What is a Fracture?
The hand, wrist and forearm is made up of many bones that form its supporting framework. This frame acts as a point of attachment for the muscles that make the wrist and fingers move. A fracture occurs when enough force is applied to a bone to break it.
What are the Symptoms?
When a bone breaks there is pain, swelling, and decreased use of the injured part. Many people think that a fracture is different from a break, but they are the same. Fractures may be simple with the bone pieces aligned and stable. Other fractures are unstable and the bone fragments tend to displace or shift.
How does it Affect the Hand?
Fractures often take place in the hand. A fracture may cause pain, stiffness, and loss of movement. Some fractures will cause an obvious deformity, such as a crooked finger, but many fractures do not. Because of the close relationship of bones to ligaments and tendons, the hand may be stiff and weak after the fracture heals. Fractures that involve joint surfaces may lead to early arthritis in those involved joints.
How are they Treated?
Medical evaluation and x-rays are usually needed to determine if there is a fracture and to help determine the treatment. Depending upon the type of fracture, Dr. Brown may recommend one of several treatment methods. A splint or cast may be used to treat a fracture that is not displaced, or to protect a fracture that has been set. Some displaced fractures may need to be set and then held in place with wires or pins without making an incision. This is a called closed reduction and fixation.
Other fractures may need surgery and incision to set the bone (open reduction). Once the bone fragments are set, they are held together with pins, plates, or screws. Fractures that disrupt the joint surface (articular fractures) usually need to be set more precisely to restore the joint surface as smooth as possible.
What Types of Results can I Expect?
Perfect alignment of the bone on x-ray is not always necessary to get good function. A bony lump may appear at the fracture site as the bone heals and is known as a “fracture callus.” This functions as a “spot weld.” This is a normal healing process and the lump usually gets smaller over time. Problems with fracture healing include stiffness, shift in position, infection, slow healing, or complete failure to heal. Smoking has been shown to slow fracture healing.
Fractures in children occasionally affect future growth of that bone. You can lessen the chances of complication by carefully following your hand surgeon’s advice during the healing process and before returning to work or sports activities. A hand therapy program with splints and exercises may be recommended by your physician to speed and improve the recovery process.
Why get your Fracture treated by Dr. Brown?
Elbow, wrist and hand and finger fractures are extremely common. Dr. Brown as one of the only Certified Hand Surgeons in the Permian Basin treats some of the most difficult hand injuries. We accept work related injuries, self funded, and most insurances including medicare and Medicaid.
We will see injuries from children all the way to the “wisely” aged. Don’t’ wait to get your hand fracture assessed by a surgeon Board Certified in surgery of the hand! We typically offer same day or next day appointments for new hand injuries.