A broken wrist (wrist fracture) can involve the small bones in the wrist or the ends of the forearm bones. Wrist fractures most commonly occur when people try to catch themselves during a fall and land hard on an outstretched hand.

Treatment may include a splint, cast or surgery, depending on the severity and location of the break. Rehabilitation therapy is usually part of the recovery process.

Some wrist fractures can interrupt blood flow to a wrist bone, causing part of it to die. If this occurs, a piece of bone taken from another location in the body (bone graft) may be inserted to help the fractured bone heal. In some cases, if the bone doesn't heal, several wrist bones may need to be fused together.

  • Experience and expertise. Each year, Mayo Clinic doctors treat more than 1,000 people with all types of wrist fractures. Mayo hand surgeons have extensive experience performing both routine and complex wrist surgeries.
  • State-of-the-art technology. Mayo Clinic doctors use special types of magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography scans that allow excellent understanding of the fracture to determine the best treatment option.
  • Vascularized bone grafts. To help the fracture heal quickly, Mayo Clinic surgeons can keep the blood vessels attached to a bone graft, so it will retain its blood flow even after it's moved to a different location. Bone grafts can be taken from the arm, thumb, hip or knee.
  • Innovative hardware. Mayo orthopedic surgeons use many types of hardware to hold wrist bones together when fixing fractures or during wrist fusions. One example is a plate made from a material that doesn't show up on X-rays so that the course of healing can be better monitored.
  • Coordinated care. At Mayo Clinic, rehabilitation is an important part of wrist fracture treatment. The goal is to restore the strength and range of motion in your wrist and fingers and to ease stiffness. Mayo specialists also can help manage osteoporosis to decrease the risk of additional fractures.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Specialists in hand surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation treat people with wrist fractures.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in hand surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation treat people with wrist fractures.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in hand surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation treat people with wrist fractures.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic researchers are studying ways to improve wrist fracture treatment. Scientists in Mayo's laboratories for biomechanics and motion analysis also are active in a number of areas of hand and wrist research.

See a list of publications by Mayo authors on wrist fracture treatment on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Jun. 06, 2014