HAND FRACTURES

A hand fracture is a frequent injury caused by the breaking of one or more of the bones of the hand. Numerous things, including falls, sports injuries, or direct damage to the hand, might result in it. Hand fractures may vary in severity from simple hairline fractures to more serious breaks that need to be treated right away by a doctor.

Pain, bruising, swelling, and trouble moving the injured hand or fingers are all signs of a hand fracture. The fracture may sometimes make the hand look malformed or out of place.

The degree and location of a hand fracture will determine the appropriate course of treatment. Immobilisation, such as a cast or splint, may be used to treat minor fractures in order to promote bone healing. The bones may need to be realigned and stabilised with pins, screws, or plates during surgery for more serious fractures.

The length of time it takes to recover from a hand fracture will depend on the severity of the injury and the patient’s general condition. After the fracture has healed, physical treatment may be required to recover strength and movement in the hand.

If you think you may have a hand fracture, you should consult a doctor right once. A correct diagnosis and course of action may help avoid long-term consequences and guarantee a full recovery.

TYPES

Hand fractures may take many various forms depending on where and how severe the damage is. Here are a few typical hand fracture types:

  • Metacarpal Fracture: One or more of the long bones of the hand known as the metacarpals may shatter in this kind of fracture. It often results from an impact or direct strike to the hand.
  • Phalangeal Fracture: The bones that make up the fingers and thumb are known as phalanges. These bones are susceptible to fractures in a number of places, including the proximal phalanx, which is closest to the hand, the middle phalanx, and the distal phalanx, which is closest to the fingertip.
  • Boxer’s Fracture: This particular metacarpal fracture often happens when the pinky finger-connecting fifth metacarpal is shattered. Punches or fists locked against a hard surface often cause it.
  • Bennett’s Fracture: This is a fracture that involves the base of the thumb metacarpal bone. It can be a complex injury and may require surgical intervention to stabilize the fracture.
  • Rolando Fracture: This is a comminuted fracture of the base of the thumb metacarpal bone, which means the bone is broken into multiple fragments. It often requires surgical treatment to realign and stabilize the bone.
  • Scaphoid Fracture: Although not technically a hand fracture, the scaphoid bone is located in the wrist and is commonly injured when falling on an outstretched hand. It can cause significant pain and may require immobilization or surgical intervention.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of a hand fracture can vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. Here are some common symptoms associated with hand fractures:

  1. Pain: One of the most common symptoms of a hand fracture is pain. The pain may be sharp, throbbing, or aching, and it can be localized to the area of the fracture or radiate throughout the hand.
  2. Swelling: Fractures in the hand often cause swelling around the affected area. The swelling may be immediately apparent or develop gradually over time.
  3. Bruising: In addition to swelling, bruising may also occur around the site of the fracture. The discoloration is due to the accumulation of blood beneath the skin.
  4. Deformity: Depending on the type and severity of the fracture, the hand may appear deformed or misaligned. This can be particularly noticeable if there is a displacement or angulation of the broken bones.
  5. Difficulty moving: Fractures can impact the range of motion in the hand and fingers. You may experience difficulty moving the affected hand or fingers, or you may notice a decrease in grip strength.
  6. Tenderness to touch: The fractured area may be tender to the touch or when pressure is applied.

DIAGNOSIS

An assessment of the physical condition, a study of the patient’s medical history, and imaging studies are often used to diagnose hand fractures. Here is a broad description of how hand fractures are diagnosed:

  1. Physical Exam: A medical expert will examine your hand physically to look for any bruises, swelling, pain, or deformities. Your range of motion and grip strength may also be evaluated.
  2. Medical Background: Your doctor will enquire about the circumstances of the injury, including how it happened and any accompanying symptoms you may be feeling. They will also ask you about your medical background to find out whether you have any issues that might hinder the healing process now.
  3. X-rays: X-rays are often used to identify fractures in the hands. The position and severity of the fracture may both be clearly seen in these photos. If there are any misplaced or angulated bones that need realignment, X-rays may assist identify them.
  4. Imaging: In certain circumstances, doctors may prescribe extra imaging tests like CT or MRI scans. These tests may provide more specific information on complicated fractures, soft tissue involvement, or to gauge the severity of the injury.
  5. Specialist Consultation: Your healthcare practitioner could send you to a hand specialist or orthopaedic surgeon for further assessment and treatment planning, depending on the intricacy of the fracture.

TREATMENT

The location, type, and severity of the fracture, as well as other variables, all affect how a hand fracture is treated. The following are some typical hand fracture treatments:

  1. Immobilisation: To promote normal bone healing in many situations, hand fractures may be treated by immobilising the injured region. To limit mobility and provide support throughout the healing process, this may include the use of a splint, cast, or brace.
  2. Closed Reduction: A closed reduction may be done if the fracture is displaced or angulated. Without requiring surgery, this entails moving the damaged bones back into the correct alignment. Immobilisation is often required to preserve appropriate alignment after the bones have been properly aligned.
  3. Surgery: To treat hand fractures, surgery may be necessary in certain circumstances. Complex fractures, open fractures, and fractures involving many bones are more likely to experience this. To stabilise the bones and encourage healing, surgical intervention may entail the insertion of plates, screws, wires, or pins.
  4. Pain Management: To control discomfort throughout the healing period, pain medication may be recommended. Your doctor could advise nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) or other painkillers.
  5. Physical Therapy: To assist the hand regain strength, range of motion, and functioning once the fracture has begun to heal, your healthcare physician may suggest physical therapy. The rehabilitation process may be helped by physical therapy exercises and methods.

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