Fractures [Hand]


What is a fracture?

Most know that a fracture is a broken bone, however it may be helpful to know that common breaks fall into two general categories: non-displaced or displaced.

Non-displaced fracture:

  • Bone is broken
  • Bone is not shifted or moved out of position

Displaced fracture:

  • Gap between the two ends of the bone
  • Bones not aligned properly

Fractures can also be:

  • Closed: skin is intact
  • Open or compound: skin is open with a high risk of infection
  • Partial or incomplete

What causes a fracture in your hand?

Fractures typically occur because some type of trauma puts force or impact on a bone causing it to break. A classic example is when someone falls and lands on an outstretched hand.

Some of the most common causes:

  • Sports injuries
  • Car accidents
  • Falls

Disease can also be a cause:

  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis (bone weakening due to aging)

What symptoms should I be aware of?

Symptoms can vary greatly and your fracture may or may not show some the symptoms listed here.

Hand fracture symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness

How do I know if my  hand is broken?

Many fractures can be diagnosed through x-ray and a complete physical exam. To obtain a more detailed look at the bones, joint surface, and ligaments, your surgeon may also request:

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • Bone scan
  • CT or CAT (Computer Tomography) scan

What are my treatment options?

A bone fracture is typically immobilized in order to correct bone alignment and prevent use of the bone while it heals.

Your custom treatment plan may include:

  • Cast and/or splint
  • Wrapping
  • Pain medications
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

How long will it take my fracture to heal?

It depends. Your healing process is as individual as you are. Much depends on the type and location of the fracture, your age, health, and general physical well-being. The average healing process for a broken bone is anywhere from six to eight weeks. It may be slightly longer if surgery is required.