Do I have a Hand or Wrist Fracture?
A hand fracture is a break in one of the bones found within the hand and can include the finger bones as well as the long bones within the palm. A broken hand can be caused by a fall, crush injury, twisting injury, or through direct contact in sports.
A wrist fracture is a break in one of the 10 bones found within the wrist and can include the eight small bones and the two long forearm bones found within the wrist.
What to expect for the Physical Examination?
Your doctor will focus on your symptoms and perform a careful examination of your fingers, hand, and wrist. Your doctor will evaluate the tendons in your hand to ensure they are functioning properly and will check for instability in the joint(s) near the fracture. X-rays may be ordered by your doctor to help identify the location and extent of the fracture.
Signs and symptoms of a hand or wrist fracture may include:
- Tenderness or pain
- Inability to move the finger
- Numbness in the finger
- Limited range of motion
- Shortened finger
- Overlapping of fingers (crossing)
- Reduced joint stability
- Sunken in or depressed knuckle (known as boxers’ fracture)
In some cases, a hand or wrist fracture will heal with nonsurgical treatment but depending on the type and location of the fracture, it may include wearing a cast, splint or buddy straps for a period of time. For more serious fractures or for those where the bones do not line up properly, surgery may be required to realign the broken pieces.
If a fracture does not line up in an acceptable position, your doctor may try closed reduction, which includes realigning the bone fragments by gently manipulating them back into position without making an incision. A cast, splint or brace may be applied to keep the bones in place while they heal.
Depending on the location and stability of the fracture, you may need to wear the cast for 3 to 6 weeks. Some types of fractures can be protected by wearing a removable splint or by being “buddy strapped” to an adjacent non-injured finger, where the non-injured finger acts as a “moving splint” to support the injured finger.
Basic hand exercises can usually begin after several weeks. You maybe referred to an athletic trainer to help develop an individual rehabilitation plan.
Some hand fractures may require surgery to realign and stabilize the bone fragments. Your doctor will make an incision to help reposition the bone fragments into their normal alignment. Recovery time depends on the treatment and the individual.
To make an appointment with an Orthopedic provider, call 618-244-9038.
Patient results may vary. Consult your physician about the benefits and risks of any surgical procedure or treatment.