Hand Fractures

Although the bones in the hand are small, a fracture of the hand or wrist is not a minor injury. Fractures can be caused by a fall, crush or twisting injury during an accident, sports injury or trauma. In most cases, a fracture will heal without the need for surgery, but fractures in the forearm, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers, may require surgery if the broken pieces of bone do not line up properly.

Your hand consists of 27 bones. Since the bones in the hand line up precisely, allowing for fine hand movements like the threading of a needle, the fracturing of a finger or bone in the hand can cause your whole hand to be out of alignment.

How are fractures of the forearm, wrist, hand and finger treated?

X-rays will be taken to assess the extent of damage and the nature of the fracture. Non-surgical treatment of fractures usually involves a cast, splint or brace to keep the fractured bone still so that the bones can heal.

In cases where the fracture has caused total misalignment of the bones, surgery may be needed to manipulate the pieces into alignment. This is done during a surgery called a closed reduction. Your hand surgeon may also make use of internal or external fixation.

Internal fixation is done inside the body, using small wire, pins, plates, and screws to keep the fragments of bone in place for healing. External fixation, on the other hand, is outside the body and is done by placing pins in bone, attached to an external fixation device outside the body, which can be manipulated. Your post-surgical management will depend on the type of surgery you had and may involve follow up x-rays and extensive hand therapy.

Some finger fractures may be placed in a buddy strap, which allows for an adjacent non-injured finger to help the injured finger heal and allow for slight mobility.