Hand Fractures

What is a Hand Fracture?

A hand fracture is a broken metacarpal bone of the palm of the hand or a broken phalangeal bone of the fingers of the hand. The metacarpal bones along with their corresponding fingers are described by roman numerals with the thumb being I, and the pinky finger being V. The phalangeal bones are further described by the segment of the finger. The finger bone closest to the palm is the proximal phalanx, the middle phalanx is of course, in the middle, and the distal phalanx forms the finger tip. In the thumb, or first finger, there is only a proximal and distal phalanx.

These bones are all small and delicate. Our hands and fingers are arguably the most used bones in our bodies. It should come as no surprise, then, that hand fractures are the most common type of fracture. Any of these bones can sustain an injury and fracture.

What causes a Hand Fracture?

Hand fractures are almost always traumatic injuries. Either the hand strikes an object, the hand sustains a direct blow, or something is dropped onto the hand resulting in a crush-type injury. A twisting injury can also occur. Occupations involving manual labor and contact sports are highly correlated with hand fractures. A fracture of the metacarpal head is known as a Boxer’s Fracture.

What are the symptoms of a Hand Fracture?

A hand fracture presents with pain and swelling around the location of the fracture. If the fracture is displaced, the hand may appear deformed or a finger may appear shortened. It may be impossible to bend a finger, or the position of the bent finger may be awry. In a Boxer’s fracture a knuckle may appear out of alignment. In an open fracture of the hand, the ends of the bone poke out through the skin.

How is a Hand Fracture Diagnosed?

A careful history and thorough physical exam documenting the nature of the injury and the circumstances under which it occurred is essential for the medical record. X rays will usually suffice for the diagnosis of the hand fracture although CT or MRI may be indicated for more severe fractures.

How is a Hand Fracture Treated?

Because of the importance of preservation of function of the hand, all finger fractures should be referred to a hand specialist for treatment.


In the emergency department, once a finger fracture is diagnosed it is usually splinted, pain medication is given, and a follow up appointment with a Hand Surgeon is given.

If the bones of the finger or hand are not displaced, the hand can be placed in a cast to immobilize it for 3-6 weeks while the bones heal. If minimal displacement is present, closed reduction can be attempted followed by placement of a cast. Hand therapy will usually follow to help the hand return to its full function.


If the bones of the hand or finger are displaced, if tendons or blood vessels have been severed, or if an open fracture is present, surgery will be needed to repair the injury and give the best chance of a full recovery. Pins, plates, and screws can be used for internal fixation of the bones depending on the type of fracture sustained. Once the bones have healed Hand therapy will be prescribed to ensure proper return to health.

How can Dr. Knight help you with Hand Fractures?

Fractures to the hand can be traumatic and frightening injuries, which may have lasting effects to the mobility and function of the hand, so it important that you seek out the best care possible when having one treated. In his years of practice, Dr. Knight has trained extensively on the repair of fractures, and has treated an untold number of them, so that his experience lends him great skill and understanding of the problems that can arise as a result of fractures. If you want to be treated quickly, efficiently, and with skill, then Dr. Knight is the doctor for you.


Dylan Fait

Dr. Knight saved my career! Thanks to Dr. Knight and his staff for the excellent treatment and care now I am able to lifeguard again with full motion of my right hand. Dr. Knight was able to see me the day I was told I needed to see a hand specialist and that I has broken my right hand. I was in surgery within three days and on my way to a quick and fast recovery. Now I am back to work and feeling amazing!!!

If I ever need treatment I will definitely be seeing Dr. Knight. Thank You!!!

Dylan Fait, Lifeguard


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HandAndWristInstitute.com does not offer medical advice. The information presented here is offered for informational purposes only. Read Disclaimer