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Dave asked...

Broken wrist on holiday

My daughter has broken her wrist (radius) 1 week ago. In two weeks we are going on holiday (by car) to France and wondered if there was other options to a cast. Maybe a removable splint ? In case of sand or water.

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The answer

Children thankfully recover from broken bones quicker than adults so the time your daughter will need to have the limb immobilised for will hopefully be a shorter time than for adults.

It usually takes in children about 3 weeks for the bone to heal so the limb will only need to be immobilised into full healing is confirmed.

The way broken bones are managed often depends on the severity of the break and whether the bone ends are in alignment to enable correct healing of the bone.

Where the bone ends are not in alignment then surgery is often the treatment needed- sometimes with the use of plates and pins.

Where the bones are in alignment, this is when immobilisation is used and this is often done by means of plaster cast, fibreglass splints or removable wrist splints.

As children are active and if they are young, plaster cast is often used to prevent the child removing the splint and potentially causing alignment of the bone to be disrupted.

We would suggest discussing with the Doctors at the Fracture Clinic if possible before you leave for your holiday whether using a fibreglass cast or wrist splint would be feasible. It may be that by the time you leave for your holiday that the bone will be fully healed.

If it is not possible to get the bone and type of splint used assessed we would recommend that you try to protect the arm in the cast from getting wet or sand in it as much as possible.

Getting the cast damp can soften the plaster causing the position that the wrist is set in to be altered by the cast reshaping whilst wet.

If sand was to get into the cast then friction could occur causing skin damage and if there are any wounds present for infection to occur.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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