6 doctors weighed in:

When a person falls, sticks out her hand and breaks her wrist, which bone (or bones) actually break?

6 doctors weighed in
David Miller
Family Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: Distal radius

You typically break the end of your radius (the bone between your elbow and your thumb) in one of two patterns called colle's and smith's fractures.
These depend on whether you fall forward or backward. This is the most common fracture of the upper extremity. The picture shows the classic "dinner fork deformity" typical of colle's fracture.

In brief: Distal radius

You typically break the end of your radius (the bone between your elbow and your thumb) in one of two patterns called colle's and smith's fractures.
These depend on whether you fall forward or backward. This is the most common fracture of the upper extremity. The picture shows the classic "dinner fork deformity" typical of colle's fracture.
David Miller
David Miller
Answer assisted by David Miller, Medical Student
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Dr. Richard Makowiec
Surgery - Hand Surgery

In brief: A few possibilities

The only sure way to know which bone is fractured is to have an xray of the hand/wrist.
Most commonly, a fall on an outstretched hand will give a distal radius fracture. However, the distal ulna, scaphoid and other carpal bones can all be injured in a fall.

In brief: A few possibilities

The only sure way to know which bone is fractured is to have an xray of the hand/wrist.
Most commonly, a fall on an outstretched hand will give a distal radius fracture. However, the distal ulna, scaphoid and other carpal bones can all be injured in a fall.
Dr. Richard Makowiec
Dr. Richard Makowiec
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Dr. Allen Seely
General Practice
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Scaphoid bone

A common bone to break in the wrist with a fall on outstretched hand (f.
O.O.H.) is the scaphoid (formerly called the navicular) bone. This bone has a tendency not to heal properly so early care and immobilization is recommended. Xrays may not pick up the fracture and pain/tenderness is at the thumb base ('snuff box'). Other bones in the wrist can fracture, too (e.g. Radius) so xrays are needed.

In brief: Scaphoid bone

A common bone to break in the wrist with a fall on outstretched hand (f.
O.O.H.) is the scaphoid (formerly called the navicular) bone. This bone has a tendency not to heal properly so early care and immobilization is recommended. Xrays may not pick up the fracture and pain/tenderness is at the thumb base ('snuff box'). Other bones in the wrist can fracture, too (e.g. Radius) so xrays are needed.
Dr. Allen Seely
Dr. Allen Seely
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