes with backpacks onHow do you tell if your wrist is broken or sprained

How Do You Tell if Your Wrist is Broken, Fractured or Sprained?

Look for the 5 signs of Inflammation.

  1. Pain
  2. Warmth
  3. Swelling
  4. Redness
  5. Loss of function

These signs are generally associated with both a sprained and/or broken (fractured) wrist. Here are a few signs/symptoms that should tell you that you should immediately seek medical attention for an evaluation:

Note: Children may not present with much swelling following joint trauma.

  • Deformity: If your wrist is visibly deformed or out of place, then seek medical attention immediately. The deformity may be because of a fracture, dislocation, or both. 
  • Pain over the scaphoid bone: The scaphoid is one of the eight carpal bones that make up the wrist. It is the most commonly fractured bone in the wrist. It is located on the thumb side in an area called the “snuff box.” If you refer to the image, you can see exactly where we are referring to. If you have point tenderness and pain in this location, then you should seek medical attention. 

*Note: scaphoid fractures can be difficult to see on x-ray.  If a scaphoid fracture is not found on the x-ray, you may need a follow-up x-ray 10-14 days later if you still have pain. You may be referred to a physician who specializes in hand and wrist injuries. 

  • Prolonged pain: Most who suffer from a minor wrist sprain may experience a significant decrease in pain. This allows them to move and use the wrist after 5-7 days. If you have had direct trauma to your wrist from a fall and are having consistent levels of pain, swelling, redness, and/or loss of function 4-6 days following the injury, then it is time to seek medical attention to rule out a more time-sensitive severe injury. 

Significant loss of function: If you have severe pain to the extent that you cannot move your hand or wrist, you should immediately seek medical attention. Call 904-JOI-2000 

animated image of a man holding and injured wrist.  The wrist area is highlighted in red.How to tell if your wrist is broken or sprained

Click HERE to learn safety tips for riding a bike.

Can You Move Your Wrist if it’s Fractured?

Yes, some people will be able to move their wrist, even with a fracture. You should seek medical attention if you think you may have broken your wrist.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Hairline Fracture of the Wrist?

Common signs and symptoms of a hairline fracture will be focused pain, warmth, swelling, redness, and/or loss of function.  Hairline fractures may not produce a lot of swelling but  may have prolonged achy pain that intensifies to a sharp pain with touch or when pressure is applied to the specific location. 

Read this ARTICLE for more information on hairline fractures.

How Long Does a Sprained Wrist Take to Heal?

Wrist sprains can heal anywhere from 2-10 weeks after the injury. This timeframe is dependent on the initial severity of the sprain. If a ligament is torn completely, surgery may be needed.  A surgeon may need to reconstruct the ligament to ensure stability and function in the wrist. Treatment for wrist sprains typically includes immobilization of the wrist joint using a brace or splint. 

Physical or occupational therapy may be necessary following immobilization to help restore range of motion, strength, and function.  You can learn more about wrist injuries and if you wrist is strained or sprained in this ARTICLE.

Waterproof Cast for Wrist Injuries

Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute is an exclusive provider for ActivArmor casts. it is the first and only custom-made waterproof splint available in the United States.

Image of a light blue activarmor cast on a wrist ActivArmor waterproof for wrist injuries

Benefits of an ActivArmor™ Cast
These are the benefits of this innovative way to cast.

  • Waterproof Cast
  • Breathable Cast Material
  • Fixed or Removable Cast
  • Light-weight
  • Custom Fabricated with Multiple Colors
  • Improved Hygiene of the involved body part

To schedule an appointment for physical therapy or an Activarmor Cast, please call JOI Rehab at 904-858-7045.

By: Stephen Borkowski

Treatment of Wrist Injuries Near Me

Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has 5 medical offices located throughout Northeast Florida. If you think you have injured your wrist you can make an appointment online at JOIonline.net or click below, or call 904-JOI-2000.



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