The usual mechanism of a distal radius fracture is a fall on the outstretched hand or wrist. If you've had a fall and you have pain, how do you know if you've broken your wrist? The severity of the pain is usually a good guide. If you can simply shake the wrist out and the pain lessens significantly, and you're left with a dull ache, you may want to give this a few days before you decide whether or not to seek medical attention. If the pain is progressing and getting worse with time, over the first 10 minutes or 30 minutes or the first hour, and if it's associated with increasing swelling and color changes in the skin around the site of the injury, or if you're starting to get other symptoms such as numbness and tingling in your fingertips or pain higher up in the extremity, up in your elbow or shoulder, those are all signs that this is probably a more significant injury, and you may in fact have broken your distal radius. That should immediately lead you to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
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