Hand fractures range from simple to complex. They can be small hairline fractures or chips that do not require surgery, to the most severe hand injuries requiring extensive surgery.
Whether it’s one finger or multiple fingers, the most important aspect of a hand fracture is knowing if it’s stable.
If you suspect a fracture due to a fall, slamming of your hands, or another incident, it’s important to go to urgent care or your orthopedic/hand surgeon to get an x-ray.
From there, you will know the extent of the injury and know if you need surgery or not. For some, a finger splint or some form of a cast can be tried if you are trying to avoid surgery.
In other more severe cases, it’s straight to surgery to realign the fracture and stabilize it.
Here’s the catch, though….HOW do you know that the fracture is stabilized? And WHEN can you start moving your hand?
After an injury, the amount of information and the shock of the injury can be so overwhelming to know what to do first.
Getting to the right certified hand therapist is key after an injury or surgery to get the best possible results.
But how do you know that you found the right person or that you are even allowed to get started in therapy?
Here are a few tips to look for when you are looking for a hand specialist:
Are they asking you about the DATE of your injury?
Knowing the date allows us to know how healed you are and when you are allowed to get started. Bones heal in the same way, and understanding how bones heal us as specialists to know when we are allowed to get moving.
Are they asking about how you sustained your injury?
This is important because based on the type of injury, the hand therapist would know what type of fracture you may had sustained. Injuries can have patterns. For example, if you punched a wall, the pattern of injury is called a “boxer’s fracture,” but if you fell on the side of your hand in a certain way, you can break the same bone – the 5th metacarpal, but in a different part. Treating would be different even if it is the same bone.
Are they asking you what you have done so far in your healing process?
I always want to know whether you had it cast, splinted, or had surgery and when you had surgery. With hand injuries, depending on the type and severity, there is a protocol that guides our thinking and problem solving to know when you are allowed to start moving because of how stable the fracture is.
After a fracture, it can be scary to think about hand therapy and moving your hand again because you are not sure you are “healed enough” or if it’s “safe” to do therapy.
If you or someone you know with a hand fracture and have these types of questions after your injury, give us a call and request to speak with our hand specialist.
Most people we talk first to think they have to wait or feel unsure about getting started. With only a few questions – we can help you get clear on what needs to happen next. We’ll be honest and let you know if you need to wait or if you are allowed to get started.
Request to speak with our therapist so we can help you get clear on what’s possible, no matter unsure you may be feeling.
If you are not sure what your doctor or surgeon told you, give us a call at Hands-on Therapy Services. We work with many of the hand surgeons in the area.
Written by Hoang Tran
About the author – Hoang Tran
Hoang Tran is a certified hand therapist , the owner of Hands-on Therapy Services and author of the book “The Hands-On Approach”. She loves helping people with hand, neck and shoulder problems, because she knows how bad and debilitating they can get if not addressed and treated properly (once and for all!).
The aim of her Miami occupational therapy practice is to bring patients back to full functionality, without pills, injections or surgery. Occupational and Physical Therapy are both offered at Hands-On Therapy by our experienced therapists who provide a comprehensive approach to your care.
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.