Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment Of A Broken Bone In The Hand Or Wrist
Many times, when a bone is broken in the hand or wrist during game play, the person knows it. Breaking a bone hurts, and sometimes it can even be heard. At the time of the injury, you may hear or feel a snapping or grinding. After the injury, it may be painful to touch or move the area that was hurt playing sports. Swelling and bruising may follow the injury, and the area may continue to hurt constantly or when touched.
Broken bones need to be evaluated. When you see a hand specialist for a suspected broken bone in the finger, hand or wrist, the doctor may take x-rays or occasionally order a CT scan or MRI to see the structure of the bones, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Some broken bones require realignment; you may hear your hand specialist call this a reduction. Depending on the break location, type of fracture, severity and other factors, you may be given a brace or cast to immobilize the area. The hand specialist may also give you medication and prescribe physical therapy after a time. Some of the most serious breaks may require surgery, which should be done by a hand specialist.
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What Does A Wrist Sprain And Fracture Feel Like
People often assume that the extent of the injury is directly related to the level of pain it causes. Thats why they tend to believe that a sprain would cause less pain than a fracture. However, sprains often cause severe pain and fractures can cause mild pain.
If you have wrist fracture, you are likely to feel a sharp pain that prevents your wrist movement while a wrist sprain injury causes a throbbing pain that may still allow you some range of motion. There are some wrist injury symptoms that are common for both fractures and sprains.
- Pain on moving the wrist
- Tenderness around the injured area
- Swelling in the wrist
- Inability to pick up objects or weakness
Signs of a Wrist Fracture
Some obvious signs of a fracture are deformity of the wrist, consistent pain right around the injured area and with finger movement, and numbness at the fingertips.
Signs of a Wrist Sprain
A sprained wrist is often painful and swollen that can develop over several days and may last from a few days to six weeks. You may feel a popping or tear in the wrist.
How To Recognize And Treat A Broken Wrist
Michael Menna, DO, is board-certified in emergency medicine. He is an attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York and also works at an urgent care center and a telemedicine company that provides care to patients across the country.
Nobody denies that a broken wrist is a very painful injury. However, as bad as they feel, they’re rarely life-threatening emergencies. In many cases, there’s not much you can do to help at home. This is going to require a trip to the emergency department .
The following steps will help you learn to recognize a broken wrist and to decide how to take care of it.
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Are You High Risk
You might find yourself being a high risk for a fractured or sprained wrist if youre active in sports, specifically ones like skateboarding or snowboarding. Another high-risk factor is if youve been;diagnosed with osteoporosis, a bone disease that is characterized by low bone density.
53 million people in the United States either are already diagnosed with osteoporosis or are at high risk because of their low bone density.;Otherwise known as the silent disease, many people do not know they have this disease until a slip or fall happens and they end up with an injury.
Even if you dont find yourself playing sports often, any type of activity that is high in contact increases your chances of experiencing a wrist fracture. Even something as small as jumping on a trampoline can make you more high risk.
Signs Of A Fracture Vs A Sprain
People may assume the level of pain an injury causes is directly related to the extent of an injury. Therefore, a sprain would cause less pain than a fracture. This is not necessarily the case. Fractures can cause mild or dull pain, and sprains can often cause severe pain.
There are a few telltale symptoms to detect a wrist fracture: deformity of the wrist or bone matter breaking through the skin are obvious signs of fracture. When these occur, individuals need to seek medical care right away.
However, other wrist injury symptoms are common for both fractures and sprains. These can include:
- Swelling in the wrist
- Bruising over the wrist or surrounding area
- Pain when moving the wrist or hand
- Weakness or inability to grasp or pick up objects
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Surgical And Other Procedures
You might need surgery to implant pins, plates, rods or screws to hold your bones in place while they heal. A bone graft might be used to help healing. These options might be necessary if you have:
- An open fracture
- A fracture in which the bone pieces move before they heal
- Loose bone fragments that could enter a joint
- Damage to the surrounding ligaments, nerves or blood vessels
- Fractures that extend into a joint
Even after reduction and immobilization with a cast or splint, your bones can shift. So your doctor likely will monitor your progress with X-rays. If your bones move, you might then need surgery.
