A hand fracture of your hand can occur in the long bones of your hand called the metacarpals or the small bones n your fingers called the phalanges.
They can occur because of crushing injury, falling, a twisting injury or in sports through direct contact.
Signs of a broken bone in your hand include:
• Can’t move the finger
• Depressed knuckle
• Finger crosses over other finger
• Shortened finger
Orthopedic Surgeons Diagnose Hand Fractures
Your orthopedic surgeon will do a physical exam to check the position of your fingers and the skin’s condition. The exam often includes tests for range of motion and then assessing the feeling you have in your fingers. This will ensure that there is no damage to the nerves. X-rays identify the location and extent of the fracture.
Non Surgical Options
Many times, the bones can be manipulated and realigned without surgery. A fracture brace, splint, or cast is applied to immobilize the bones and make sure they stay in place. The cast will usually extend from the tip of your finger past your wrist almost to your elbow.
About a week after the break, a second set of X-rays is usually taken to make sure the bones have remained where they should. The cast is worn for 3 to 6 weeks. Around week 3, gentle hand exercises are often started.
Sometimes in order to align the bones and stabilize a hand fracture surgery is necessary. These fractures will often break through the skin. Orthopedic surgeons can implant screws, plates or wires in the broken bone to hold the fractured bone pieces in place. During the healing, if the bone changes position you might lose some functionality. After your bone has healed, the orthopedic surgeon can either leave the implants in or remove them.
Your orthopedic surgeons might want to periodically exam your hand to make sure your joint doesn’t tighten during the healing period.
You might experience joint stiffness because of the long period of immobilization. Exercises are helpful in restoring your range of motion and hand strength. Working with a physical therapist is a good idea.
Depending on the level of pain that you have from your broken finger(s) your doctor may prescribe either over the counter analgesics or prescription opioids. Your doctor might also prescribe NSAIDs for the anti-inflammatory qualities to help to reduce the swelling in the joint. Pain medications and NSAIDs might be combined to maximize the benefits of both.
Your hand and wrist is a delicate network of ligaments, cartilage, tendons and bones. Your hands are important in your day to day activities. Because you use your hands daily, they are actually susceptible to injury not just fractures but also repetitive strain injuries and arthritis. If you are having problems with your hands or you have sustained a fracture, orthopedic surgeons can ensure that you do not lose range of motion or use of your finger(s).