How do you know when you have a wrist fracture?

Pain is a warning. Although the deformity helps the diagnosis it may not be evident. You can have an occult fracture where no deformiy or x-ray is initally present. You can also have a stress fracture which is an overuse injury. If there is local pain and swelling i would consider it broken until repeat x-rays are done in 2-3 weeks.
X-ray. An x-ray is required to definitively determine if there is a fracture ( unless a none is actually protruding through the skin). Most fractures occur after some kind of trauma and cause swelling and pain. If there are any changes in the color of the hand (suggesting an injury to a blood vessel) or loss of sensation (damage to a nerve), it needs to be seen immediately.
With wrist fracture. You will see obvious deformity, swelling, stiffness, tenderness, bruising, numbness , increasing pain with gripping and squeezing. Seek medical attention asap if with swelling and numbness. Delaying treatment may affect range of motion and decrease grip strength!

Related Questions

What are the signs of broken wrist (colles fracture)?

Many. Swelling, bruising, pain, deformity. The only way to know for sure is an x-ray. Read more...
Abraham Colles . Described a fracture his treatise on surgical anatomy paper on the fracture of the carpal extremity of the radius in 1814 before x-rays . He used terminogy such as a silver fork deformity to describe the dorsal displacement . Many fractures of the distal radius are called colles fractures but that is a misnomer as radius fractures have myriad patterns but usually...... Swelling deformity pain. Read more...
Colles fracture. Usually implies a fracture of the distal radius , this can be a misnomer as fracture pattern differs greatly from person to person and colles didn't have x-rays .So much of the decision is dependent upon the x-ray. Signs include deformity, ecchymoses or bruising, swelling, guarding or exhibiting signs of pain. Read more...

What could cause broken wrist (colles fracture)?

A fall. The most common cause of a broken wrist is a fall onto your outstretched hand. Read more...
FOOSH. Stands for fall on outstretched hand. Thus is still the most common mechanism of injury. By the way while colles fracture is a common moniker for a wrist fracture and colles described the anatomical findings of a typical extra articular distal radius, using colles as a diagnosis lumps too many different well known fractures into one overly broad category, so medical persons should try to specifi. Read more...
Fall. The most common mechanism of injury for a colles fracture is fall onto an outstretched wrist. These fractures sometimes require operative treatment. Read more...

Had xray of my wrist doctor said it shows old fracture with callus formation, I had broken wrist bones 20 years ago could that be what seeing or newer?

New injury. Why the XRay? What did the Dr say? Read more...
Yes it could be old. When you see callus on an X-ray, you know that the injury is old enough for bone to have formed. Sometimes you can still see where the break was on a newer fracture. It takes about a year for it to look like solid bone. On an older fracture, you can usually no longer see the break. So, when you see callus, you know the fracture is old, but not exactly how old. It will always look callused. Read more...