The healing process for a wrist fracture involves keeping the pieces of bone immobile and in proper alignment to heal normally, as well as completing exercises to restore motion once the bones have healed sufficiently, according to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Different devices are used depending on the severity of the break.
When a wrist fracture does not move the wrist bones out of alignment, an external splint or cast is usually sufficient to allow proper healing, explains the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. More severe breaks, where the bones are displaced, require surgery to heal properly. In some cases, plates and screws are permanently installed to keep the bones in place, and this can restore function earlier than with other methods. An external framework can also hold the wrist bones in place using screws that penetrate the skin. In cases where bone is actually destroyed, such as with some crushing injuries, bone grafts may be required for proper healing.
Both the shoulder and fingers need to be kept mobile during the process of healing to enable rapid recovery, states the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Full healing often takes several months. Aching or stiffness are possible even after healing is complete, and severely injured wrists may develop arthritis.