Treatment For A Broken Hand
The first thing your doctor will take into consideration is bone alignment. Gaps in between bones can be problematic and cause long term issues. As a result, your doctor will move the bones into place.
Your pain tolerance will dictate whether or not you need local anesthetics throughout this process.
Once the bones have been set, your doctor will need to ensure your hand is immobile. This is crucial for the bones to heal.
Common Causes Of A Wrist Fracture
Most people break their radius bone, which is one of the two main bones in the forearm that is connected to 8 smaller bones. Common causes of a wrist fracture or break include the following:
- Attempting to stop a fall using your outstretched arm and hand
- Falling off a bike or ladder
- Car or motorcycle accident
- Playing sports
If your wrist is swollen and painful, it is best to consult with Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic;for a diagnosis. If you wait too long and simply ice it and keep it elevated, you could cause even more damage. Its better to have the appropriate tests completed to know what you are dealing with, as treatment will be very different for a broken wrist compared to one that is simply sprained.
What If Its Just A Sprain
Oftentimes a fractured wrist can be misidentified as a mild or severe wrist sprain. Before rushing to the emergency room, be sure to understand the difference and educate yourself on what to do when you do suffer from a sprained wrist. Youll find that both a sprained wrist and a fractured wrist are very common and have similar symptoms, so its sometimes difficult to determine which is which.
If, after you slip or fall and injure your wrist, everything is still straight and only slightly swollen, it might be a sprain. Another way you can tell if your wrist is sprained is to consider how much pain youre in and how quickly the pain subsides.
There are a large number of bones in your hand so sometimes its difficult to tell if your mild or severe sprain could actually be a fracture. While an x-ray is expensive and time-consuming, its sometimes the only way to truly determine whether youre dealing with a sprain or a fracture. It also helps alleviate some stress on your end to have an answer to your pain.
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What Is A Distal Radius Fracture
The radius is one of two forearm bones and is located on the thumb side. The part of the radius connected to the wrist joint is called the distal radius. When the radius breaks near the wrist, it is called a distal radius fracture.
The break usually happens due to falling on an outstretched or flexed hand. It can also happen in a car accident, a bike accident, a skiing accident or another sports activity.
A distal radius fracture can be isolated, which means no other fractures are involved. It can also occur along with a fracture of the distal ulna . In these cases, the injury is called a distal radius and ulna fracture.
Depending on the angle of the distal radius as it breaks, the fracture is called a Colles or Smith fracture.
- A Colles fracture may result from direct impact to the palm, like if you use your hands to break up a fall and land on the palms. The side view of a wrist after a Colles fracture is sometimes compared to the shape of a fork facing down. There is a distinct bump in the wrist similar to the neck of the fork. It happens because the broken end of the distal radius shifts up toward the back of the hand.
- A Smith fracture is the less common of the two. It may result from an impact to the back of the wrist, such as falling on a bent wrist. The end of the distal radius typically shifts down toward the palm side in this type of fracture. This usually makes for a distinct drop in the wrist where the longer part of the radius ends.
What Makes Yale Medicine’s Approach To Treating Wrist Fracture Unique
Treatment of wrist fracture can be quite complex. Dr. Swigart believes that patients benefit when treated by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand surgery and performs many wrist fracture repair procedures.
There are a variety of ways to fix a distal radius fracture, including several different types of implants, explains Dr. Swigart. And while some types of implants are used often, others are only employed rarely. Its important to work with a doctor who knows about and is able to use all of them, she adds.
Also of value, Dr. Swigart says, is Yale Medicines involvement in clinical research, which often gives patients access to leading edge techniques and therapies well before they become widely available. For example, she says: My work includes both clinical and biomechanical research on treating wrist fracture, and our department has been consistently involved. Being involved in the research brings insights into why things work and which things work best.
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First Aid For A Broken Hand
If you think you have a broken hand, see a doctor immediately.
But until you can seek medication attention, there are things you can do to care for your hand. These include the following first aid procedures:
- Avoid moving your hand. Try your best to immobilize your hand. If a bone has moved out of place, dont attempt to realign it.
- Apply ice. To reduce pain and swelling, carefully apply an ice pack or cold compress to your injury. Always wrap the ice pack in a clean cloth or towel first.
- Stop the bleeding.
The goal of broken bone first aid is to limit further injury. It can also help minimize pain and improve your recovery outlook.
If youre bleeding, you likely have an open fracture, meaning a bone is sticking out. In this case, go to the ER right away. Until you can get help, you can stop the bleeding by applying pressure and using a clean cloth or bandage.
Visit a doctor as soon as you think youve broken your hand.
