Fractures and “breaks” mean the same thing when referring to discontinuities in bones due to trauma, falls or crushing and twisting injuries. Hand fractures can be simple fractures, where the bone pieces remain stable and aligned, or unstable fractures associated with shifting or displacement of bone fragments. Compound fractures of the hand involve bone fragments that actually puncture the skin. If bones in the hand are shattered or splintered, your hand fracture doctor in New York City will refer to this as a comminuted (unstable) fracture.
Hand fractures occur to the phalanges (small finger bones) or the metacarpals (long hand bones). Signs of a possible fracture in the hand or fingers can resemble severe sprains or “jammed” fingers. Only a hand fracture doctor in NYC can correctly diagnose a potential broken bone in the hand.
Swelling, tenderness, pain, stiffness, deformity of one or more fingers or an inability to move fingers are classic signs that you may have a hand fracture. Shortened fingers, or a finger that clearly crosses its neighboring finger when you make a half-fist, are additional symptoms of a possible hand fracture. Depressed knuckles are usually observed in a type of fracture called a “boxer’s fracture,” which involves a break in the long bone under your little finger (fifth metacarpal).
Your hand fracture doctor in Staten Island will perform a physical and visual examination of your hand, followed by x-rays to determine the type of fracture. Even if no fracture is detected, you may still need to wear a cast or splint, depending on the severity of the injury.
For stable fractures that are not displaced, a cast or splint usually provides sufficient support to allow the hand to heal properly. Alternately, displaced fractures may require stabilization with pins or wires. The procedure to insert pins or wires is called an open reduction and internal fixation. Your hand fracture doctor in NYC may suggest ORIF if you have suffered a comminuted fracture, compound fracture or bones cannot be aligned correctly.
Casts placed over hand fractures typically start just below the fingertips and extend past the wrist to ensure bones are securely stabilized. X-rays are taken about a week later so that your doctor can see if the bones are still in their proper position. Hand fracture casts are worn from three to six weeks, depending on the type of fracture injuring the hand and/or fingers.
If hand bones are severely comminuted (shattered), or a bone is partially or totally missing, a bone graft may be necessary to reconstruct the fractured bone. To complete a hand graft procedure, a piece of bone is usually taken from the hip or the end of the wrist to replace the missing bone.
Get your hand fracture properly diagnosed and treated by an experienced hand fracture doctor in Staten Island. Contact Regional Orthopedic today to schedule an appointment at one of our facilities.