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Hand And Wrist Fractures

Dilhan Abeyewardene, MD -  - Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon

Dilhan Abeyewardene, MD

Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon located in North Palm Beach, FL

Breaking a bone in your hand or wrist can happen to anyone, regardless of age or occupation. seeing a specialist like Dr. Dilhan could mean the difference between maximizing your recovery with your fracture healing correctly or developing post-traumatic arthritis. Dr. Dilhan is an orthopedic hand surgeon at Orthopaedic Care Specialists who has considerable expertise in treating patients with hand and wrist fractures. For prompt, high-quality treatment, call his office today, or book an appointment using the online tool.

Hand and Wrist Fractures Q & A

What are hand and wrist fractures?

Your hand is made up of 27 different bones.  Some of these bones join the 2 forearm bones, the radius and the ulna, to form the wrist.  Sometimes injury to these can cause a fracture, which is a fancy medical word for “broken”.  

 The scaphoid, a small bone in your wrist near the base of your thumb, and the hamate, another small bone in the center of your wrist, are two very commonly fractured carpal bones.

Hand and wrist fractures typically happen as a result of falls, crush injuries, or when playing sports. Most hand and wrist fractures heal without needing surgery, using noninvasive methods of realigning the broken bones and holding them in place while they heal.

What symptoms do hand and wrist fractures cause?

At the moment the fracture occurs, it’s likely to cause immediate pain, which can be severe. As well as the acute pain, your fracture could cause:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Deformity
  • Numbness
  • Limited movement

A fractured finger might look shorter, or cross over the finger next to it when you try to make a fist. Trying to move your wrist or fingers and gripping or squeezing your hand is likely to make the pain worse, although some fractures limit your ability to move your hand at all.

Depending on the cause of your hand or wrist fracture, you could have broken skin, and it’s possible that a severe fracture can result in bone protruding through your skin.

How are hand and wrist fractures diagnosed and treated?

Every fracture is unique and every treatment plan should take this into consideration.  However, there are a few categories that fractures can be grouped into that help us decide which treatment is most beneficial.  Non-displaced fractures are commonly called “hairline fractures”. This means that the bone is in good alignment and can often be treated without surgery.  

Displaced fractures occur when the bone breaks and is no longer in good alignment.  Sometimes these fractures can be set into better alignment and surgery can be avoided.  Unfortunately, there are some fractures that are not well aligned and need surgery so that the bone can have the best chance of healing correctly. 

After fractures,  Dr. Dihan will check X-rays every few weeks to ensure that the bones are healing properly. You might need to wear your cast or splint for between three and six weeks before the bones set well enough to take it off.

Sometimes finger fractures can be treated using the buddy strapping method. This involves strapping the fractured finger to a finger that’s alright, so the healthy finger forms a splint for the fractured one.

Physical therapy is vital to full recovery from a fractured hand or wrist. You can begin exercising your hand very gently after about three weeks.

If you fracture your hand or wrist, go to a specialist to ensure optimal recovery from your injury. Call Dr. Dilhan’s office  today or book an appointment online.