I Think my Hand is Broken- Now What?

We're happy to share insights from our doctors.

There are 27 bones in a human hand. When someone ‘breaks their hand’, it could mean one broken bone or multiple bone fractures. Because the hand is a complex system of bones, tendons, arteries, veins, nerves and muscles, a broken hand should be addressed by a hand specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

There are three major types of bones in the hand:

Carpal Bones

There are 8 Carpal bones. Two rows of carpal bones in the wrist connect to the ulna and radius in the arm.

Metacarpal Bones

Five metacarpal bones are in the center of the hand, between the phalanges of the fingers and the carpal bones.

Phalanges Bones

The 14 phalanges bones are the bones in the fingers. Each finger has three phalanges, with the exception of the thumb, which has two.

When your hand has been broken, one or more of these bones will be fractured, but you may also have damage to tendons, muscles or nerves that can inhibit the full use of your hand if not properly addressed. A hand specialist may use physical examination and advanced imaging to analyze the hand and extent of damage.

The complex system of tendons, muscle and bone enables the hand to grip tightly to heavy objects as well as manipulate a tiny bead or button. The hand can open, close and move in a variety of ways when it is healthy. A hand specialist will observe whether the broken hand can properly execute a variety of movements. These movements are called:

  • abduction (when fingers separate from each other)
  • adduction (when fingers move toward each other to ultimately touch)
  • flexion (bending fingers in)
  • opposition (when the thumb and finger move to touch each other)

The hand is a complex mechanism. In order to get the best possible outcome for a broken hand, a person should consult with a doctor that specializes in the hand. Not treating in a timely and appropriate manner can result in lifelong dysfunction and pain. If you need help with a broken hand, The Midwest Hand Surgery team is ready to help. Give us a call at (630) 359-6888 or click here to request an appointment.

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