Hand & Wrist Fracture
A hand or wrist fracture is a break in one or more bones in the hand or wrist. The hand has 27 bones, including the carpals in the wrist and metacarpals in the palm. Although most hand and wrist fractures happen during falls, sports injuries, or car accidents, sometimes all it takes is a hard hit with a hammer or a baseball.
Most hand and wrist fractures can be treated without surgery, but some may require surgery to heal properly. Treatment will depend on the location and severity of the fracture.
If you think you have fractured your hand or wrist, it is important to see a doctor right away. A doctor can determine if you have a fracture and, if so, what type of treatment you will need.
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How is a Fracture Treated?
The treatment for a hand or wrist fracture will depend on the location and severity of the injury. In most cases, fractures can be treated without surgery. Treatment may include:
- Splinting or casting
- Medication to relieve pain and swelling
- Physical therapy
When is Surgery Needed?
If the bones are out of alignment or the fracture is severe, surgery may be necessary. Surgery may involve:
- Setting the bones back into place
- Using metal rods, screws, or plates to hold the bones in place
- Fusing bones together
- Removing bone fragments
What are the symptoms of a hand or wrist fracture?
The symptoms of a hand or wrist fracture depend on the location and severity of the injury. But in general, you may experience:
- Difficulty moving your hand or fingers
- If the bones are out of alignment, your hand may look deformity.
What are the complications of a hand or wrist fracture?
If a hand or wrist fracture is not treated properly, it can lead to complications, such as:
- Loss of range of motion.
- nonunion (when the bones do not heal properly)
What are the types of hand and wrist fractures?
There are many different types of hand and wrist fractures, but they can generally be grouped into the following categories:
- Carpal bone fractures: These fractures involve the small bones in the wrist, including the scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, pisiform, trapezium, trapezoid, and capitate. Carpal bone fractures are often caused by falls onto an outstretched hand.
- Metacarpal fractures: These fractures involve the bones in the palm of the hand, known as the metacarpals. Metacarpal fractures can be caused by punches or falls.
- Phalanx fractures: These fractures involve the bones of the fingers, known as the phalanges. Phalanx fractures are often caused by sports injuries or direct blows to the fingers.
- Dislocations: A dislocation occurs when two bones that meet at a joint are no longer aligned. Dislocations of the hand or wrist are usually caused by falls or car accidents.