The diagnosis of a broken wrist or hand generally includes a physical exam and one or more imaging tests.
During the physical exam, your doctor will check the affected area for:
- Range of motion
- Open wound
- Nerve damage
- Impaired blood flow
Imaging scans are crucial to the diagnosis of a broken wrist or broken hand. To diagnose your injury, you may have:
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- X-ray. Using low levels of radiation, X-rays are a good tool to visualize bone. X-rays are painless and take only a few minutes to complete.
- CT scan. CT scans can often uncover wrist or hand fractures that X-rays might miss. Injuries to soft tissues and blood vessels also are easier to see on CT scans. This technology takes X-rays from a variety of angles and combines them to depict cross-sectional slices of your body's internal structures.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnet to produce detailed images of bone and soft tissues. It is much more sensitive than X-rays and can identify very small fractures and ligament injuries.
- Wrist fractures. American Society for Surgery of the Hand. http://handcare.assh.org/Hand-Anatomy/Details-Page/ArticleID/27933/Wrist-Fractures.aspx. Accessed April 22, 2014.
- Doherty GM, ed. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=343&Sectionid=39702828. Accessed April 22, 2014.
- Sebastin S, et al. Overview of finger, hand, and wrist fractures. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 22, 2014.
- Scaphoid fracture of the wrist. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00012 . Accessed April 22, 2014.
- Hand fractures. American Society for Surgery of the Hand. http://handcare.assh.org/Hand-Anatomy/Details-Page/ArticleID/27972/Hand-Fractures.aspx. Accessed April 22, 2014.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00412. Accessed April 22, 2014.
- Hand fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00010. Accessed April 22, 2014.
- Bone health. National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone_Health/default.asp. Accessed April 22, 2014.