Its especially important to see a doctor if you have:
- difficulty moving your fingers
Broken Hand Treatment Options: Hand Fracture Surgery
Fractures that cannot be properly corrected with the aforementioned treatment strategies will require broken hand surgery. During hand fracture surgery, local or general anesthesia may be used depending on the specific surgery. Broken hand surgery may involve the use of small pins and wires that will hold the fractured bones in place for several weeks. In some instances, metal plates and screws may be utilized to ensure the bones of the hand are properly aligned. If a bone has been shattered, it may be necessary to use a bone graft transplanted from another part of the patients body. A bone graft may also be used to treat a bone that has not healed properly after a previous injury.
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How To Tell If Your Hand Is Broken Broken Hand Finger And Wrist Symptoms And Treatment
According to recent estimates published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, approximately one-quarter of all sports injuries involve the hands or wrists. Hand fractures and broken fingers are currently on the rise due to increased athletic competition around the country, but these kinds of injuries are also common off the playing field, especially for older adults. As part of the natural aging process, our bones weaken over time, leaving us more vulnerable to fractures and other injuries. Regardless of the cause, there are many effective broken hand treatments and strategies to help expedite the recovery process and prevent reinjury. In this post, we will explain many common broken hand symptoms and what to do for a broken hand, including physical therapy and surgical options. Lets take a look
Different Types Of Wrist Fractures
Wrist fractures are common and usually happen if you put your hands out to protect yourself when you trip or fall. Treatment for a wrist fracture can vary depending on the severity and the type of fracture. An orthopedic surgeon will be able to recommend the appropriate treatment to ensure a successful recovery from a wrist fracture.
A broken wrist usually causes immediate pain, swelling, and tenderness, and there may be bruising or discoloration to the affected area. In some cases, there may also be an obvious deformity. If you experience severe pain, have an open fracture , if the wrist area is deformed or numb, or if the fingers are no longer pink, you should seek immediate medical treatment.
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Signs And Symptoms Of A Wrist Fracture
A wrist fracture is essentially the same thing as a broken wrist, and lets face it, if you break your wrist, its probably going to result in plenty of pain. Depending on the severity of the break, various treatments may be recommended, but how do you know if its a fracture and not just a sprain?
What Steps Should I Take In Order To Help My Broken Wrist Recovery Time
The first most important step is to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you have broken your wrist. This is important not just to ensure correct healing, but also because some breaks can cause damage to nerves, blood vessels or tendons, all of which require immediate medical intervention. As mentioned, broken wrist treatment depends entirely on the type of break.
Regardless of the type of break, in the time between the accident and when you manage to get medical attention, there are some things you can do to prevent further injury. These can be summarised in the RICE procedure. This means Rest your broken wrist and avoid moving it at all, Ice the area with a cold compress or covered bag of frozen peas, apply Compression to your wrist in the form of a bandage, Elevate your wrist above your heart to reduce swelling. After that your medical professional would take over and proceed with different measures to treat your broken wrist.
Breaks that need repositioning can sometimes lead to surgery to ensure the joint is perfectly realigned. Clean fractures that do not need realigning can usually be treated simply by immobilisation to prevent further injury. Other breaks that are caused by osteoporosis or that damage nerves or tendons will usually require surgery, as well as further treatment or continued surgical intervention.
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Signs Of A Broken Wrist
While you will have pain in your wrist regardless of if its broken or sprained, you will have significantly more pain if you break your wrist.;
Some of the signs of a broken wrist include:;
- Tenderness to touch
You might also experience tingling in your fingers.;
Another sign to consider is if you are completely unable to move your wrist either because you have so much pain or because of the swelling.;
Will I Need Surgery
In most cases, these conservative healing methods are enough. But if you have a particularly severe or complex fracture, surgery may be required because a cast wont be enough to help the bone heal correctly.
Surgery may involve the insertion of pins, screws, plates, or other devices to hold your bones in place to heal. We may recommend surgery in the following cases:
- A piece of bone has broken through your skin
- You have a bone broken in multiple places
- Your break extends into the wrist joint
- The broken pieces of bone have moved out of place
- Pieces of bone have injured a blood vessel or nerve
- You tore ligaments along with the break
If you suspect youve injured a wrist and have pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, or apparent deformity, make an appointment with our experts at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists.
We can diagnose a fracture and get you the treatment necessary to heal and restore function. either our Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland, office or use our online system to schedule a consultation.
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Can A Broken Hand Heal On Its Own
A broken hand can heal by itself. But without proper treatment, its more likely to heal incorrectly.
Specifically, the bones might not line up properly. This is known as a malunion. It can interfere with the normal function of your hand, making it difficult to do daily activities.
