The wrist joint is formed by two rows of small bones called the carpals and the long bones of the forearm (the ulna and radius). Several muscles control movement at this joint. Due to their relatively small size, these bones -- while capable of bearing your entire weight -- are vulnerable to bone loss and fractures.
We are all wired to reflexively reach out our hands to protect our heads from impact during a fall. This is an important reflex, as head injuries -- or injuries to the brain -- can be far more devastating than a broken bone in the wrist or hand. However, in someone with low bone density, this reflex can easily lead to multiple fractures in the wrist making it one of the most common sites of fractures in people with osteoporosis.
It is important to strengthen the muscles of the wrist with upper extremity weight-bearing and resistance exercises to support and encourage stronger bones that will help prevent fractures, especially with falls, in people with osteopenia and osteoporosis.