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Symptoms of a hand or wrist fracture

Have you felt a sudden stab of pain in your hand with no explanation? Is the area around your wrist tender and the slightest pressure hurts tremendously? If so, it could be because of a fracture. Fractures of the hand and wrist are very common. They’re also very painful and can prevent you from doing what you love. Our specialists of hand and wrist fractures in San Francisco will ensure you get the correct diagnosis and back to full function and mobility.

Types of distal radius fractures

The radius is a large bone located in the forearm. If the part of the bone located at the base of the wrist breaks, it is called a distal radius fracture. Most hand fractures are distal radius fractures. But they are called by different names, depending on where the fractures occur and the extent of the injury.

Here are four types of distal radius fractures:

Intra-articular fractures

Intra-articular fractures are fractures within a joint. These fractures are more serious than other types of fractures, as they can become worse if not addressed. If left to heal on their own, they can cause rough joint surfaces which can later lead to arthritis. They often involve cartilage damage and treating them involves treating both the bone and cartilage.

In some cases of intra-articular fractures, bone fragments may get lodged inside the damaged joints or ligaments in the hand and may tear and get damaged; making the condition more severe. This type of serious fracture can occur only if the patient has been a victim of an accident or blunt force trauma.

Extra-articular fractures

Extra-articular fractures are similar to intra-articular fractures in severity. The only difference is that the break in the bone stops above the wrist, while in intra-articular fractures, the break extends beyond the wrist. These fractures do not affect the joints in the hand, but they cause immense pain and discomfort by affecting the upper part of the hand and the wrist. These fractures occur if the wrist bone is subjected to massive pressure or injury.

Open/Compound fractures

Open fractures are fractures in which the skin has been broken. Fractures of this type can lead to much higher likelihood of infection. Open fractures can compromise the integrity of even healthy and unbroken bones, if treatment isn’t immediate. The doctors at the Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group will work quickly to ensure that the injury site is immediately cleaned and stabilized. These fractures require full-fledged bone, tissue, tendon and ligament surgery. Patients may also require nerve surgery to treat possible nerve damage in the fracture site.

Site contamination is common if treatment of open fractures is delayed. Our doctors will first administer antibiotics and tetanus shots to get rid of infection. After this, they may operate to treat the fracture, if it is safe to do so. If surgery isn’t the right option, the doctors will keep your bones in a splint until you are ready to be operated upon.

Comminuted fractures

If the bones in the hand are broken in multiple places, they are collectively called as comminuted fractures. These fractures require a combination of treatments, depending on the position and severity of the fractures.

Don't live in pain, contact us today

At our center, Dr. Joshua Gordon, MD and Dr. Leonard Gordon, MD are some of the top physicians in treating hand and wrist fractures San Francisco has to offer. If you've experienced any of the symptoms mention above or think that you might have a fracture in your hand or wrist, contact our office immediately. It is imperative that your pain is diagnosed by a professional as soon as possible to ensure no permanent damage takes place due to neglect. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have.


There are two basic treatments to heal fractures:

  • Splinting

If the fracture is not very severe or if it is located in an area of the hand where surgery may not help, then our doctors will use a cast or a splint to keep the bones in place. Over time, the bone will regenerate and fuse together, healing completely. This treatment is ideal for intra-articular and extra-articular fractures.

  • Surgery

In more severe cases, like open and comminuted fractures, surgery is the ideal option. Here, the doctors will surgically fix the bones in place using plates and screws. They may also perform muscle, tendon, ligament or nerve repair, if the patient requires it.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a hand or wrist fracture, give us a call and visit our clinic today.

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Address: 2299 Post Street, Suite 103
San Francisco, CA 94115