Speeding healing of wrist fractures

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: June 30th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

So you’re falling off your rollerblades. Or plunging head-first down a slippery step. Or tripping on an uneven sidewalk. What’s the first thing you do?

You probably hold out your hands to break the fall.

That may spare you from more severe injury, but you’re also risking broken wrists in the process.

The most common wrist fracture is often caused by a fall onto an outstretched hand, often during sports activities. Dubbed a FOOSH by orthopedic surgeons, these fractures account for seventeen percent of all emergency room visits.

The use of protective gear like wrist guards during activities like inline skating and skateboarding can decrease the chance of breaking a bone around the wrist. But for those who can’t avoid injury, an innovative approach to treating these wrist fractures is now being studied by a team of New York researchers.

Orthopedic surgeons are testing a new procedure that shows promise in speeding the rate of bone healing and minimizing the need for prolonged immobilization. The technique involves injecting a novel synthetic peptide known commercially as Chrysalin [KRIS-ah-lin] into the fracture.

A wrist fracture traditionally takes six to eight weeks to heal, and a bulky cast or external fixation device can inhibit mobility of the patient. With this new technique, studies are showing, in the ideal candidate Chrysalin injections may shorten the need for casting and allow an earlier return to function.

Researchers say the new approach may dramatically change the way orthopedic specialists treat fractures.