Hand Fractures: Causes, Symptoms, and Management

The hand has a complex structure and when any one of its 27 bones is

broken, it is already considered a hand fracture. One or more bones may be fractured at a time. All 27 bones are essential that to form the hand’s supporting framework. This frame posesas the muscle’s point of attachment that enables the wrist and fingers to move. When sufficient force is applied to the hand, it can cause the bone to break.

The hand is made up of five metacarpal bones found in the hand and 14 small phalangeal bones in the fingers. Although the remaining eight bones are not exactly part of the hands, the eight carpal bone of the wrist perform a vital function that allows hand function. The knuckles of the hand are called the metacarpal-phalangeal (MCP) joint, whereas the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint and distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint pertains to the joint closest to the palm and the joint closest to the fingertip, respectively. Any of these bones can be broken.

Hand Fractures Causes

There are several ways to fracture the hand. Some ways wherein sufficient force is applied to the hand that can lead to hand fracture include:

  • Falling onto an outstretched hand
  • Sports injuries, especially from contact sports such as, boxing, American football, etc.
  • Improper use of tools
  • Vehicular accidents, such as cars, bikes and motorcycles
  • Repetitive or overuse
    • May lead to stress fractures
    • Common causes include tennis, softball, etc.

Hand Fractures Symptoms

Hand injuries are fairly evident. A deformity may be seen, however, several symptoms of hand fractures are the following:

  • History of injury
  • Pain, which increases at hand or wrist movement
  • Tenderness over the injured area
  • Swelling and bruising, which appears almost immediately
  • Reduced range of motions of fingers or inability to make hand movements at all
  • Inability to grasp
  • Misalignment of the finger
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Deformities, which may look like:
    • Shortened finger
    • Depressed knuckle

Hand Fractures First Aid Management

Hand Fractures                Once a hand fracture is diagnosed, usually throughx-ray, CT scan, MRI and bone scan, effective management can be given by the healthcare provider. However, first aid can be given immediately to alleviate symptoms and avoid aggravating the injury.

  • If there is any bleeding, apply direct pressure over the wound using a dry, clean cloth or gauze pad.
  • To reduce pain and limit swelling, apply ice to the injury. However, never apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap it with towel or another piece of cloth.
  • Remove any jewelry immediately because it might be hard to remove when the fingers have already swelled.
  • If there is evident deformity in the hand, place it on the pillow while on the way to the doctor’s office or hospital.
  • If there is pain, over-the-counter pain medications such as, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be taken.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and not meant to substitute for medical advice or first aid training. To learn how to treat and manage hand fractures and other fractures in the body, register to join in First Aid Training offered by workplace approved all over the country.


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