A hand fracture happens when there is a break in one of the bones of the hand. This includes the bones such as the bones of the fingers, known as phalanges, as well as the bones within the palm, known as metacarpals. A broken hand can be caused by a fall, crush or twisting injury and even through direct impact in sports.
In most cases, a hand fracture heals well without surgical treatment. However, surgical treatment for hand fracture depends on the type and location of the fracture. Displaced, comminuted or intra-articular hand fractures may require surgery.
A hand fracture is caused by physical trauma such as sustaining a direct blow from an object, heavy force or impact, crushing or twisting of the hand.
The symptoms of a hand fracture are dependent on the severity of the injury. Some of the more common symptoms include:
- Severe pain
- Difficulty moving the fingers or hands
- Deformity, for instance the fingers hang limply in a bent position
- Audible snap at the time of injury
It is recommended that you seek medical treatment immediately if you think you have a broken finger or hand. Here are some first-aid procedures you can do until you manage to seek medical attention:
- Avoid moving your hand
- Apply ice to your injury site
The goal of first aid for hand fractures is to limit further injury, minimise pain, as well as reduce the swelling.
Your hand specialist or doctor in Singapore will ask about your symptoms and perform a thorough examination of your fingers and hand. During the physical assessment, they will look out for signs like open wounds, tenderness, swelling and deformity. They may also examine surrounding areas like your wrist and arm to determine the extent of your injury.
They will have to order imaging tests like an x-ray to identify the location and pattern of the fracture.
The goal of treatment for hand fracture is to heal the broken bones correctly and improve its chances of returning to normal form and function.
Your doctor may perform a closed reduction procedure whereby they will align the bony fragments into position without making an incision. A cast, splint, or brace may be used to keep the bones in acceptable alignment as they heal. Throughout this period, your doctor will also order routine x-rays to ensure that the bones are healing properly. They may also prescribe you painkillers to help control the pain.
Severe hand fractures such as open and comminuted fractures require surgery to realign and stabilise the fracture fragments. For this treatment option, your doctor will make an incision to reposition the bony fragments back to their normal alignment. Small metal devices such as wires, screws and/or plates may be used to hold the various pieces of fractured bones in place. You may have to wear a splint after surgery to protect the fracture fixation. Your doctor or hand specialist will advise you when it is safe to begin range-of-motion exercises, strengthening or activities following treatment for a hand fracture.
Every case is different, hence it is best to consult a hand surgeon to determine the treatment method that is most suitable for you. Reach out to us today if you have sustained a hand fracture and let us help you.