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What are Hand and Wrist Fractures?

A fracture is a break in the bone that can range from a small crack to a complete break. In the hand and wrist, fractures can affect different bones, including the metacarpals (bones of the hand) and the carpal bones (bones of the wrist). Fractures are classified into several types based on their severity and characteristics:

  • Stable Fractures: The broken bones remain in place and are properly aligned.
  • Displaced Fractures: The broken bones are misaligned and may require realignment.
  • Comminuted Fractures: The bone is shattered into multiple pieces.
  • Open (Compound) Fractures: The broken bone pierces the skin, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Closed Fractures: The broken bone does not break the skin.

Causes and Risk Factors

Hand and wrist fractures can result from various factors and activities:

  • Falls: Falling onto an outstretched hand is a common cause of wrist fractures.
  • Sports Injuries: Participating in sports that involve physical contact, high speeds, or falls, such as football, skiing, and cycling, can increase the risk of fractures.
  • Accidents: Car accidents, workplace incidents, or other traumatic events can lead to fractures.
  • Osteoporosis: This condition weakens bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.
  • Repetitive Stress: Overuse or repetitive activities can lead to stress fractures, particularly in athletes.


Symptoms of hand and wrist fractures can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury and may include:

  • Immediate and severe pain at the site of the fracture, which may worsen with movement or pressure
  • Swelling around the injured area due to inflammation
  • Discoloration of the skin around the fracture
  • Sensitivity to touch over the broken bone
  • Visible deformity or abnormal shape of the hand or wrist
  • Difficulty moving the hand or wrist
  • Difficulty or inability to use the affected hand or wrist.

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosing hand and wrist fractures involves a thorough evaluation by a healthcare provider, including:

  • Medical History: Discussing how the injury occurred, your symptoms, and any previous injuries with your doctor.
  • Physical Examination: Assessing the affected area for pain, swelling, range of motion, and deformity.

Imaging Tests: X-rays are commonly used to confirm the presence and extent of the fracture. In some cases, an MRI or CT scan may be needed for a more detailed view.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

Many hand and wrist fractures can be managed with non-surgical treatments aimed at promoting bone healing and restoring function:

  • Immobilization: Using a cast, splint, or brace to keep the hand or wrist in place and allow the bone to heal properly.
  • Rest: Avoiding activities that could aggravate the injury and giving the affected area time to heal.
  • Ice: Applying ice packs to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Elevation: Keeping the injured hand or wrist elevated above heart level to minimize swelling.

Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as NSAIDs to manage pain and inflammation.

Surgical Treatment

When non-surgical treatments are insufficient, or if the fracture is severe, surgery may be necessary. At Excel Health, we prioritize minimally invasive surgical options to ensure the best outcomes and quickest recovery times for our patients.

Hand and wrist arthroscopic surgery is a state-of-the-art technique that involves using a small camera (arthroscope) to visualize the inside of the joint. This allows the surgeon to precisely realign and fix the broken bones using small surgical instruments. This minimally invasive approach results in smaller incisions, less postoperative pain, and a quicker recovery compared to traditional open surgery.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Recovery from hand and wrist fractures involves a combination of rest, rehabilitation exercises, and regular follow-up appointments. The initial phase focuses on immobilizing the fracture to promote healing, followed by a structured physical therapy program to restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Adhering to your healthcare provider’s recommendations is crucial for optimal recovery.

Preventing Hand and Wrist Fractures

Preventing fractures involves taking steps to protect your bones and reduce the risk of injury:

  • Wear Protective Gear: Use wrist guards or protective equipment when participating in high-risk sports.
  • Strength and Flexibility: Perform exercises to strengthen the muscles around your hands and wrists and improve flexibility.

Safe Practices: Use caution during activities to avoid falls and accidents, and maintain a healthy lifestyle to support bone health.

Get Treatment for Hand and Wrist Fractures

Treating a hand or wrist fracture requires proactive management to facilitate healing and maintain joint function. Regular exercises, using supportive devices, and making ergonomic adjustments can help manage symptoms and prevent complications. Ongoing monitoring and early intervention are key to maintaining hand and wrist health.

If you suspect you have a hand or wrist fracture or are experiencing symptoms, contact Excel Health for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our dedicated team is committed to providing the highest quality care to help you regain function and comfort in your daily activities.

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