Many slip-and-fall victims may be unaware that their accident has caused a fracture. While falling onto an outstretched hand is undoubtedly painful, many victims may assume that they have suffered a sprain or simply “jammed” their wrist, and many never discover that the bones were broken until years later.

The truth is that the symptoms of a broken wrist and a sprain can be very similar. While there are some obvious signs of a break—such as bones protruding from the skin or a wrist turned in the opposite direction—it is much more common for a broken wrist to be a closed injury.

You may have broken your wrist in a slip-and-fall if you are experiencing:

  • Severe pain. In the days after the accident, you will likely have pain in your wrist, arm, or fingers that gets progressively worse, especially if you attempt to keep using the affected hand.
  • Swelling. The body may react to the break by swelling, causing further tenderness around the area. Applying ice to the wrist can help bring down the swelling and alleviate pain.
  • Bruising. The wrist may turn black or blue, with bruising extending into the hand and fingers.
  • Numbness or immobility. You may have trouble moving the fingers or thumb in your affected hand due to extreme pain or experience numbness in your fingers that causes a loss of grip strength.

The similarities in wrist sprains and fractures are so prevalent that doctors will often order x-rays to make a conclusive diagnosis. Although treatment for both injuries will usually involve stabilization with a splint, a fracture may require surgery to realign the bones and ensure that they heal in a way that prevents further injury.

Should I File a Lawsuit to Recoup the Costs of My Injury?

Victims will often suffer painful rehabilitation and lost time from work after a wrist fracture. Some victims may even suffer complications of their injury that lead to permanent disability, such as decreased range of motion or inability to hold objects in their affected hands. In these cases, victims should consult with an attorney to determine who could be held liable for their losses.

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Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982