What Is a Triquetral Fracture?

Medically Reviewed by Sanjay Ponkshe on February 24, 2024
3 min read

A triquetral fracture happens when you break or crack the triquetrum, one of the 8 small carpal bones that form a part of your wrist.

‌Falling on an outstretched hand is the most common cause of a triquetrum fracture. It can also be caused by tears to the attached ligaments, the tissues around your joints.

 Other causes include car accidents and sports injuries. If you take part in sports such as in-line skating, skiing or snowboarding, football or soccer, rugby, hockey, or horseback riding, you may be at a higher risk of breaking a wrist bone.

You can also be at a higher risk for fractures if you have osteoporosis or certain types of bone cancers that can make your bones more fragile and easily breakable.

‌Triquetral fracture symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the injury to the triquetrum bone. 

  • ‌A triquetral fracture usually shows up as pain on the outside of your wrist. The pain may be worse with bending, gripping, squeezing, or movement.
  • ‌You may have swelling, tenderness, or bruising.
  • ‌You may have difficulty moving your wrist and reduced grip strength. 

‌Get medical help as soon as possible if you suspect a fracture of any kind. Delays in getting your fracture diagnosed and treated can lead to a longer recovery time. Waiting to get help can also lead to complications such as reducing your range of motion and grip strength. 

You should also get medical help as soon as possible if your fracture has been treated but isn’t getting better, or you start to see signs of swelling, redness, or pain. 

‌Your doctor will examine the injury to diagnose your condition. You may need to have X-rays. Advanced imaging tests such as a bone scan, a CT scan, or MRI may be recommended if the fracture doesn’t show up on the X-ray.

‌Triquetral fracture treatment depends on how the injury took place and the damage to the surrounding soft tissue. Surgery is typically not recommended unless the bone has moved away from its original position or if the fracture doesn’t heal on its own.

Immobilization with a split, cast, or brace for 4 to 6 weeks is standard treatment for a triquetral fracture. Immobilization holds the bone in place so that it is properly aligned as it heals. 

Your doctor may add occupational therapy and wrist exercises as part of the treatment. These can help restore range of motion and strength at the site of the fracture. It can take 6 to 8 weeks after starting treatment until the pain goes away and you are able to move the wrist normally.

‌It is rare for complications to develop in wrist fractures, but some people may feel stiffness or pain for longer than 8 weeks. Arthritis may form in the wrist years later. Numbness or circulation problems in the affected wrist could be a sign of damage to nearby nerves and blood vessels.

‌While you can’t prepare for accidents and injuries, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from harm or prevent more serious injuries:

Increase or improve bone health. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and make sure you’re getting recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Walking is a type of cardio activity that's also weight-bearing, since you carry the weight of your own body. Regular exercise like fast walking can help strengthen bones.

Wear protective clothing during sports. Use wrist guards when taking part in high-risk sports.

Take precautions. Set up your home or office so you’re protected from preventable falls and injuries. Make sure your rooms are well-lit and floors are clear of trip hazards like wires and throw rugs. Fit your bathrooms with grab bars, and stairways with handrails.