Preparing for your appointmentBy 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:
- Range of motion
- Open wound
- Nerve damage
- Impaired blood flow
Your doctor may also do some maneuvers to measure your range of motion and grip strength.
- Petron DJ, et al. Distal radius fractures in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 2, 2011.
- Hand fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00010. June 2, 2011.
- Anderson BC. Evaluation of the adult patient with wrist pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 2, 2011.
- Wrist fractures. American Society for Surgery of the Hand. http://www.assh.org/Public/HandConditions/Pages/WristFractures.aspx. Accessed June 2, 2011.
- Scaphoid fracture of the wrist. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00012. Accessed June 2, 2011.
- Lewiecki EM. Prevention of osteoporosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 2, 2011.