Hand fractures are a painful condition where one or more of the bones in your hand is partially or completely broken.

Hand Fracture

Orthopaedics Infoline

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What is a hand fracture?

Hand fractures occur when one or more of the bones in the hand or fingers has partly or completely broken. Hand fracture is a common injury and can occur from falling, twisting, direct contact or a crushing injury. Sometimes the bones can break into many pieces. After a fracture has occurred, common symptoms include:

  • Pain that worsens with movement
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Visual deformity
  • Limited movement

The fracture type can be accurately diagnosed with an X-Ray. Early treatment is essential to ensure that the bones heal in the correct alignment in order to restore range of motion and minimise any stiffness. 

How is it treated?

Hand fracture is a common injury and can range in severity and treatment pathways. There are different types of hand fracture, each with a different treatment approach:

  • Stable fracture – where the bones are still aligned.
  • Unstable fracture – where the bones are no longer aligned.
  • Comminuted fracture – where the bone is broken in at least two places.
  • Open fracture – where the bone has broken through the skin.

Many hand fractures can be treated non surgically using a cast, splint, or buddy tape, as immobilising the hand is critical to the healing process. In more severe fracture cases where the bones are not aligned or have broken through the skin, surgery may be required.

How long does it last?

The healing time for hand fractures will depend on the extent of the injury. If surgery is not required, the recovery time is usually between 3-6 weeks, after which hand exercises may be necessary to rebuild strength and mobility. If surgery is required, it can typically take up to 8 weeks before the hand feels comfortable. In more severe hand fracture cases this could take even longer. Patients can expect to return to normal activities around 12 weeks after the injury.

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