If you have suffered from a hand fracture, you’re likely in quite a bit of pain. Whether it was an injury during an athletic event or you simply fell on your hand wrong, it’s time to seek the right help.
When you suffer a hand fracture injury, the right treatment from Dr. John Andrachuk can help. With years of experience treating many injuries, including hand fractures, Dr. Andrachuk offers the top Orthopedic Sports Medicine surgeon in Atlanta for you.
What are Hand Fractures?
Any type of break in the bones found in the hand is called a hand fracture. These fractures include breaks in small bones found in the fingers or the long bones in the palm.
What are the Most Common Hand Fracture Types?
The hand has two types of bones:
- The Phalanges – Smaller bones found in the thumb and fingers with two in the thumb and three in each finger.
- The Metacarpals – Five bones found in the palm of the hand.
There are several types of hand fractures, but the most common is a fracture in the fifth metacarpal. This is the bone found in the palm supporting the little finger.
This can be called a boxer’s fracture and it commonly happens near the neck of the bones just below the knuckle joint. A boxer’s fracture occurs after punching or striking a hard object with a fist.
Another common hand fracture is the fracture of the hook of hamate. This happens commonly in golf when striking the ground to take a divot to hard. The fracture is found in the lower part of the palm close to the base of the little finger.
Hand Fracture Symptoms
If you’ve suffered any type of hand fracture, some of the common symptoms you might notice include:
- Inability to move one of your fingers
- A shortened finger
- The injured finger crosses over the finger next to it
- Sunken or depressed knuckles
These symptoms are likely if you have fractured one of the bones in your hand.
Most Common Causes of Hand Fractures
Hand fractures can be caused by many things including:
- A crushing injury
- A twisting injury
- Playing sports
Hand fractures are common in contact sports, along with golf and other sources, as well.
Most Common Risk Factors for Hand Fractures
While some hand fractures happen in accidents, others can be avoided by avoiding specific risk factors. The biggest risk factor for hand fractures and other hand injuries is athletic activities.
Contact sports put athletes at the highest risk of hand fractures. However, hand fractures can also happen in other sports, such as golf.
Any situation putting a person at risk of falling is also a risk factor for a hand fracture. Most people will naturally try to catch themselves with their hand and wrist when they fall. This might lead to a hand fracture.
How Hand Fractures are Diagnosed
A physical examination is likely the first thing your doctor will do to figure out if you have suffered a hand fracture injury. Some of the things your doctor will look for include:
- Overlapping fingers
- Limited range of motion
- Numbness in your fingers
Your doctor will not only evaluate your bones, but also the tendons and other areas of the hand.
Another common diagnostic tool used by doctors for diagnosing hand fractures is an X-ray. With an X-ray, your doctor will be able to locate the fracture and diagnose the cause of your pain.
Hand Fracture Treatment
Whether you’ve suffered a hairline hand fracture or a complete break, your doctor will recommend a nonsurgical or surgical treatment. The type of break and the severity might determine the course of treatment.
In some cases, a splint or cast is enough to allow the hand fracture to heal. With a splint or cast, stability can be achieved to help the hand heal properly.
It’s common to treat a hand fracture by manipulating the bone back in place if it doesn’t line up correctly. An incision isn’t necessary with several types of breaks, especially in the fingers. This is known as a closed reduction.
Once a closed reduction has been performed, a cast, brace, or splint will need to be worn to keep the bones aligned correctly.
Types of Hand Fracture Surgery
An open reduction is a type of hand fracture surgery used to repair the break. This type of surgery is used when a closed reduction isn’t going to be able to re-align the bones properly. When more precise alignment is necessary, your doctor will recommend an open reduction procedure.
Another possible surgical option for hand fractures is known as bone grafts. If the fracture is severe or a piece of the bone is missing, a bone graft might be necessary.
Fractured Hand Recovery Time
The amount of recovery time you need for a hand fracture depends on the type of treatment chosen. If your doctor performed a closed reduction, you will likely need to wear a brace, splint, or cast for a few weeks. The second set of X-rays will be used to determine how the break is healing.
With a closed reduction, it’s likely you will end up wearing a cast or brace for three to six weeks. Gentle hand exercises might be used after about three weeks.
The recovery time after a hand fracture is treated will depend on the patient. With an open reduction, a splint or cast will also be used and the healing time will depend on the type of break, the location of the break, and what type of devices were used to hold the bone in place.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
Providing extensive experience with diagnosing and treating hand fractures, Dr. Andrachuk offers the latest options. If you think you might have fractured your hand after a fall or sports injury, seek medical help immediately. Dr. Andrachuk offers both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for hand fractures to help ease your pain and get you back to normal. Contact us today and schedule your in-person or telemedicine appointment!