Tenderness, swelling, bruising, deformity and pain, especially when flexing the wrist, are signs of a broken wrist, or distal radius fracture, as noted by WebMD. People who have additional symptoms such as severe pain; numbness in the wrist, arm or hand; or pale fingers should seek out a doctor immediately because these are signs that the fracture is affecting the nerves or blood flow.
The radius is the longest bone in the arm, and when it breaks near the end closest to the hand, it is a wrist, or Colles, fracture, as WebMD explains. Wrist fractures are very common, and people who play contact sports, skiers and those who fall on outstretched arms are at risk of breaking their wrists. People suffering from osteoporosis are also at high risk of wrist fractures due to the thinning of their bones. Doctors diagnose broken wrists through physical exams and X-rays, and in some cases, they may need to view several X-rays to identify fractures.
Doctors may treat broken wrists by resetting the bones so that they are in the proper position to heal, according to WebMD. People with broken wrists often wear splints until the swelling goes down or casts for between six and eight weeks or longer depending on how well their fractures heal. People who have casts on their broken wrists need to keep them dry and notify their doctors if they experience finger numbness or worsening pain or swelling.