Hand Fracture

Renowned consultant for complex hand and wrist surgery at leading London teaching hospital, Guys and St Thomas'. Matthew James is Program director of the advanced hand surgery course.

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A fracture (break) can occur in any of the bones in the hand. The fracture can be simple (two fragments) or comminuted (many fragments). The fracture can be closed (no break in the skin) or open (compound) where there is a break in the skin over the fracture. Fractures can be complicated by the involvement of the joints at either end of the bone (Intra-articular fracture). Fractures may occur as part of a more complex injury where there has been damage to other tissues such as tendons, nerves and blood vessels.

The aim of treatment is to restore function to the hand as quickly as possible. There may be a number of people involved in your care as part of the Hand Surgery team. This includes doctors, nurses and hand therapists.

As a general rule fractures in the hand take 6-8 weeks to unite. The strength in the hand takes approximately 3-4 months to return to near normal levels. The fingers and thumb will often be quite stiff to begin with, after a fracture, but with exercise and use this problem gradually settles.


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