The history of fall and the look of the forearm and the wrist tells the story to an experienced orthopedic surgeon. However, a full assessment is required before advising immobilization.
The first thing to test is the sensation in all the fingers of the fractured hand. Sometimes the nerves could be involved in the fracture and the sensation diminished. In such a situation an open surgery maybe necessary to release the nerve.
Next, the pulse at the wrist is checked. The movement of the fingers is also tested.
A wrist and lower forearm x-ray, in two positions, shows the extent of the injury and provides the following information to the doctor –
- the direction of displacement of the fractured end of the bone,
- degree of shortening and compression.
- Also shows if the joint end of the bone is involved in the fracture. All this information helps the doctor to plan the right treatment.