Broken wrist: What are the possible complications?

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An individual with a broken wrist might result to some complications. The wrist is a complex joint that move in various directions to accomplish both gross movements as well as fine motions. Due to the complexity of the joint, problems from a damaged wrist can lead to functional deficits as well as chronic pain syndromes.

Potential complications of a broken wrist

Some of the usual complications of a broken wrist include the following:

Carpal tunnel syndrome

A wrist fracture can add up to acute carpal tunnel syndrome. Due to the means of injury in wrist fractures, the chief nerve that moves through the carpal tunnel at the joint is subjected to abnormal pressure from the displaced bony fragments.

Falls directly on the wrist can result to a contusion of the nerve. This results to bruising inside the nerve tissue and pressure from the swelling.

A wrist fracture can add up to acute carpal tunnel syndrome.

Post-traumatic arthritis

If a broken wrist involves the ordinarily smooth cartilage exteriors of the bones comprising the wrist, it is impossible to restore these to pre-fracture smoothness.

It is important to note that proper setting techniques and even surgical reduction can oftentimes lessen the effects. This results to uneven contact of the surfaces where friction and abnormal wear on the joint cartilage causes increased deterioration of the smooth hyaline cartilage.

Chronic stiffness and pain

A broken wrist usually takes 8 weeks to heal. This tends to vary and based on other factors including the severity of damage and bone quality. The symptoms such as chronic pain, stiffness and aching can persist for several months after full healing is achieved.

Complex regional pain syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome is considered as a serious and debilitating complication of a broken wrist. The precise cause is not yet fully understood but believed that it is due to a dysfunction in the sympathetic nervous system that regulates the flow of blood as well as sweat gland activity.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a broken wrist is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications of the injury by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid.

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