In some cases, the surgeon will immobilize your fracture by using an external fixation device. This consists of a metal frame with two or more pins that go through your skin and into the bone on both sides of the fracture.
With external fixation, a metal frame outside your body immobilizes the fracture with two or more pins that pass through your skin and into the bone on either side of the fracture.
Dont Ignore Wrist Injuries
Wrist fractures, like essentially all broken bones are best treated when treated early.; This may be as simple and putting a brace on, which will immobilize and protect the bone easing the pain and preventing displacement.
Some fractures, like the scaphoid fracture, have poor outcomes when treated late.; Due to its unique blood supply, scaphoid fractures have higher risk of non-healing or nonunion than other wrist bones.; When this bone does not heal, it will, overtime, develop a predictable pattern of wrist arthritis.
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How To Heal A Sprained Wrist
It is possible for mild wrist sprains to be self-treated at home. The recommendation for sprained wrist treatment is rest, ice, compression, and elevation . Aspirin or ibuprofen can also help minimize swelling. If swelling doesnt go down in 48 hours or the sprain doesnt resolve in two to three days, you should call your hand and wrist specialist.;
- Rest: Avoid using the wrist for at least two days.;;
- Ice: Ice the injury right away and continue applying ice a few times a day for 20 minutes each time.;
- Compression: A compression bandage is how to wrap a sprained wrist. It can be used to minimize swelling and provide wrist support.;
- Elevation: Elevate your wrist above your heart.;;
Medical treatment is recommended for moderate and severe sprains. Splints are typically used for moderate sprains. Severe sprains may need surgery in order to connect the ligament to the bone or to reconstruct the ligament.;;
Support For A Wrist Fracture
When you first break your wrist, one of the most important things for your doctor to do is immobilise the joint. Immobilisation helps to prevent the broken bones from moving out of place, which could otherwise prevent correct healing, or even cause more serious injuries.
The apparatus used to immobilise your wrist is often referred to as a support, as it supports the joint and helps to keep it in place. Some of these supports can include a plaster or fibre glass cast, and a splint. A cast is a sturdier support for a broken bone but can take longer to apply and must be completely replaced if they become loose or damaged as swelling reduces. A splint is also known as a half cast, are much quicker to apply, and can be loosened or tightened depending on the patients needs.
It is important to ensure that you take care of your support, and not allow it to become wet or damaged while you are healing. It is also important to be aware of excessive pain in your broken wrist while in a cast or splint. You should also be aware of further swelling, discolouration or numbness in your fingers while wearing a support, as this could be a sign of further infection, nerve damage or loss of circulation. You should notify your doctor immediately if you notice any of those symptoms, as urgent treatment may be required.
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Wrist Sprain Vs Broken Wrist
We use our hands for so much throughout the day that wrist pain can be very debilitating. The most common cause of wrist injuries is falling onto an outstretched hand. This may cause the wrist ligaments or bones to become damaged. Some wrist injuries are classified as wrist sprains while others are considered a broken wrist. Understanding the difference will help you get the correct treatment from your;Jacksonville orthopedic;specialist. Contact our hand and wrist specialists to take advantage of their specialized knowledge and training in this area.
I Hurt My Hand Playing Sports How Do I Know If Its Broken Sprained Or Bruised
While sports are fun, there are also plenty of opportunities for injury. When an injury occurs to the hand or wrist while playing sports, it may be important to have a hand specialist evaluate it. Appropriate treatment will provide the best chance for healing properly, allowing you to return to playing the games you love. A hand surgeon will be able to diagnose whether the hand, finger or wrist is broken, sprained or bruised and whether you need specialized treatment.
