You have numerous different small bones in your hand and wrist. They work together in an intricate process to allow you to use your hands. Your bones allow muscles to attach and connect with tendons so that you can move your fingers too. Any bone can be broken if enough pressure is applied to them, but the hand bones are especially prone because they are smaller. There are different types of fractures that occur in the hand, including:
- Compound fractures are those where the bone shows through the skin.
- Closed fractures stay underneath the skin.
- Comminuted fractures are those where the bone is actually broken into numerous different pieces.
- Hairline fractures occur when the bone is not displaced and the break may not even go all the way through the bone either.
Compound fractures come with a risk of infection since the skin is broken.
Symptoms of a Hand Fracture
If you have a hand fracture, you will most likely feel pain as soon as the injury occurs. The pain can be severe and you may lose movement in your hand. If the fracture is in your finger, you may notice that the digit is no longer straight and looks deformed.
After the hand has healed, you may experience weakness and some pain. Additionally, if the fracture involved a joint, then there is a greater likelihood you will develop arthritis in the area in the years to come.
How Are Hand Fractures Treated?
If you believe you have a fracture, you will need to see a doctor. Depending on the type of break and the severity of it, different treatments will be used.
If the fracture is not displaced, then a cast may be used simply to keep the bones steady while they heal. If the fracture was displaced, but can be set, then the doctor will set it and then place a cast on it.
Many times, hand fractures require surgery due to the delicacy of the bones. Surgery will involve repairing the bones, putting everything back in the proper place and then using pins to hold them still. Sometimes, pins can even be put in place without surgery itself.
Sometimes, hand surgeons will use something called external fixator. This is a metal contraption that extends into the bone to hold it in place.
Once the hand is healed, you will need to go through physical therapy to restore proper use. If everything was put back together properly, then you shouldnt have any more problems aside from some stiffness in the hand. However, complicated fractures sometimes mean a shift in the bone and that may mean you never fully get use of your hand in the same manner as before. As a side note, smoking will slow fracture healing times.
The hand is a delicate series of bones, muscles, and tendons. An injury, trauma, or pressure can break those bones, resulting in a fracture. If you have suffered an injury and you feel pain in your hand, then you need to visit a hand surgeon to diagnose the issue.