Skip to Content

Hand Fracture In Children


What is a hand fracture?

A hand fracture is a break in one of the bones in your child's 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.

What are the signs and symptoms of a hand fracture?

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

How is a hand fracture diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child's hand and wrist, and ask about his or her injury. Your child may also need an x-ray.

How is a hand fracture treated?

  • A cast or splint may be placed on your child's hand, wrist, and lower arm. It will prevent movement and help his or her hand heal.
  • 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.
  • Closed reduction may be done to put your child's bones back into the correct position without surgery.
  • Open reduction surgery may be needed to put your child's bones back into the correct position. This may include the use of special wires, pins, plates or screws. These help keep the broken pieces lined up so your child's hand can heal correctly.

How can I help manage my child's symptoms?

  • Apply ice on your child's 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 child's skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Elevate your child's hand 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.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • 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.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

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