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Identifying Symptoms Of A Sprained Wrist
How To Tell The Difference Between A Wrist Sprain And A Wrist Fracture
This article was co-authored by Diana Lee, MD. Dr. Diana Lee is a Family Medicine Physician in California. She received her MD from Georgetown University in 2015. Most recently, she completed an Ophthalmic Pathology fellowship at Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests are diverse and include: cataract surgery, dry eye, thyroid eye disease, retinoblastoma and diabetic retinopathy.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 15 testimonials and 83% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 272,838 times.
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How Does A Wrist Fracture Happen
Virtually anyone can take a tumble and end up with a broken wrist, says Dr. Swigart, but the majority of the people she sees with the problem fall into one of two categories.
The first group is elderly men and women who are vulnerable to wrist fracture because of low bone density. Because their bones are fragile, It doesnt take much of a fall to break the wrist, Dr. Swigart says.
Patients in the second group, she says, tend to be younger and more active, with fractured wrists resulting from what Dr. Swigart calls higher energy mechanisms, such as a skiing mishap or getting hit while playing contact sports. The breaks those patients sustain tend to involve the wrist joint and are often more severe, Dr. Swigart says.
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
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Broken Hand Symptoms: How Do I Know If I Have A Broken Hand
Approximately 6 million people suffer a broken bone every year in the United States, and broken fingers are very common. The location and severity of the hand fracture will determine the symptoms the patient experiences and the available treatment options. So what does a broken hand feel like? Lets take a look at a few of the most common broken hand symptoms.
Fractured hand symptoms involving the metacarpals include pain, swelling, general tenderness along the site of the injury, and bruising. These metacarpal fractures symptoms may be more pronounced as the patient makes a fist or even loosely grips items. Metacarpal fractures may also give the involved fingers a shortened appearance. For example, Boxers fracture symptoms may include the knuckle appearing indented or crushed inward due to displacement along the neck of the metacarpal. Broken finger symptoms include pain, decreased range of motion, swelling, and sensitivity to even the lightest touch. Fractured finger symptoms may also include bruising, and its possible for the finger to appear deformed or misaligned. Broken thumb symptoms include swelling, bruising, sensitivity to the touch, and decreased range of motion. Some patients also report numbness or feelings of cold around the injury. In some cases, the hand or fingers may change colors, becoming pale or even blue, after a fracture of the hand. Patients may also notice other tactile sensations, such as tingling.
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.;
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Sprained Wrist Vs Broken
Now, how can you tell if it’s a sprained wrist vs broken wrist? A deformity of the bone, such as a bone sticking out or nearly sticking out of the skin, is the easiest way to tell a broken bone.;
Otherwise, determining sprained wrist vs broken wrist is not that easy, and we recommend that you see an orthopedic physician who can make that diagnosis. ;Sometimes we find that mild pain in the wrist could end up being a fracture, while severe pain could be just a sprain. Therefore, the best decision is to get your injury evaluated by a physician who may use diagnostic testing to confirm their diagnosis.;
You don’t want to find out too late that you had a broken bone or that you have a severe sprain. This could lead to improper healing or deformity or even necrosis of the bone.
Dr. Garry Kitay;states that “although most wrist injuries can be treated with bracing and rest, certain conditions need urgent attention to avoid long term harm. These include several types of ligament ruptures and unstable fractures. If your pain is severe, or you are not improving quickly, seek medical attention.” Dr. Kitay is a board-certified physician by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and he practices at the JOI San Marco location.
If you want to learn more about wrist sprains, please watch this VIDEO.
Wrist Sprain Vs Fracture: How To Tell The Difference
Are you unsure of the difference between a wrist sprain vs fracture? Do you need quality care to help you get over your injury?
Most of us live an active lifestyle. We bike, swim, and spend calories. Sometimes we take a fall and accrue an injury, at which point its most important to know the extent of your injury and the types of appropriate treatment.
If you need to tell the difference between a sprain and a fracture, keep reading for the signs you should know.
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