Distal Radius Fracture (broken wrist) | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

Distal Radius Fracture (broken wrist)

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What has happened?

  • You have broken a bone in your wrist
  • This is a very common break, and nearly all heal without requiring an operation

What should I expect?

  • You will have been placed in a cast by Emergency Department (ED staff) - this is to help keep the bone in the correct place during healing
  • You will likely have a cast for approximately 6-8 weeks
  • Your wrist will be swollen and sore, and you may develop bruising and swelling in the fingers - this is normal

What should I do?

  • Take simple pain relief (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) as needed
  • Keep your fingers moving
  • It may help with swelling and discomfort to elevate your wrist by resting it 1-2 pillows while sitting 

What should I not do?

  • Try to reduce or stop smoking as this may delay bone healing
  • Do not use your injured arm for heavy lifting
  • You may be unable to drive while in your cast

Will I be followed up?

  • Yes, a follow-up appointment in the Orthopaedic Clinic will be requested when you leave the Emergency Department (ED) and you will be contacted abouta date and time
  • You will need multiple x-rays to monitor the healing

What if I have concerns/questions?

  • If your injury is not settling or you are worried about how it is healing, please see your GP first  - take your ACC form/number with you
  • Please seek medical attention if you have the following
    • Increasing pain in your hand
    • Inability to move your fingers
    • Numbness or tingling in your hand
    • Your fingers go cold, or turn blue/white, compared with the other hand