Injuries to the hand can make it difficult to perform various tasks. Fractures to the bones of the hand or wrist can be particularly challenging to treat given the anatomy of the hand. People in Atlanta who've suffered fractures of the hand or fingers can count on Dr. Steven Bailey at The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery for expert care. Our team will focus on restoring the strength and use of the hands following serious fractures.
What Are Hand Fractures?
Hand fractures can refer to broken bones in different parts of the hand or fingers. Hand fractures affect the small bones that comprise the fingers or the long bones in the hand itself.
Symptoms of Hand Fractures
Some of the most common symptoms of hand fractures include:
- Pain in the hand or fingers
- Swelling of the hand or fingers
- Tenderness around the hand
- Stiffness or loss of movement
- Changes in finger length
- Change in hand shape when making a fist
- Depressed knuckles
- Hand or finger deformities
Causes of Hand Fractures
Hand fractures are often the result of physical trauma to the hands or fingers. This includes trauma from crushing, falling, crashes, twisting, and repetitive stress.
Types of Hand Fractures
In general, hand fractures can be categorized based on the part of the hand that's been affected.
- Fracture of the Phalanges: These are fractures that affect the small bones of the fingers (phalanges).
- Fracture of the Body of the Hand: These are fractures that affect the long bones of the hand (metacarpals).
- Fracture of the Heel of the Hand: These are fractures that affect the bones of the wrist (carpal bones).
Hand Fracture Diagnosis
Proper diagnosis of hand fractures will require a full examination. X-rays will be taken to identify the severity and nature of the fracture, including what bones were broken, how severe the fracture was, and if there was any nerve or soft tissue damage to address in addition to the fracture.
Treatment of Hand Fractures
There are surgical and non-surgical approaches to treating hand fractures depending on the nature of the injury.
It is possible to realign and set fractured bones without surgery. Once this is done, a splint or a cast will be used to stabilize the bone so it can heal properly. Additional X-rays will be taken to monitor the patient's recovery and ensure that the bone is healing properly.
Some broken bones may require surgery in order to be stabilized and heal properly. These surgeries will typically involve placement of pins or screws to hold the bones in place. Once the surgery is complete, it's followed by the use of a splint or cast to assist with the healing process.
Recovery after Surgery
When recovering from surgical or non-surgical treatment of fractured bones, it's important to get ample rest and avoid placing any stress on the affected hand or fingers. Patients should avoid smoking and alcohol consumption to prevent infection and ensure a speedy recovery.
Once the split or cast is removed, patients may notice stiffness or weakness in the hand. This is normal and will become less of an issue as patients continue to heal and exercise the muscles of their fingers and hands.
Contact The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery to learn more about hand fractures and the treatment options available.