What is a Hand Fracture?
A Hand fracture is a medical condition in which the continuity of one or more bones in the hand is broken. A hand fracture occurs when the bone breaks under pressure. The most common fractured hand symptoms include pain and constricted mobility. A hand fracture can occur from trauma or an existing medical condition.
Types of Hand Fracture
Hand fracture treatment varies with the type and severity of the fracture. The four hand fracture types are:
- Stable fracture: bone is broken but in alignment.
- Unstable Fracture: bone is broken, but the ends have moved away from each other, bone fragments may also be present.
- Comminuted fracture: in which the bone has broken into many pieces.
- Compound fracture: in which the bone has pierced through the skin.
How are Hand Fractures Treated?
The first step of Hand Fracture treatment is diagnosis; the orthopedic surgeon will prescribe an x-ray to determine the hand fracture type. After the fracture has been diagnosed, the surgeon will prescribe one of the following hand fracture treatments:
- A splint or cast for stable fractures.
- A splint or cast for some unstable fractures in which the bone can be aligned with non-surgical methods. Unstable fractures which have resulted in bone fragments will be treated surgically.
- For Comminuted fracture and compound fractures, surgical hand fracture treatment is appropriate. The surgeon will secure the shattered pieces of the bones with screws, plates, and rods. In some cases, a bone graft is surgically implanted in place of the pulverized bone.
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How Do I Know If My Hand Is Fractured?
Fractured hand symptoms commonly include the following:
- A snapping or cracking sound when the bone breaks.
- Intense and severe pain in the entire hand, which radiates from the point of fracture.
- Tenderness and swelling around the affected area, and increased pain while applying pressure.
- Inability to move the hand.
- The broken bone may be bent at an unnatural angle.
How Long Does a Hand Fracture Take to Heal?
- For a minor fracture, it takes around three weeks, for more complex ones, it may take two to three months to properly heal and recover.
- Your orthopedic specialist may recommend you to wear a splint to hasten the healing process.
What Does a Fractured Hand Look Like?
- The color of a fractured hand or fingers will almost change from normal to pale and then ultimately blue.
- The affected area may become swollen, and the range of motion may reduce over time.
What Happens If a Fracture Is Left Untreated?
- If, due to any reason you leave the fracture untreated, there is a higher chance of it to recover improperly or the healing process may delay over time.
- You may also face problems like misalignment, reduced mobility, and deformity of the bones and joints around the affected area.
- There is also a threat of infection in the affected area if left untreated.