How To Know If Your Child Has A Wrist Fracture

Table of contents for fracture

  1. How To Know If Your Child Has A Wrist Fracture
  2. How To Create An Effective Splint For A Child In Seconds

This is a two part series. This post will focus on how to check your childs arm to see if there is a fracture while the next post on this topic will discuss a variety of homemade splints that you could create in seconds for your childs injured arm.

**Its important to know that if you suspect that your child has seriously injured himself then you should have it checked out immediately. Dont dismiss a possible fracture because it didnt pass the fracture test below. If your child is in pain then consider having her checked out right away.**

How to check for a fracture
Check the arm for D.O.T.S
O-pen wounds

The easiest way to tell if there is a fracture is to compare the two arms together. If one looks slightly deformed at the wrist (or elbow for an elbow fracture) then you would know if there is a possible fracture.

Examine the arms in the vertical position as well. If there is any deformity it will be easier to see from this angle.

DOTS could be performed for the legs as well. A sprained ankle will be clearly visible when comparing the two limbs in this position.

The second best way to check for a fracture, if there is no deformity, is to feel gently along the side of bone of the wrist. Feel on the top and the sides of the wrist/arm. If there is any pain at a specific point along the bone then it’s quite possible that there is a fracture. If not, its possible that its just a sprain. Since a sprain is an injury to the ligaments of a joint, a person with a sprain wouldnt feel pain if you felt gently along the bone. Regardless, you would need to have it looked at by a doctor.

You should be able to quickly see if there is any swelling or bruising. Also, its very possible for bruising and swelling to be present even if there is no fracture.

My wife fell on her wrist while ice-skating in the winter and it looked terrible. It was bruised all over. However, there was no fracture but she still felt lots of pain. It even hurt her when the medics felt gently along the bone. In the end, she had to wear a wrist brace for at least six weeks and have repeated x-rays of her wrist. So not all injuries that pass the fracture test are indeed fractures.

As for open wounds, while they can exist at the site of the fracture this is uncommon. So really, you are looking for any deformity, bruising, or swelling and feeling for tenderness.

Regardless of the injury, you will want to apply ice. If its a possible fracture then first splint the injury and then apply ice.

Important Note
Do not apply the ice directly on the skin. Wrap the ice or cold compress before applying it to the site of injury. A plastic bag of ice needs to be wrapped as well. If the splinted injury is completely wrapped in a bandage then you could apply the ice directly to the bandage.

Do not apply for long periods. Apply cold for approximately 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.

Do not apply heat. This will increase swelling.

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Next in the series: How To Create An Effective Splint For A Child In Seconds » » Read the whole series: 1,2 »

42 Responses to “How To Know If Your Child Has A Wrist Fracture”

  1. How To Create An Effective Splint For A Child In Seconds Says:

    […] How To Know If Your Child Has A Wrist Fracture […]

  2. How To React and Examine A Child Who Fell Down A Flight of Stairs Says:

    […] Its good to start by asking your child where it hurts. If they tell you that their head hurts then gently feel their head for any obvious injury and bleeding. A bump is common and is generally no need for concern. If they arent complaining of any pain in the arms and legs then chances are they have no injury there. If they do complain of pain to either their arms or legs you can easily examine them for possible fractures by following the directions in this past post. […]

  3. How To Examine For A Fracture In An Injured Arm Or Leg | First Aid & CPR Courses For Toronto Says:

    […] This article was originally published on my parenting blog at […]

  4. Anita Says:

    could i still be able 2 move slightly it if it was broken\fractured

  5. gabi Says:


    I was using this site to help with my PD assessment (your site will be on my bibliography)

    your site says “Do not apply for long periods. Apply cold for approximately 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.”

    but in class we learnt that it was 20 minutes on then 1 hour off.

    which one is correct?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    i broke my arm and i could move it fine ! so don’t always believe that the doctors were amazed i could still move my arm and it was broken in 9 different places !

  7. Bob Says:

    I fell off my scooter and it is swollen adn hhurts but I am typing with it right now? Is it fractured or broken or WHAT??

  8. rayanna Says:

    i was at the park at i went on the monkey bars and i felt my right hand snap and my hand was shaking really badly so i put ice on it but its not working it hurts when i flex my hand out even if i move it . i dont know if i should see a doctor soon or what pleese help !! it happend yesterday

  9. justine roberts Says:


    i was punching our punching bag at home and was rlly pissed off. i guess i punched the bag a little bit too hard cuz i think i might’ve fractured a single bone in my wrist. but it only hurts when pressure is applyed and when i hit something to hard the same way as i did b4. it also hurts when i move my wrist to the sides. so idk if it is fractured or just as sprain?? help my mum is takin me to docs sometime to check it out.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    k yesterday i was in p e playing indoor soccer with four goals and four teams. and someone kicked the ball about three to four feet away from me and it pushed my closed fist into my wrist now it hurts its swollen and i cant move it side to side without it hurting. whats wrong?

