What Is a Triquetral Fracture?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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The triquetral bone is one of the small bones that make up the human wrist. A triquetral fracture is common, but not as common as fractures of two other small bones in this region, the lunate and scaphoid bones. A fracture occurs when a crack develops in a bone, usually as a result of an impact or trauma, though other causes do exist. This fracture occurs when the pyramid-shaped triquetral bone becomes cracked, leading to pain, swelling, decreased mobility, and other problems with the function of the wrist, hand, and forearm.

Two of the most common causes of a triquetral fracture are car accidents and falls. Humans have a tendency to brace themselves with the hands during a fall, and when the hand absorbs an impact beyond its means, the bones of the wrist may bear the brunt. During a car accident, a driver is usually holding the steering wheel, and the body is often braced with the hands and wrists during the impact. Both situations can lead to a triquetral fracture, which may occur on its own or at the same time as another fracture in the wrist, such as a lunate injury or scaphoid injury.


Treatment of the triquetral fracture can vary depending on the severity of the crack. Minor fractures such as stress fractures are often treated with the RICE treatment: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. A brace or cast may be placed on the wrist as well to immobilize it during the healing process. This prevents further injury to the bone and allows the fracture to heal more quickly. If the fracture is not treated properly, other long-lasting conditions may develop, leading to chronic pain or reduced mobility.

If the triquetral fracture is more severe, surgery may be necessary to address the injury. The triquetral bone is quite small, so surgery can be difficult. Screws or pins may be used to hold the bone together for further healing, and any damaged tendons or surrounding soft tissue will be addressed during the surgery. The recovery period after such a surgery can be fairly extensive, ranging anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Mobility and strength training exercises will need to be done after recovery has progressed to ensure the proper function of the wrist is restored.


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