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Wrist Fracture in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A wrist fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in your child's wrist.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child's pain gets worse or does not get better after he or she takes pain medicine.
- Your child's cast or splint breaks, gets wet, or is damaged.
- Your child tells you that his or her hand or fingers feel numb or cold.
- Your child's hand or fingers turn white or blue.
- Your child says that his or her splint or cast feels too tight.
- Your child's pain or swelling gets worse after the cast or splint is put on.
Call your child's doctor or bone specialist if:
- Your child has a fever.
- There is a foul smell or blood coming from under the cast.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Your child may need any of the following:
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to safely give this medicine to your child.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
Care for your child:
- Have your child rest as much as possible. Do not let your child play contact sports until the healthcare provider says it is okay.
- Apply ice on your child's wrist for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you place it on your child's skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Elevate your child's wrist above the level of his or her heart as often as possible. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your child's wrist on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
Cast or splint care:
- Your child may take a bath as directed. Do not let your child's cast or splint get wet. Before bathing, cover the cast or splint with 2 plastic trash bags. Tape the bags to your child's skin above the cast or splint to seal out the water. Have your child keep his or her arm out of the water in case the bag breaks. If a plaster cast gets wet and soft, call your child's healthcare provider.
- Check the skin around the cast or splint every day. You may put lotion on any red or sore areas.
- Do not let your child push down or lean on the cast or brace because it may break.
- Do not let your child scratch the skin under the cast by putting a sharp or pointed object inside the cast.
Take your child to physical therapy as directed:
Your child may need physical therapy after his or her wrist has healed and the cast is removed. A physical therapist teaches your child exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
Follow up with your child's doctor or bone specialist as directed:
Your child may need to return to have his or her cast removed. He or she may also need an x-ray to check how well the bone has healed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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