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Hand Fractures Hand Therapy

“Working with a knowledgeable hand therapist can make the difference between success and failure in complex hand surgical cases. The therapist extends the continuum of our care, as well as functioning as coach and trainer for our patients.”

Marybeth Ezaki, MD, Past President, American Society for Surgery of the Hand

In Phoenix Rehab, our senior hand therapists are experienced licensed and dedicated therapists (physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists) who specialized ONLY in the rehabilitation, treatment and management of painful fingers, hands, wrists, forearm & elbow conditions, because of interest, passion and expertise.

A fracture is a break in any bone.

A fracture severity can range from

  • a tiny hairline crack in the bone that is stable to
  • a fracture into few pieces that is stable
  • a fracture into few pieces that has moved and possibly cut other structures such as tendons and muscles
  • a bone that has broken through the skin (called an open fracture)

There are 19 bones in the finger, thumb and palm of the hand. A fracture of any of these is called a hand fracture.

What are the symptoms of a hand fracture?

Fractures can cause

  • pain
  • throbbing
  • swelling
  • bruising, and the finger might look deformed or out of place

There will also be limited motion or inability to move the fractured finger and also the other fingers. There might be some numbness with the fracture if the tiny nerves running along the sides of the finger have been stretched or injured.

Finger fracture with swelling and bruising

What are the causes of a hand fracture?

Typically it's trauma or injury to the hand is the main cause of hand and finger fractures.

These injuries may occur from

A fracture occurs when there is enough force to break the bone, and usually will involve some form of primary and secondary damage to other structures in the same hand.

What is the treatment for a hand fracture?

If a fracture is suspected, the doctor will order an X-ray.

The results of the X-ray will determine what kind of treatment is needed.

Typically there are three main types of treatment to help fractured bones heal:

  • The first type is simple immobilization and protection
  • The second type is called a closed reduction in which the doctor sets or positions the fractured bone
  • The third type of treatment is called an open reduction in which surgery is performed and may include a pin, screw or plate to keep the fracture stable

What can a hand therapist do for me?

A hand therapist is extremely important in the rehabilitation of hand fractures.

Our senior hand therapist can fabricate a custom hand and finger splint orthosis that provides proper positioning and allows the fracture to heal.

Unfortunately due to the complexity, our fingers become stiff very fast, and our senior hand therapist can instruct the patient in safe exercises that will both treat AND prevent stiffness.

The best outcome after a finger fracture is to have a fully healed fracture with a return of full motion, strength and hand function, and this is usually achieved with consistent hand therapy with a senior and dedicated hand therapist.

Custom-made orthosis for a hand fracture

Patients may also receive the following hand therapy treatment modalities: