Hand fracture

What is a hand fracture?

A hand fracture is a break or fracture of one or more bones in the hand as a result of trauma or a fall. There is a greater risk of a hand fracture if the person practices any type of contact sport or if there is a disorder in which the bones are weak or more fragile, such as osteoporosis, for example.

Adequate treatment of the fracture of the hand is necessary in time. In fact, if left untreated, the bones may weld improperly, affecting the mobility of the hand.

Prognosis of hand fracture

Both the hand and the wrist are composed of several small bones. In the event of trauma, surgery may be necessary to restore the mobility and fluidity of the hand to its original state.

If not treated in time, it is possible that the bones may solidify incorrectly, which may affect their mobility and cause some discomfort.

Symptoms of a hand fracture

When a person has suffered a hand fracture, some symptoms may occur:

  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Intense pain that worsens when squeezing or moving the hand.
  • Hematoma
  • Existence of a deformity
  • Stiffness
  • Inability to move the fingers
  • Numbness
  • Tenderness

Medical tests for hand fracture

To make the diagnosis of hand fracture, the specialist will look at the affected hand and perform a physical examination of the hand. An x-ray will be taken to confirm exactly which bones are affected.

What are the causes of a hand fracture?

A hand fracture will be caused by trauma, either by a direct blow or by some kind of crushing.

There are several ways to suffer a hand fracture, being automobile accidents one of the main causes of these fractures. Contact sports are also a cause of these types of fractures.

In patients with fragile bones, such as osteoporosis, fractures are also frequent, although in this case hip fractures are more common.

Can hand fractures be prevented?

It is not possible to prevent a hand fracture, since these are usually due to accidents that cannot be prevented, such as a fall or an accident in a car, motorcycle, bicycle…

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Although prevention is not possible, some measures can be taken to strengthen bones, such as eating a healthy and balanced diet high in vitamin D and giving up harmful habits, such as smoking.

Treatments for hand fractures

There are two treatment options, conservative treatment, which is carried out through immobilization and treatment with medication. In case it does not work or is not feasible, surgery will be performed to repair it.

Thus, if in the fracture there are bones that are not aligned, gaps may form between each of the bone pieces and the pieces may overlap. In this case, the specialist will have to put these pieces or fragments in place through a reduction, and it may be necessary to use local or general anesthesia to avoid pain.

However, there are several conservative ways to treat the hand fracture:

  • Immobilization: restricting movement of the broken bone will facilitate its welding. However, this may require the use of an immobilizing cast or splint.
  • Medications: In order to relieve or reduce pain, over-the-counter medications may be prescribed or prescribed. In more severe pain, opioids may be prescribed. NSAIDs may help relieve pain, but make bone healing more complicated. If the fracture is open, antibiotics may be necessary to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Therapy: Once the cast or splint has been removed, the patient may need to be sent for rehabilitation exercises or physical therapy to improve stiffness.

In more severe cases, it will be necessary to opt for a surgical procedure, which will be performed in the following cases:

  • Exposed fracture
  • Parts of the bone are moving
  • There are loose bone fragments
  • The fracture has caused damage to nearby ligaments, nerves or blood vessels.
  • The fracture extends or could extend into a joint.

Which specialist treats the hand fracture?

The person in charge of diagnosing and treating hand fractures is the Orthopedic Surgeon or Traumatologist.