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What is a Chauffeur Fracture?

Home » What is a Chauffeur Fracture?
September 21, 2019
Edward Smith

What is a Chauffeur Fracture?

A Chauffeur fracture is a type of wrist fracture that someone might sustain in a traumatic accident. In this fracture, the end of the radius has been damaged, leading to problems with flexibility, range of motion, and severe pain. The radius is one of two bones that make up the forearm, with the other being the ulna. The radius is much larger than the ulna, making it prone to injury. A Chauffeur fracture takes place through the radial styloid. Some of these fractures might be hairline in nature while others can be quite severe. It is helpful for everyone to understand some of the basic information regarding this wrist fracture.

How Does a Chauffeur Fracture Develop?

The most common way that this fracture is sustained is from a blow to the back of the wrist. The name of this fracture comes from the days when someone used to have to crank a car to start it. Occasionally, someone would lose control of this crank and it would spin backward rapidly, striking the back of the wrist, leading to this fracture.

Now, people can still suffer this fracture in a car accident. If they strike their arm on the window or dashboard, this type of fracture can develop. Individuals can also suffer this fracture in a fall. If they use their arm to break their fall, their wrist can bear the brunt of this force, leading to a fracture.

It is also possible for someone to suffer this fracture in something called an avulsion mechanism. Extreme stretching of the ligaments that connect the wrist to the hand can cause the radius itself to avulse. When this happens, a Chauffeur fracture can be diagnosed.

How is this Fracture Diagnosed?

If someone is involved in a serious accident and has pain in their wrist, there is probably going to be a high suspicion for a wrist fracture. The doctor is going to perform a detailed physical exam to assess the range of motion of the wrist, the strength, the flexibility, and level of pain. If there are severe limits to the flexibility and range of motion of the wrist, then an x-ray will likely be ordered.

On the x-ray, the doctor is going to look for the fracture line. Typically, this x-ray will be taken from multiple angles to ensure that nothing is overlooked. This fracture takes place at the end of the radius that is closest to the hand. A fracture in this location will be diagnosed as a Chauffeur fracture.

Possible Associated Injuries Might be Diagnosed

There are several other injuries that the doctor may diagnose. A few of these examples include:

  • A fracture of the ulna which is the smaller bone that supports the wrist
  • A dislocation of the lunate bone, which is one of the smaller bones of the hand
  • Fractures in the scaphoid, which is one of the largest bones of the hand

If an individual is diagnosed with any of these injuries, the treatment course can become more complicated. These injuries can lead to damage to nerves and blood vessels that run through the hand and wrist area.

The Treatment of a Chauffeur Fracture

Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, the next step is to treat the fracture. In general, these fractures are not displaced from their typical anatomic location; however, these fractures are also known to be unstable. As a result, it is important for the doctor to make sure that the bone fragments will not move within the wrist.

In order to keep these bones in place, a trained surgeon may place screws in the bone. Traditionally, these screws do a good job of holding the fracture fragments in place. Then, the injury will be placed in a cast so that the wrist remains immobile as the bones heal. Typically, individuals who suffer this injury will make a full recovery. Sometimes, rehab and physical therapy are needed to help someone regain strength and range of motion in their wrist.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. A Chauffeur fracture is a serious injury that can lead to major complications. If your loved one has suffered a serious injury due to the negligence of another person or entity, please contact me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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Attribution of Picture: The picture at the start of this article was found originally on Pixabay. Its use is allowed by the Creative Commons License.

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