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A wrist injury may not show up on an X-ray. You may need an MRI

Wrist injuries may not show up on an X-ray. Your doctor may have to order an MRI to see if there are any bones broken.
Wrist injuries may not show up on an X-ray. Your doctor may have to order an MRI to see if there are any bones broken. TNS

Q. My 14-year-old granddaughter hurt her left wrist when she fell on it while playing volleyball. She went to urgent care where they took X-rays of both wrists and said that nothing was broken. They gave my granddaughter a splint to wear and suggested that she see a specialist if she still had pain in a few days. Her pain is still present so who should I take her to see? Also, why did urgent care X-ray both wrists when she only hurt her left wrist?

A. In individuals who are still growing, a fracture can occur in the area of the bone known as the growth plate. Growth plates appear as a dark line on a X-ray as do true fractures. A comparison X-ray of the non-injured side can sometimes be helpful in determining if a fracture has occurred.

Even with a comparison X-ray, sometimes the extent of the injury is not evident and if still symptomatic, a follow-up exam is necessary.

Since she is still experiencing pain, I recommend your granddaughter see an orthopedic surgeon or hand specialist as quickly as possible. The doctor may need to cast the injury to prevent further injury or order an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.

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