Preventing Wrist Fracture this Winter

By February 16, 2016Physiotherapy, Sports

Look at all that snow, Ottawa! Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa recommends that you protect yourself when walking on snowy walkways and participate in sports this winter season to prevent injuries that may cause a wrist fracture.

Did you know? The medical term for a broken wrist is a wrist fracture. Your wrist has eight bones connecting to the radius and ulna – two long bones in your forearm. A broken wrist can happen to any of your 10 bones but the most common fracture is in the radius.

The two most common wrist fracture types we see at Activa are the Colles Fracture and Scaphoid Fracture.

Colles Fracture

A Colles Fracture is a fracture of the distal radius in the forearm with posterior and radial displacement of the wrist and hand. This fracture is sometimes referred to as a dinner fork based on the shape of the impacted forearm. Colles fractures are often seen in people with osteoporosis.

Scaphoid Fracture

The scaphoid is one of the small bones in the wrist and the most likely to break. Located on the thumb side of the wrist, the scaphoid is in the area where the wrist bends. Pain or tenderness in this area can be a sign that the scaphoid is injured.

Wrist Fracture Causes

A wrist fracture can result from falling down onto an outstretched hand, especially during this snowy winter season. Weak bones tend to break more easily in osteoporosis.

Wrist Fracture Symptoms

When the wrist is broken, you may experience pain and swelling, therefore it can be difficult to move or use your hand and wrist. Some people can still move or use their hand or wrist even if their bone is broken. Swelling or a bone out of place can make the wrist appear deformed. Patients often experience pain around the fracture and when they move their fingers. Some patients feel tingling or numbing at the tips of their fingers.

Wrist Fracture Treatment

Depending on the severity of your wrist injury, you will either be put in a cast or a splint. Following immobilization, Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa will provide you with gentle manual therapy and an exercise program that will help to restore full functioning and strength of your wrist.

Wrist Fracture Healing Time

During recovery, it’s important to keep your fingers moving to prevent them from getting stiff. Manual therapy and supporting exercises demonstrated by Activa’s Registered Physiotherapist will help with recovering motion, strength and functioning of your wrist.

Wrist Fracture Prevention

Most wrist fractures occur when people fall forward on their outstretched hand. To prevent this common injury:

  • Wear sensible and solid winter boots when outdoors
  • Avoid slippery surfaces, such as snow and ice-covered walkways
  • Remove hazards and clutter in your home
  • Illuminate your living space so you can see clearly and move around safely
  • Install grab bars in your bathroom if needed
  • Install handrails on your stairways for safety

Wrist guards are recommended for high-risk outdoor activities:

  • Skating on the canal
  • Downhill Skiing and Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Running
  • Tobogganing/Sledding

Build your bone strength!

  • Eat a nutritious diet with enough calcium and Vitamin D
  • Increase weight-bearing exercises, such as walking after dinner
  • Quit smoking!

Stay safe this winter season! If you have any questions or feel any pain or discomfort from a recent fall, we are here to help. Feel free to call us at 613-744-4188 to schedule a same-day appointment with Activa’s Registered Physiotherapist.