General Treatments

Tips for Recovering From a Broken Wrist or Hand

You have 27 bones in your hand and wrist. The most common fractures for these bones include broken knuckles, fingertips, and thumbs from blunt force to the hand or falling on it. Whether youve broken your hand or wrist in a work related accident or while playing ball with your kids, its important to seek the proper medical attention from a qualified hand surgeon and then to follow your hand doctors orders as closely as possible to ensure you are recovering from a broken wrist, or hand in the most efficient way possible.

If you are unsure whether youve broken your wrist or not, dont diagnose yourself. Its better to go to the hand doctor, get an X-ray, and find out that youve only suffered a sprain or strain than to let the injury go untreated. If you have even the slightest suspicion that youve broken a bone, call the hand doctor immediately.

Take Your Medication On Time

Whether you are prescribed over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin) or a stronger pain reliever and anti-inflammatory drug, you need to take your medication. You may think that this is not important if the pain has subsided and youre feeling better, but your anti-inflammatory medication will keep the injury from swelling, which will help it heal faster and more completely.

If you want to avoid being in pain any longer than is absolutely necessary, take your prescription and take it on time as prescribed. This is especially true if your doctor prescribes antibiotics. If the skin was broken in the injury or if you had to have surgery, you may be at risk for infection, and taking an incomplete dose of antibiotics or skipping them entirely could result in a serious infection.

Do Not Remove Your Splint or Cast

If your hand surgeon had to do an invasive procedure to set the bones in your hand or wrist, you may be curious about your stitches. Your splint or cast might itch and feel hot. In other words, you might be tempted to take it off, at least for a little while. Dont do this.

If your hand doctor splinted or put a cast on your hand or wrist, that means the bones need to be immobilized to heal properly. Taking it off could result in problems with your recovery.

Follow the RICE Method

You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. The compression part of the RICE method is already taken care of by the splint or cast your hand surgeon put on your hand. The rest is up to you. Dont go doing any strenuous exercises or activities while youre recovering from a broken wrist, or hand. Keep ice on the injury whenever possible, and keep it elevated above your heart to reduce swelling. If you do these things and follow your doctors prescriptions and recommendations, youll be recovered and ready to take on the world again in just a few weeks. And if you have any questions or concerns about the recovery process, never hesitate to call your hand surgeon and ask their advice on recovering from a broken wrist or hand.