Hand and Wrist Fractures

Hand and Wrist Fractures
November 17, 2015

In simple terms fracture means a ‘broken or cracked bone’.

original_Wrist_FracturesA broken wrist or broken hand is a break or crack in one of the many small bones within your wrist and hand.

A direct blow or a crushing injury to your hands and wrists can break any of the bones in them thus causing fracture but some common causes that make hand and wrist fracture very easily happen are:

  • When we try to catch ourselves during a fall and land hard on an outstretched hand
  • From participating in certain sports — such as in-line skating or snowboarding
  • Having osteoporosis in which our bones become thinner and weaker thus easily breakable
  • When an injury happens as mentioned above or because of any other reason and the following symptoms can be felt by you, immediately consult an orthopedic.

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Common symptoms of a broken hand or wrist include:

  • Severe pain that tends to increase during gripping or squeezing
  • Tenderness
  • Obvious deformity, such as a bent wrist or crooked finger
  • Stiffness or inability to move your fingers or thumb
  • Numbness in your hand

It is extremely important to treat a broken wrist or broken hand as soon as possible. Otherwise the bones may not heal properly and affect your ability to perform everyday activities such as grasping a pen or buttoning a shirt.

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Medical evaluation and x-rays are usually needed so that your doctor can tell if there is a fracture and to help determine the treatment. Depending upon the type of fracture, your hand surgeon may recommend one of several treatment methods. Possible treatments of hand fractures include:

Cast and Splints: If the fracture is not displaced, the doctor will put a cast or splint as treatment for number of days to help heal the bone.
Pins: Small metal pins may be inserted through your affected skin in order to hold the bones in a better position. This is usually done under general or local anesthesia. The metal pins remain in place for several weeks while the fracture heals, and then the pins can usually be removed in the office.
Metal Plates & Screws: In some unusual types of hand fractures further treatment may be necessary where metal screws with either a plate or an external fixator can be used to help maintain proper alignment of the bones.

Click here to watch video of a hand and wrist being treated

The concerned doctor will also give you oral medicines to reduce your pain, an antibiotic to help cure infection that may be caused by bacteria and he might also perform a surgery depending upon the extent and nature of fracture.

If you delay in treatment it can make healing difficult and slowly your grip strength and ability to move your hand and fingers will decrease.

Regular checkups after that and rest along with physical therapy will help in healing your fracture and bringing back your hand and wrist back to normal again.

Click here to see testimonial of patient who has undergone surgery and treatment of hand and wrist fracture by Dr. Vikas Gupta

FAQ – Hand and Wrist Fractures

A break or crack in one or many bones within the hand and wrist region are termed as hand and wrist fractures.
The causes of hand and wrist fractures comprise of any traumatic injury or direct blows to the hand or wrist which can be a result of falls on outstretched hand, sustenance of injuries during contact sports or forceful high power vehicle collision or accident. Being a patient of osteoporosis or any bone disease, being driven to smoke or deficiency of calcium and vitamin D can also become the cause for hand and wrist fractures indirectly.
The signs which signify broken wrist or hand are severe and intense pain, immediate swelling or visible bruising on the hand or wrist. They might feel sore on touch and the patient would be unable to move the fingers or wrist. Wrist bent in a deformed manner and crooked fingers also signify hand and wrist fractures.
After a complete physical check up for visible signs of a fracture, the orthopedic conducts certain imaging tests to further the prognosis which may be an X-ray, CT scan or MRI.
Mild and non displaced fractures are treated by prescribing oral medications to bring down the pain and immobilizing the hand or wrist in a cast or splint to enable healing. The main criteria in a fracture is to realign the broken ends of the bone together to make it fit back in its original position. The process is called reduction which is undertaken by closed reduction method in mild fractures and then the hand or wrist is put in a splint to immobilize it. For severe and displaced or multiple fractures the orthopedic surgeon undertakes surgical methods to reduce the fractures and provide relief to the patient by open reduction techniques and internal or external fixations by metal hardware such as plates, screws, pins or wires.
Any injury or fall cannot be controlled but with certain precautions the patient can safeguard the severity and the ratio of occurrence. These preventions may vary from staying away from smoking, taking diet that ensures strengthening of bones, deficiency of calcium and vitamin D, using protective shields or gears while playing contact sports and being careful to avoid falls.
Even after hand and wrist fractures are treated effectively there are certain complications that always subtly underlie through life. These vary from: Sometimes fractures in the hand and wrist that have extended to the joints may result in osteoarthritis years later. Severe fractures may damage nerve or blood vessels which may need medical attention else likely to be impaired forever. Severe injury may always leave the hand and wrist prone to partial stiffness and ache whenever any pressure is exerted thereof.
Resuming activities depend on a number of factors including the activity to be resumed and the nature of the fracture. It is a question that is best answered by a specialist depending upon the characteristics of each case.
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