Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You may initially seek treatment for a broken wrist or broken hand in an emergency room or urgent-care clinic. If the pieces of broken bone aren't lined up properly to allow healing with immobilization, you may be referred to a doctor specializing in orthopedic surgery.

What you can do

You may want to write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms and how the injury occurred
  • Information about past medical problems
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. For broken wrist or broken hand, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the approach you're suggesting?
  • Will I need surgery?
  • Will I need to wear a cast? If so, for how long?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask:

  • How did the injury happen?
  • Was your wrist or hand bent backward or forward when the impact occurred?
  • Are you right-handed or left-handed?
  • Where does it hurt, and does any specific movement make it hurt more or less?
  • Have you had any previous hand or wrist injuries or surgery?

During the physical exam, your doctor will check the affected area for:

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Range of motion
  • Deformity
  • Open wound
  • Nerve damage
  • Impaired blood flow

Your doctor may also do some maneuvers to measure your range of motion and grip strength.

Jul. 07, 2011