Wrist + Hand

Fractures

Overview

Fractures can vary greatly from a stress fracture to broken bones. Symptoms of a fracture include:

  • Pain with weight bearing
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Deformed or crooked appearance

If your child has a potential fracture, they should be examined by a doctor as quickly as possible. A child's bones heal quickly, and it is important that the bone receives the proper treatment before it begins to heal.

Distal Radius Fractures (Broken Wrist)

Distal radius fractures are very common. The most common cause of a distal radius fracture is a fall onto an outstretched arm. The treatment options depend on the nature of the fracture, your age and activity level, and the surgeon's personal preferences. If the broken bone is in a good position, a plaster cast may be applied until the bone heals. If the position of the bone is so misaligned that it cannot be corrected in a cast or it has the potential of interfering with the future functioning of your arm, surgery may be required.

Learn more about wrist fractures.

Finger Fractures

Although the bones in the hand are small, a broken finger is not a minor injury. When you fracture a finger bone, it can cause your whole hand to be out of alignment. Without treatment, your broken finger might stay stiff and painful. Your doctor will put your broken bone back into place, usually without surgery. You will get a splint or cast to protect it from further injury while it heals. Depending on the type and severity of the fracture, you may need surgery to put the bones into alignment. Small devices, such as pins, screws, or wire, will be used to hold your fractured bones together.

Learn more about finger fractures.

Hand Fractures

A broken hand can be caused by a fall, crush injury, twisting injury, or through direct contact in sports. In most cases, a hand fracture will heal well with nonsurgical treatment. Depending on the type and location of the fracture, this may include wearing a cast, splint, or buddy straps for a period of time. For more serious fractures or for fractures that do not line up properly, surgery may be required to realign the broken pieces of bone.

Learn more about hand fractures.

Scaphoid Fractures

A scaphoid (navicular) fracture is a break in one of the small bones of the wrist. This type of fracture occurs most often after a fall onto an outstretched hand. Treatment for a scaphoid fracture can range from casting to surgery, depending on the fracture's severity. Because portions of the scaphoid have a poor blood supply—and a fracture can further disrupt the flow of blood to the bone—complications with the healing process are common.

Learn more about scaphoid fractures.

Growth Plate Fractures

Because children are still growing, their bones are subject to a unique injury called a growth plate fracture. Growth plates are areas of cartilage located near the ends of bones. They are the last portion of a child's bones to harden and are particularly vulnerable to fracture. Approximately 25% of all childhood fractures are growth plate fractures. Because the growth plate helps determine the future length and shape of the mature bone, this type of fracture requires prompt attention. With proper treatment, most growth plate fractures heal without complications.

Learn more about growth plate fractures.

Diagnosis

X-rays are commonly used to determine fractures. Sometimes, the stress fracture cannot be seen on regular x-rays or will not show up for several weeks after the pain starts. Occasionally, a computed topography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be necessary.

Treatment Options

Treatment of fractures varies greatly depending on the force that causes the break as well as where the break is located. The pieces of bone may line up correctly (stable fracture) or be out of alignment (displaced fracture). The skin around the fracture may be intact (closed fracture) or the bone may puncture the skin (open fracture).

Most fractures can be treated with casting or splinting. Surgery may be required for certain types of fractures with open wounds, many bone fragments, or a large degree of displacement. Surgery may also be needed for fractures that have not healed properly with nonsurgical treatment. Your doctor will talk with you about the best treatment option for you and your injury.

Physical Therapy

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you regain strength in your hand and to restore range of motion.

Eau Claire Area Locations

Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine - Altoona

Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine - Chippewa Falls

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Outreach Locations

Cumberland Memorial Hospital

Chippewa Valley Hospital

Prevea Rice Lake Health Center

Hayward Area Memorial Hospital

Ascension Our Lady of Victory Hospital

Indianhead Medical Center

Black River Memorial Hospital

Krohn Clinic

Diagnostic Radiology Associates