How Hand Fractures are Diagnosed and Treated

Updated on January 30, 2019

A baby grips his father’s index finger and a mother gently cradles its head.  A high-five to the friends and a clash of fist showing bro code, or that matters, palms that bang or fist that punches.  Life is all made up of hands. But, ever thought about the complex structure of your hand?

Our hands are made up of 28 bones and eight short carpal bones that serve as a framework to them. Any small breakage in these bones is termed as hand fracture. Further, a hand fracture means hampered mobility of the hand which needs to be diagnosed and treated.

Most fractures can be treated easily with the help of an immobilizer and certain medicines such as Chymoral Forte and other medicines with Chymoral Forte composition. However, for more serious cases, it requires various other processes. Let’s have a look:

Diagnosis of Hand Fractures:

Diagnosis of hand fractures usually includes a physical examination of the hand, followed by X-ray imagining.  During the physical examination of your hand, the doctor may check for the following thing:

  1. Pain and its intensity
  2. Swelling
  3. Any palpable deformity
  4. Immobility of fingers

Sometimes, to get a clearer picture of your hand, the doctor may perform a few tests other than X-Ray imaging. They are:

  • CT Scan:

CT scan or Computerized Tomography is a technology that makes use of computer processed combinations of various X-ray measurements taken from a variety of angles. It then combines the pictures to depict cross-sectional slices of your body’s internal structure. 

A CT scan reveals the fractures that an X-Ray misses. It can also help in the diagnosis of injuries to soft tissues and blood vessels too.

  • MRI:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or commonly known as MRI, is another diagnostic technique that uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce detailed images of bones and soft tissues. Being more sensitive to X-Rays, MRIs can identify even the smallest fractures and ligament injuries.

Treatment of Hand Fractures:

Once your fracture and its severity are diagnosed, your doctor will prepare for its appropriate treatment. The treatment process may involve the following procedures:

  • Reduction:

‘Reduction’ is the process of re-alignment of the broken pieces of bones. When a bone breaks, there are chances that the bones misalign, leaving small gaps between the pieces of bone or overlapping between the fragments. The doctor studies the X-ray images to put the pieces of bones back into the position. Depending upon the severity of the fracture or the amount of pain and swelling, your doctor may also provide you general anaesthesia before the process.

  • Immobilization:

For proper healing, your doctor will advise you to restrict the movement of your broken hand. For this, he may use a splint or cast. During the duration of the treatment, the doctor may also advise you to keep your hand above the heart level. This provides relief in pain and swelling.

  • Medications:

To reduce pain and swelling, your doctor may prescribe you certain pain relievers or NSAIDs. In certain cases, when there are cuts or wounds associated with the broken bone, doctors may also prescribe antibiotics to treat or prevent any bacterial infection at the site of injury.   

  • Therapy:

Once the cast or splint is removed, the doctor will advise you to undergo physical therapy or perform exercises. Physical therapy and exercises will reduce the stiffness and help in the restoration of the movement. This is a long process that takes months to heal the injury completely.

  • Other procedures:

In certain cases, such as:

  1. Fractures extended to joint
  2. Open fractures
  3. Loose bone pieces that can enter a joint, or
  4. Loose bone fragments damaging the surrounding blood vessels and ligaments

the doctor may use some surgical procedures to treat the fracture. The procedures include implantation of plates, pins, screws or rods to hold the bones during the healing process. 

Generally, these treatments heal a fractured hand perfectly. However, in certain cases, there may be the chances of dislocation of bone pieces even after using a cast or splint.  To prevent such cases, your doctor may monitor your progress at fixed intervals and may ask you to keep a check on it too.

So, next time you put your hands into some uncomfortable situation, think once!

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