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Hand Fracture in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A hand fracture is a break in one of the bones in the 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.
Return the emergency department if:
- Your child has severe pain that does not get better, even with pain medicine.
- Your child says his or her splint or cast feels too tight.
- Your child's cast or splint gets wet, damaged, or comes off.
- Your child's hand or forearm is cold, numb, or pale.
- Your arm feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has new sores around his or her brace, cast, or splint.
- You notice a bad smell coming from under your child's cast.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much you should give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to give this medicine to your child safely.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider or hand specialist as directed:
Your child may need to return to have his or her cast, splint, or stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Help manage your child's symptoms:
- Have your child wear his or her splint as directed. Do not remove the splint until you follow up with your child's healthcare provider or hand specialist.
- Apply ice on your child's finger 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 child's skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Elevate your child's finger above the level of his or her heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your child's hand on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
Bathing with a cast or splint:
Ask when it is okay for your child to bathe. Do not let the cast or splint get wet. Cover the cast or splint with 2 plastic trash bags. Tape the bags to your child's skin above the cast to seal out the water. Have your child keep his or her arm out of the water in case the bag breaks. Contact your child's healthcare provider if the cast gets wet. Dry the cast with a hairdryer set on low or no heat.
Cast or splint care:
- Check the skin around the cast or splint every day for redness or sores. Numb or tingly fingers may mean the splint is too tight. Gently loosen the tape on the splint.
- Do not let your child push down or lean on any part of the cast or splint, because it may break.
- Do not let your child use a sharp or pointed object to scratch his or her skin under the cast or splint.
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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.