Broken wrist: How to recognize the injury

A broken wrist is considered as a painful form of injury. Generally, there is not much that can be done at home and requires a trip to the nearest emergency department.

Do I have a broken wrist?

Some of the usual indications that an individual has a broken wrist include the following:

  • Wrist pain
  • Swelling and evident bruising
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Deformity or misshapen appearance
  • Damaged skin with visible bone
  • Diminished mobility of the wrist
    Broken wrist

    If bleeding is present, control the blood flow by placing direct pressure.


  • Safety is always an initial priority by ensuring that the individual is in a safe site.
  • If bleeding is present, control the blood flow by placing direct pressure.
  • Check if there are other injuries present. If the individual has indications of damage to the head, neck or back, avoid moving the individual.
  • Cover damaged skin using sterile dressings.
  • If necessary, the wound should be flushed with sterile water or even saline solution. In some cases, open wounds necesitate stitches.

If an ambulance is on its way, keep the individual still and wait for its arrival.

In instances where emergency assistance is not available, it might be needed to apply a splint on the broken wrist.

Applying a splint

  • When splinting a broken wrist, make sure that the affected limb is immobilized. Check the circulation, sensation and motion of the limb. Remember that any hand movement places pressure on the wrist.
  • Once the splint is in place, check the circulation, sensation and motion again.
  • Apply an ice pack on the site of injury to lessen the swelling.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a broken wrist is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the indications and how it is managed, register for a first aid and CPR course with Kelowna First Aid.