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Definition

What is broken hand?

A broken wrist or broken hand is a break or crack in one or more of the bones of your wrist or hand. The most common of these injuries occurs in the wrist when people try to catch themselves during a fall and land hard on an outstretched hand.

It’s important to treat a broken (fractured) wrist or hand as soon as possible. Otherwise, the bones might not heal in proper alignment, which might affect your ability to do everyday activities, such as writing or buttoning a shirt. Early treatment will also help minimize pain and stiffness.

How common is broken hand?

Broken hand is extremely common. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of broken hand?

Most injuries of the hand are fairly obvious. The symptoms may include the following:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Misalignment of the fingers
  • Weakness
  • Inability to grasp
  • Reduced range of motion of fingers

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

Your hands are central to being able to function, and you should be certain that no permanent damage has been done.

Because your hands are so important, a doctor should see any hand injury, except the most minor. Contact your doctor, who may refer you to the emergency department for diagnosis and treatment.

Causes

What causes broken hand?

The most common causes of hand injuries include workplace injuries, improper use of tools, crush injuries, falls, and sports injuries. The vast majority of injuries can be prevented.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for broken hand?

Risk factors for a broken wrist or broken hand range from participation in certain sports — such as in-line skating or snowboarding — to having a condition in which bones become thinner and more fragile (osteoporosis).

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is broken hand diagnosed?

Most injuries of the hand will require an X-ray. The history of how the hand was injured will help the doctor determine the most likely fracture. For example, if the hand was injured by punching, the most likely fracture is that of the fifth metacarpal.

The doctor will touch your fingers and hand and wrist to determine the areas that are most painful and to evaluate if any damage has occurred to the blood vessels or nerves or tendons in the hand.

How is broken hand treated?

Because of the complexity of the hand, treatment of hand injuries can become involved. The procedure is usually as follows:

  • The doctor will usually obtain an X-ray.
  • Your hand may be partially numbed by injecting the nerves at the wrist or at the base of a finger. Wounds will be carefully irrigated and explored.
  • Any cuts usually will be closed carefully (whether with stitches or other means).
  • You may be given antibiotics to keep the wound from becoming infected.
  • The injured part will be immobilized in a splint to hold it in a particular position.
  • You may be referred to a hand specialist (orthopedic or plastic surgeon).
  • You may receive pain medicine to use for several days after the injury.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage broken hand?

Generally, any hand injury — except for the most minor one — should be seen by a doctor. Simple first aid, however, can help prevent further injury.

  • Control any bleeding by placing a clean cloth or gauze pad over the wound.
  • As soon as the injury has occurred, apply ice to the injured area to decrease pain and reduce swelling.
  • Remove any jewelry immediately. The hand may swell dramatically, and jewelry will be almost impossible to remove after the swelling has started.
  • Contact your doctor, who will often refer you to an emergency department for diagnosis and treatment.
  • If the hand is obviously deformed, try to support the injured hand by placing it on a pillow and carrying the pillow with you to the hospital or doctor’s office.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as directed on the label for pain.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: October 26, 2017 | Last Modified: October 26, 2017

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