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A hand fracture
is a break in one of the bones in your hand. These include the bones in the wrist and fingers, and those that connect the wrist to the fingers. A hand fracture may be caused by twisting or bending the hand in the wrong way. It may also be caused by a fall, a crush injury, or a sports injury.
Common signs and symptoms of a hand fracture:
- Pain or tenderness
- Swelling or bruising
- Problems moving your hand
- Abnormal bump, or abnormal shape of your hand
- Knuckle bone looks sunken in
Call your doctor if:
- Your arm feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You have severe pain that does not get better, even with pain medicine.
- Your injured hand or forearm is cold, numb, or pale.
- Your cast or splint gets wet, damaged, or comes off.
- You have new sores around your brace, cast, or splint.
- You notice a bad smell coming from under your cast.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
may include any of the following:
- A cast or splint may be placed on your hand, wrist, and lower arm. It will prevent movement and help your hand heal.
- NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Closed reduction may be done to put your bones back into the correct position without surgery.
- Open reduction surgery may be needed to put your bones back into the correct position. This may include the use of wires, pins, plates or screws. These help keep the broken pieces lined up so your hand can heal correctly.
Manage your symptoms:
- Apply ice on your hand for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Elevate your hand above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your hand on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Go to physical therapy as directed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength and to decrease pain.
- Ask about driving and other activities. You may not be able to drive for up to 2 weeks. Ask when it is safe for you to drive and return to other activities, such as sports.
Follow up with your doctor or hand specialist as directed:
You may need to return to have your cast, splint, or stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.