A severed hand is painful, but not life-threatening. If the rest period is bad enough, you can lose function or even part or all of your hand. So a serious hand injury won’t kill you, but it shouldn’t go untreated.
Symptoms of broken hands
Symptoms of a broken hand are similar to those of other fractures and include:
- pain or tenderness
- Unable to move (no rest needed – just because of one hand were able Moving doesn’t mean it’s not broken)
There are many conditions that can cause hand fractures, but most hand fractures result from three different injury mechanisms:
- Break a fall with an outstretched hand
- Crash the car or bicycle while holding the steering wheel or handlebars
- Punching hard surfaces
In most cases, a hand fracture is a fracture of the metacarpal bone, the bone that connects the base of the finger to the wrist. These are the bones of the palm. In some cases, it refers to a fracture of the phalanx (phalanx), with or without dislocation.
What to do if you think your hand is broken
You might be surprised how many people are injured in exactly the same way while trying to rescue their wounded comrades. Anything that hurts your partner’s hand (or one of your hands) can hurt yours (or your other hand).
- If the fingers of the injured hand are cold or blue, call 911 immediately.
- If the hand is deformed, do not straighten it – keep it where it is found.
- Bend the fingers loosely around a soft object (such as gauze) to stabilize the hand in the functional position. Use padding to keep it in place.
- Put ice cubes on the wound. Never put ice cubes directly on the skin – make ice packs. A little water in the ice pack will help it conform to the shape of the injury.
- After holding the ice cubes in your hands for about 20 minutes, remove them for 20 minutes.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen can help relieve pain. To reduce the risk of Reye’s syndrome, do not give aspirin to children under the age of 19.
- Raise the hand above the level of the heart to reduce swelling.
If 911 is not called, seek medical help for further pain relief and further evaluation of the injured hand. An ambulance may not be required, but ambulances in many areas can provide additional pain relief.
An X-ray is required to diagnose a severed hand. There is no other way to tell if the hand is broken. It’s impossible to diagnose a hand fracture just by looking at the hand for swelling, bruising, or lack of function.
Most severed hands require some form of immobilization to heal properly and restore full function to the hand. The most common type of fixation is internal fixation, which uses surgery to pass a needle through or place wires around various bones to hold everything in place.
Fractures of the hands and fingers can also be treated without surgery, as long as they remain properly aligned long enough to heal. This can be done with a hand or finger splint.
During immobilization, doctors usually treat the pain with medication. Once the fracture is fully healed, you may have to use physical therapy to restore function.
Other fractures require different special treatments, depending on the location of the fracture.
There are 19 bones in each hand (excluding the wrist), which means there is a high chance of fractures. About 10% of all injuries seen in emergency departments are broken hands and fingers.Because of the high potential for injury and the high potential for loss of function, be sure to have your hand checked by a doctor if you think your hand may be broken.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your hand is broken, can you still move your fingers?
If you can’t move your hand or fingers after an injury, you most likely have a broken bone. Depending on the fracture, you may still be able to move your finger. The ability to wiggle your fingers doesn’t mean your hand isn’t broken.
What are the symptoms of a broken hand?
If your hand is broken, you may experience pain, tenderness, swelling, discoloration, deformity, and inability to move your hand or fingers. You may not necessarily experience all the symptoms of a broken bone.
What are the most common fractures of the hand?
Of the 27 bones in the hand, the fifth metacarpal — the long, thin bone that supports the little finger — is the most likely to break. Also known as a boxer’s fracture, a fifth metacarpal fracture is usually caused by punching or hitting an object with a closed fist.
How long does it take for a broken hand to heal?
Fractures in the hand often take a month or more to heal. Most stable fractures heal within four to six weeks, but more complex fractures may take longer. Broken hands usually require a cast, brace, or splint for three to six weeks. If surgery is required, it may take longer to heal.