Hand and wrist fractures occur when one or more bones in the hand or wrist break. In the hand, this includes small finger bones as well as the metacarpals, the long bones within the palm. Wrist fractures include breaks in the small bones of the wrist or a distal radius fracture, the larger of the two bones in the forearm and the most commonly broken bone in the arm.
What causes it?
Hand and wrist fractures can happen to anyone at any age. They’re often the result of:
- Falling onto an outstretched hand
- Sports activities
- Impact during a car accident
- Crushing or twisting injury
How do you know you have it?
Depending on the break, symptoms can include:
- Immediate and severe pain
- Movement limitations or complete inability to move
- Deformity (“out of place”)
How we fix it
The board-certified OSI hand and wrist team is here to examine you for signs and symptoms of a fracture. While you’re under our expert care, you may undergo the following to determine the best course of care:
- Physical exam: Your doctor will perform a careful and thorough examination of your hand or wrist, checking for proper tendon function and instability of joints near the fracture.
- X-rays: X-rays help identify the extent and location of the fracture and can show if there is displacement (a gap between broken bones). They can also show how many pieces of broken bone there are.
Depending on the injury, surgery may not be required. Often your OSI physician is able to gently manipulate bone fragments into alignment. Several methods can be used for protecting the fracture while it heals, including:
- Cast, brace or splint to keep bones in proper position during healing
- Hand exercises (gentle) after a period of weeks
- Bone stimulator (low-intensity or pulsed electromagnetic waves)
Periodic X-rays or other imaging studies may be used to monitor your healing.
Some hand and wrist fractures may require surgery to realign and stabilize the fracture. Our surgical options might include the use of pins, plates, or screws to maintain proper position of your bones during healing. To protect the fracture following surgery, a splint or cast will be worn. Specific exercises are provided to decrease any stiffness that might develop after fracture treatment and to improve function.