If the bones are misaligned, youll need surgery to realign them. This can prolong the recovery process even further, so its important to receive the right treatment from the start.
To diagnose a broken hand, a doctor will use several tests. These include:
Most Common Types Of Fractures For A Broken Wrist
Most of the time, a fracture of the wrist is very painful with movement and to touch and gets very swollen very fast. The most common type of wrist fracture is a distal radius fracture.;
The 2nd most common type of fracture in the wrist is a scaphoid fracture, one of the carpal bones located at the base of the thumb. This fracture is sometimes difficult to see on an x-ray and takes a long time to heal due to the poor blood supply it receives.;
If you have tenderness at the base of your thumb that doesnt seem to go away, it would be wise to seek further evaluation from an orthopedic doctor.;
Anatomy of Hand Sprained Wrist vs Broken
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Common Symptoms Of Wrist Sprains
Common symptoms of wrist sprains include one or more of the following:
- Pain. Pain in a sprained wrist may vary from an intermittent dull ache to a sharp constant pain. The pain usually subsides after a few days, however, activities such as gripping or lifting with the hand may be painful until complete healing occurs. Hand twisting activities, such as opening a jar or doorknob may also be painful.
- Swelling. The wrist may appear swollen. Swelling may occur due to collection of fluid in the joint and tissue spaces of the injured area. The amount of swelling usually depends on the severity of the sprain.
- Stiffness and reduced flexibility. Stiffness in the wrist joint may be caused due to swelling and/or muscle spasms in response to the ligament injury. Decreased motion, especially while bending the wrist backward and during side-to-side movements may be experienced. Flexibility should improve gradually over time.
- Joint weakness. Reduced grip and pinch strength with a general feeling of weakness in the sprained wrist may occur in moderate to severe wrist sprains. This symptom may be exacerbated by activities requiring pushing with the hand.
The duration of symptoms usually depends on the type and severity of the wrist sprain. While some sprains usually heal in a few days, others may take weeks or months.
Common Causes Of A Broken Wrist
Broken wrists, or Colles fractures, are the most common fracture of the arm. They occur when the larger of the two forearm bones breaks near the wrist on the thumb side. Activities that put people at risk for broken wrists include in-line skating, skiing, and biking, although anyone who falls onto an outstretched hand can break a wrist. Elderly people who are prone to falls and have osteoporosis have a high risk of breaking their wrists.
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Hairline Wrist Fracture Cast Or Splint
Immobilization may require a custom splint or a cast. ;For workers or athletes who need to continue their activity while healing, an ActivArmor cast may be an option. ;ActivArmor is the latest technology in casting. This allows 3D scanning and printing of a hard plastic custom cast. This allows the fractured area to get wet and protects against potential forces.
Hairline Fracture Wrist Cast in ActivArmor
What Is The Physiological Difference Between A Wrist Sprain And A Broken Wrist
The wrist is anatomically complex. A wrist sprain occurs when a ligament in the wrist is injured. Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that stretch from one bone to another. Wrist sprains typically involve stretching or tearing a ligament.
In contrast, a broken wrist occurs when you actually fracture a bone in the wrist. The wrist consists of 13 different bones, and any of these could be fractured during an injury. This could be as small as a hairline fracture in the bone, but a broken wrist can cause major pain.
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Ligaments Of The Wrist
Ligaments are fibrous bands of tissue that connect two bones. Ligaments of the wrist connect the wrists carpal bones with each other or with the bones of the forearm or hand .
Depending on their location, the ligaments of the wrist can be broadly grouped into:
- Extrinsic ligaments that connect the carpal bones to the long bones of the forearm or the bones between the wrist and finger bones . Extrinsic ligaments include several volar radiocarpal ligaments, volar ulnocarpal ligaments, and dorsal ligaments.
- Intrinsic ligaments that connect the carpal bones to each other. Intrinsic ligaments include several proximal row ligaments, distal row ligaments, and palmar midcarpal ligaments.
Some of these ligaments also web together to form a capsule around the wrist joint, and provide strength, flexibility, and support to the wrist.
Commonly diagnosed wrist ligament injuries include2:
- Triangular fibrocartilage complex injury. The TFCC is a small piece of cartilage that lies on top of the ulna bone and cushions the carpal bones. TFCC injuries result in damage to the radioulnar and ulnocarpal ligaments of the wrist.
- Scapholunate ligament injury. The most common type of wrist sprain results from damage to the scapholunate ligament, which connects the scaphoid and lunate bones.1 These injuries happen on a spectrum from partial injuries to complete tears depending on severity.
Both non-surgical and surgical treatments are used to treat wrist sprains.