Falls are a leading cause of injuries in older populations during the summertime. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 4 adults age 65 or older falls each year. These falls often result in broken bones, including hand and wrist fractures, which can be debilitating and take significant time to heal.
Preventing falls is crucial to reduce the risk of fall-related injuries. In this blog, we will discuss how falls on outstretched hands can lead to hand and wrist injuries, including hand fractures, the importance of fall prevention to avoiding such injuries, and the symptoms of sprained wrist vs. a broken wrist.
Tips To Prevent Falls in the Summertime
Falls commonly cause hand and wrist injuries resulting in a hand fracture, wrist popping, or a fall on an outstretched hand. Certain preventive measures can help reduce the risk of falls during the summer season.
One of the foremost things to consider is wearing appropriate footwear. Choosing shoes with good grip and support can help prevent slips and falls. For those requiring assistance, mobility aids such as crutches or walkers can also help prevent falls.
Keeping hydrated is crucial to maintaining physical stability; drinking enough water throughout a hot summer day is paramount. Additionally, avoiding rush and sun glare can help reduce the risk of falls.
How To Fall To Prevent Injuries
Falling can happen to anyone at any age. However, the way you fall can determine the extent of your injuries. To prevent a hand fracture, wrist popping, or a broken or sprained wrist from a fall on an outstretched hand, there are certain precautions you can take.
First, try to relax and aim to fall on your side or buttocks rather than your hand or wrist. This will help to distribute the impact of the fall all over your body rather than concentrating it on one area. Second, protect your head by tucking your chin into your chest and turning your head to the side. This will protect your head from hitting the ground.
Third, try to use your arms to cushion the fall by instinctively reaching out to break your fall. This can cause a hyperextended wrist, but it is still better than a broken wrist. Landing on your hand or wrist may cause a hand fracture or a sprained wrist. You can differentiate between a sprained wrist and a broken wrist by looking for symptoms such as swelling, tenderness, bruising, and an inability to move the wrist.
Following these steps can minimize the risk of injury from a fall and potentially prevent hand fractures, wrist popping, or a broken or sprained wrist. Remember to always be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially when walking on slippery surfaces or uneven terrain.
What To Do if a Fall Results in a Hand or Wrist Injury
If a fall injures your hand or wrist, it is important to know how to identify the signs of a possible sprained wrist or broken wrist.
A sprained wrist refers to an injury to the ligaments that connect the bones in the wrist. These ligaments can stretch or tear, usually due to sudden twisting or bending of the wrist. The symptoms of a sprained wrist can include:
- Bruise on the skin around the wrist
Generally, a sprained wrist will heal independently with rest and proper care.
A broken wrist refers to a fracture in one or more of the bones in the wrist. The bones in the wrist can break in various ways, such as a clean break or a crack. The symptoms of a broken wrist can include:
- Deformity of the wrist or hand
A broken wrist often requires medical attention, such as casting or surgery. If you suspect a wrist injury, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the appropriate treatment and prevent complications.
Emerge Stronger, Healthier, and Better
If you experience a slip or fall and hurt your hand or wrist, schedule your appointment with one of EmergeOrtho—Blue Ridge Region’s Hand and Wrist experts. Our specialists treat various orthopedic hand and wrist injuries to help you Emerge Stronger, Healthier, and Better.