Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ

Question:

I broke my wrist when I fell off a ladder painting my house. The doctor put a device on it called a fixator. This is supposed to allow the bone to heal while still letting me move the wrist. Now I have constant numbness and tingling in my thumb and first two fingers, and problems with swelling, pain, and hand sweating. Wouldn't it be better to put the arm in a cast?

Answer:

Fractures are not all the same. Each one must be treated individually. With wrist fractures, there is the danger of the bone and joint getting shorter. This can cause many other hand and wrist problems. Damage to the ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissues around the fracture must also be treated. Improper treatment can result in significant arthritis later.

The use of a fixator has replaced casting in many cases. These devices allow the surgeon to pin the bones together and hold them in place during healing. The fixator also allows movement of the hand, wrist, and arm. This helps prevent problems with stiffness and loss of motion.

Unfortunately, there are some problems that can occur with these fixation devices. Nerve and tendon damage, finger fractures, and complex pain patterns can develop. Your doctor should be made aware of your problems. Treatment with medication and physical therapy may help.



*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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