  11. Anonymous Says:


  12. Meghan Says:

    I fell during lacrosse and now it hurts really bad

  13. Katie Says:


    My arm has been hurting in the palm part and I don’t know if I should see a doctor about it. Can any1 plz help?? Is it fractured?? What’s wrong with it??

  14. Katie Says:

    It has been hurting since last tuesday

  15. Sierra Says:

    If your not sure what’s wrong, then GO TO A DOCTOR!!!!! I’m sick of reading about people asking other people online if whatever injury they obtained is broken or fractured or sprained. Most are NOT doctors and can’t diagnose something they can’t see anyway! If your seriously worried, then go to an emergency room and splint the injury before leaving. Oh, and if you can still type with little or no pain, your most likely fine.

  16. Samantha Says:

    My wrist hurts really bad for 1-2 weeks a month then stop until the next…..whats up with it?

  17. Anonymous Says:

    hi i am lizzy i think i fracured my wrist i am not sure i am going to the doctars on mon and i have a huge bruise and it swallen in the fingers the wrist and it is tender i whent to rub my wrist and it hurt i told my gram parents about it and i fell on rollar blades and made it worse it is either fracured or a really bad sprain i cant even use it without pain i tried every thing i can and it is getting worse by the minit

  18. Cb Says:

    uggggh i slipped and fell and now i cant decide if it is a fracture or a break or a sprain

  19. Jordyn Says:

    Ok I fell down my stairs today and I smashed my arm (2 inches under the wrist on the ulna side). There’s a huge bump where I got it smashed at and my wrist and that bump is bruised. I can move my wrist but it hurts. When it happened I was home alone and was going to call 911 but I didn’t. It also hurts to move my thumb too much and my fingers. My mom said it was just a bruised muscle but I was crying when she touched it. It’s also really tender. I’m going to the doctor in 3 days for an appointment.

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  21. Diamond Says:

    i slipped and hit my distal radius pretty hard on the edge of my book shelf. it did not swell up right away. however, evrytime i got active it got much more swollen. it is bruised black and blue all over and i can not bend it back, to the side, or forward very well without an extreme pain. i can move all my fingers but it hurts to move my thumb alot! my thumb is numb and tingling

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  23. steven Says:

    i was bmxing at my local park and slamed on my wrist, it hurts when its not moving, but feels fine when it is hahaha i think its just a sprain but idk

  24. rohit Says:

    hello sir,
    i feel the pain in my wrist ares when i put a pessure on mu snads.i consulted the doctor but he told me that there is no fracture and i evn had a there any possibility of fracture?

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  26. melissa Says:

    hi i plan on goin to the er tomorrow morning but my six yr old tripped n fell on her blanket in the process she slammed her hand into her dresser now when it happened she said her hand went numb and now its painful to touch she cant move it or her fingers without pain n its swollen whats ur opinion?

  27. Divaa Says:

    I always crack my wrist and then I have to do push ups and farmer jacks in gym and my wrist started to hurt really bad ! So then it just poped and now i can’t movee it at all and I can’t hold things or flex it . I also can barley move my fingers !!!!! WHATS WRONG WITH IT !!!

  28. Anonymous Says:

    i hurt my arm and wrist when i trapped it in the door at home i have a huge bruise and a lump on my arm. i can’t do anything with it at all im in constant pain and my finger go stiff and tingley all the time. i have had pain killers but they dont work my mum doesnt want to take me to the hospital what do i do

  29. Little dude Says:

    I broke my wrist but don’t want to go to the doctor. I can tell its broken but all I want to do now is poop. I made a homemade splint out of toilet paper and paper towels. Should i just poop? Any sugestions?

  30. stars secrets Says:

    Hi i was walking to class tripped and fell on some stairs
    My wrist and for arm area is no swollen bruised slightly cut and un severe pain i can not make a fist. I am only 15. I dont want to tell my mom she will think im seeking attention. Help?

  31. steven Says:

    I slipped on ice and I fell on my wrist. So, I went to the hospital in Rochester NY and the doctors put a brace on my right wrist. The pain was in my thumb too.

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  37. Anonymous Says:

    I fell off my rollerblades and I fell on a really weird angle. I fell on my wrist then my butt but the bottom palm part of my hand pushed up when it hit. Like towards my shoulder. It only hurts when I move it side to side. Is this a fracture or a sprain? Please help :).

  38. sarah Says:

    Stanley who was 13 tripped me over yesterday and I landed in a strange position on my wrist and every time I move it, it will pain me really bad. One more thing I am only a nine year old

  39. sarah Says:

    we were playing handball and I did a shadow which is when u run run through the middle and that is when he tripped me over on purpose and I landed head first with my wrist in front. Can u please tell me what to do

  40. alonzo drew Says:

    My arm is swelling and it is not striant

  41. alonzo drew Says:

    Should I see a hoispal

  42. Munch Says:


    retarded person that I am, I hit my wrist off a wall yesterday. I can move my hand, just a little sore but it hurts when there is pressure on a specific point on the side of my wrist. It’s swollen, but not bruised and has been the same for about 35 hours straight. I have a hockey match tomorrow with school and was wondering if I should go or should I be careful of my wrist?

    Thanks xxx

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