Broken Hand

A broken hand is one in which one or more of the hand's bones have fractured or cracked. Falling or receiving direct strikes might result in this injury. Hand bones can shatter in car accidents, often in many pieces, and frequently need surgery to be repaired.

If you play contact sports like football or hockey, or if you have a medical condition that causes your bones to thin down and become more brittle, you may be more likely to break your hand (osteoporosis).

A fractured hand has to be treated as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it's possible that the bones won't mend properly, which might make it difficult for you to do daily tasks like writing or buttoning a shirt. Early intervention will also lessen discomfort.

Broken Hand: Causes

A direct strike or injury that causes crushing might result in hand fractures. Hand bones can shatter in car accidents, often in many pieces, and frequently need surgery to be repaired.

Broken Hand: Symptoms

The major symptoms include −

  • Severe discomfort that might get worse if you squeeze, grab, or move your hand

  • Swelling

  • Tenderness

  • Bruising

  • Obvious malformation, like a bent finger

  • Your fingers or thumb may be stiff or incapable of movement.

  • Your hand or fingers are numb.

When to Contact a Physician?

See a doctor right away if you believe you may have a fractured hand, especially if you are experiencing numbness, swelling, or difficulty moving your fingers. Poor healing, a reduction in range of motion, and a weakening of the grip can all result from delayed diagnosis and treatment.

While they are uncommon, complications from a fractured hand might include −

  • Persistent stiffness, pain, or impairment − Once your cast is removed or following surgery, stiffness, soreness, or aching usually gradually go away in the afflicted area. Nonetheless, some people have discomfort or stiffness all the time. Be patient while you heal, and ask your doctor for advice on exercises or a recommendation for physical or occupational therapy.

  • Osteoarthritis  Arthritis can develop years after a fracture that extends into a joint. See your doctor for a diagnosis if your hand continues to have pain or swelling after a break.

  • Harm to blood vessels or nerves  Injury to the hand might harm nearby blood vessels and nerves. If you experience numbness or circulation issues, get medical treatment right away.

Broken Hand: Risk Factors

Participating in sports like football, soccer, rugby, or hockey may increase your chance of breaking your hand. Your chance of breaking your hand may also rise if you have osteoporosis, a disorder that weakens bones.

Broken Hand: Diagnosis

To diagnose a broken hand, your doctor may suggest the following tests −

  • Inspection of the body − Your hand will be examined by a doctor to look for bruising, swelling, and other symptoms of injury. They could also check the vicinity, including your wrist and arm. They can use this information to assess how serious your injury is.

  • Medical background − This enables the medical professional to discover any underlying issues you could have. They can comprehend what may have contributed to your damage, for instance, if you have osteoporosis or a history of hand injuries. They will inquire as to the circumstances surrounding your most recent accident and how your hand was hurt.

  • X-ray − Your X-ray will be ordered by a physician. To locate the break and determine its orientation, they will utilize this imaging test.

Broken Hand: Treatment

There may be spaces between the bone fragments or they may overlap if the shattered ends of the bone are out of alignment. Your doctor will need to do a reduction or move the components back into place. Before this operation, you could require local or general anesthesia depending on how much pain and swelling you are experiencing.


The correct healing of a fractured hand bone depends on limiting mobility. You'll probably need a cast or splint for this. To lessen discomfort and swelling, it is suggested that you keep your hand as close to your heart as you can.


Your doctor could suggest using an over-the-counter painkiller to lessen your discomfort. You could require an opioid medication, such as codeine if your pain is severe.

NSAIDs can reduce pain but, if taken over a prolonged period, they may also slow down bone repair. To find out if you can use them to relieve pain, ask your doctor.

If you have an open fracture—a wound or break in the skin close to the wound site—you'll probably be prescribed an antibiotic to stop an infection from spreading to the bone.


You'll probably require rehabilitation exercises or physical therapy to ease stiffness and regain flexibility in your hand when your cast or splint is taken off. Although it may take many months or longer, rehabilitation can be beneficial.

Broken Hand: Prevention

The unexpected incidents that frequently result in a fractured hand cannot be prevented. Yet these pointers could provide some security.

To develop sturdy bones −

  • Have a balanced diet that includes enough calcium and vitamin D

  • Take part in weight-bearing activities like brisk walking

  • If you're a smoker, get rid of the habit

  • Avoid falling

When someone falls forward into an outstretched hand, hand fractures might happen. To avoid this frequent injury −

  • Put on practical shoes.

  • Take out any throw rugs or other items in your home that you may trip over.

  • Brighten up your home.

  • Get your eyes examined and, if necessary, corrected.

  • Put grab bars in the restroom and handrails on the stairs.

  • If at all possible, stay away from slippery areas, such as pathways coated with snow or ice.


Many bones make up the hand's structural support system. The muscles that move the wrist and fingers join to this frame at this location. When a bone is subjected to enough pressure to break it, a fracture results. This results in discomfort, edema, and limited use of the affected area.

Many individuals mistakenly believe that a fracture and a break are two separate things. If the bone fragments are solid and aligned, fractures may be easy to heal. Some fractures are prone to displacement or shifting of the bone pieces. Some bone fractures shatter the joint surface, while others damage the bone's shaft (main body).

Comminuted fractures, in which the bone is broken up into several fragments, typically result from high energy forces and are frequently unstable. An exposed bone fragment causes an open (compound) fracture when it pierces the skin. Infection is a possibility with complex fractures.

Hand fractures occur often. A fracture may result in discomfort, stiffness, and a loss of mobility. While many fractures do not result in visible deformities like crooked fingers, other fractures do. The hand could still be stiff and feeble after the fracture heals because of the strong connection between bones and ligaments and tendons. Joint surfaces that are broken may develop early arthritis as a result of the fracture.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha


Updated on: 13-Mar-2023


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