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Hand Fracture in Children

AMBULATORY CARE:

A hand fracture

is a break in a bone in your child's hand.

Common signs and symptoms of a hand fracture include the following:

  • Pain or tenderness
  • Swelling or bruising in the hand
  • Problems moving the hand
  • Abnormal bump, or abnormal shape of your child's hand
  • Knuckle bone looks sunken in

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child has severe pain that does not get better 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.

Call your child's doctor or hand specialist if:

  • Your child has new sores around his or her 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.

Treatment

may include any of the following:

  • A cast or splint on your child's hand, wrist, and lower arm will prevent movement while the hand heals.
  • 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 or her. 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 to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not give your child other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to a healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Closed reduction is used to put the bone back into the correct position without surgery.
  • Open reduction surgery may be needed to put the bone back into the correct position. Wires, pins, plates, or screws may be used to keep the broken pieces lined up correctly.

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.
    Elevate Arm

Bathing with a cast or splint:

Ask when it is okay for your child to take a bath or shower. Do not let the cast or splint get wet. Before your child bathes, cover the cast or splint with a plastic bag. Tape the bag to your child's skin above the cast or splint to seal out water. Have your child keep his or her hand out of the water in case the bag breaks or tears.

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.
  • Do not let your child use a sharp or pointed object to scratch his or her skin under the cast or splint.

Follow up with your child's doctor or hand specialist as directed:

Your child may need to return to have his or her cast or splint 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.