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Home :: Hand Fracture, Carpal

Hand Fracture, Carpal

A complete or incomplete break in anyone of several bones of the hand.

BODY PARTS INVOLVED

  • Any carpal bone in the hand.
  • Wrist joint.
  • Any of the joints between the hand and fingers.
  • Soft tissue surrounding the fracture site, including nerves, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.

Causes

Direct blow or indirect stress to the bone. Indirect stress may be caused by twisting or violent muscle contraction.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Severe pain at the fracture site.
  • Swelling of soft tissue surrounding the fracture.
  • Tenderness to the touch.
  • Numbness and coldness beyond the fracture site if the blood supply is impaired.

Treatment

Follow your doctor's instructions. Instructions are supplemental.

  • Immobilization will be necessary. Rigid casts or splints are placed around the hand to immobilize the joint above and the joint below fracture site. After the cast has been removed, the hand needs protection with taping or with a leather gauntlet.
  • After 48 hours, localized heat promotes healing by increasing blood circulation in the injured area. Use a heating pad or heat lamp so heat can penetrate the cast.
  • After the cast is removed,use frequent ice massage. Fill a large Styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of foam from the top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area in a circle about the size of a baseball. Do this for 15 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day, and before workouts or competition.
  • Apply heat instead of ice if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments or ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available.

MEDICATION

Your doctor may prescribe:

  • Narcotic or synthetic narcotic pain relievers for severe pain.
  • Acetaminophen (available without prescription) for mild pain after initial treatment.

Home Diet

During recovery, eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity.

Prevention Tips
  • Use appropriate protective equipment, such as boxing gloves for boxing.
  • If you have had a previous hand injury, protect the hand with taping and padding when participating in contact sports.
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