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Overview of acute wrist injuries in children and adolescents

D Scott Upton, MD
Joseph Chorley, MD
Section Editors
Albert C Hergenroeder, MD
Richard G Bachur, MD
Deputy Editor
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH


Injuries to the wrist are common in children and adolescents. Furthermore, three of the top five fastest growing sports have a high risk for acute injury to the wrist (rugby, lacrosse, and field hockey) [1].

Causes of acute wrist injuries in children and adolescents will be presented here (table 1). Causes of chronic wrist pain, wrist anatomy is discussed separately. (See "Causes of chronic wrist pain in children and adolescents".)


The evaluation of wrist pain and injury in children and adolescents is discussed separately. (See "Evaluation of wrist pain and injury in children and adolescents".)


Fractures are a frequent sports-related wrist injury in skeletally immature children and adolescents [2]. In such patients, the growing bones are more susceptible to stress than are the surrounding ligaments and joint capsules. (See "General principles of fracture management: Fracture patterns and description in children", section on 'Physeal (growth plate)'.)

Distal radius — Fractures of the distal radius are the most common fracture in children and adolescents, accounting for 35 to 47 percent of wrist fractures. Distal radius fractures occur most frequently during early adolescence; children with increased body mass and decreased bone mineral density are at increased risk. The mechanism of injury is usually a fall on a hyperextended wrist. (See "Distal forearm fractures in children: Diagnosis and assessment", section on 'Epidemiology' and "Distal forearm fractures in children: Diagnosis and assessment", section on 'Mechanism of injury'.)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jun 22, 2015.
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