Fractures of the hand and fingers are extremely common. The metacarpals or fingers are more commonly fractured. Fractures can result from any type of injury such as direct trauma, a fall, or in contact sports.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Fracture?
When the bone is broken, it can cause moderate to severe pain especially during movement. This causes a limitation of mobility.
Swelling is also a typical sign of a fracture and is usually diagnostic.
When the fracture is severe, it can visibly cause the bones to deform and the fingers to look abnormal. Sometimes the finger will appear shorter than normal.
Fractured metacarpals will also limit the person to form a fist. When the fifth metacarpal is fractured, it causes a particular ‘boxer’s fracture’ that appears as a bowing or depressed knuckle.
How Are Fractures Diagnosed?
The signs and symptoms of a fracture will usually lead to the provisional diagnosis of a fracture, but further tests will be needed to confirm it. X-rays are the imaging tests of choice that will most certainly detect a broken bone.
How Are Fractures of the Hand Treated?
In most cases, when the fracture is mild and does not cause deformities, no surgery will be needed. The fracture will usually heal on its own in about 6 weeks with proper rest and splinting. Splinting will immobilize the fractured bone; this will help the broken bone to heal over time.
Hand exercises are recommended to restore function. Most fractures completely heal in three to six weeks. Another x-ray test should be taken to evaluate the healing process.
Surgery for Fractures
When the fractures are poorly stable and cause visible deformity the only curative option is surgery. Open fractures or fractures that are likely to cause skin infections will also require surgery.
The surgical procedure involves suturing the soft tissue and fixing the bone with implants back in its place. Although recovery might not be 100%, it still improves function by an outstanding degree.
After surgery, post-op rehabilitation and physiotherapy is crucial for the bone to heal.