A bone fracture, or break, occurs when the force applied against a bone is stronger than the bone. Joints are especially vulnerable to fractures because the bones that make up the joint are held together by soft tissues — the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The bones of the hands and wrists are very small in comparison to the bones of other joints, such as the hips, knees, and shoulders, and a fracture may be caused by a severe strain of a ligament or muscle. Crushing injuries to the hand or wrist also may cause fractures.
A fracture to the hand is quite painful and there may be swelling and discoloration of the skin. Mobility of the affected area is also usually limited. The severity of a bone fracture in the wrist or hand varies significantly, and some people are not certain there is a broken bone until the injured area is evaluated by a physician. In other cases, the break is obvious.
It is important to seek medical attention anytime you think you have broken a bone. Sometimes a fracture of a finger bone can only be treated by using a splint or other traction device while the bone heals. Other breaks are more serious and first aid will be important even before you see the doctor. Anytime there is bleeding and deformity or protrusion of the bone through the skin, emergency medical attention should be obtained.
For more information about fractures of the hand, please call (918) 494-AOOK (2665).