Broken Hand Or Wrist: Why Early Treatment Is Crucial

If you have a broken hand or wrist, seek medical attention right away as delay can lead to complications. If you can’t see a doctor immediately, avoid moving your hand and apply ice to reduce any swelling.

Fairview Rehab and Nursing Home offers outpatient and inpatient physical and occupational therapy in Queens, NY. If you have a broken hand, our friendly and skilled staff will set you on the road to a speedy recovery.

The information below is for educational purpose. Don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if you think you have a broken hand or wrist. Early treatment is important to avoid further complications, including persistent and chronic pain.

After a fractured hand diagnosis, some patients find it difficult to carry out tasks of daily living. You may have to do some tasks in a different way, and that’s where occupational therapy can help. Once the fracture is stabilized, gentle physical therapy can gradually improve mobility and recovery.

Nurse checking blood pressure of an elderly woman with broken hand and providing occupational therapy.

What Are The Symptoms?

If you have severe pain in your hand or wrist after an accident, see a doctor. There’s a good chance that after a fall or heavy blow, you could have a broken hand.

The most common symptoms are bruising, swelling, severe pain, tenderness, and difficulty moving your fingers. If you heard a snap at the time of the injury you most likely broke a bone. Crooked or disjointed fingers are another sign of a bone fracture.

If, after treatment, you feel new symptoms, or the pain does not go away, talk to your doctor again.

Treatment for fractures

Treatment for a broken hand may involve pain medication as prescribed by your doctor. Thereafter, the main aim of treatment is to get your hand to heal correctly. The doctor will first make sure all your bones are aligned correctly and then immobilize the hand or wrist. This is done using a splint, brace or cast, depending on the nature of the injury.

Some hand injuries involving a crushed bone or open fracture may require surgery. In most cases, however, surgery is not necessary. Your doctor will monitor progress by taking X-rays to ensure all the bones are healing correctly.

How long does a broken hand take to heal?

Recovery from a broken bone normally takes 3-6 weeks, and perhaps a bit longer if you are in poor health. Healing time will also depend on exactly which bone or bones you fractured. Other factors include the location of the break and how badly your injury is. The quality of physical and occupational therapy can also make a difference to recovery times.  

How can I exercise with a broken hand or wrist?

Talk to your therapist or doctor to find out when you can start exercising your fractured hand or wrist. Gentle hand therapy can begin after about three weeks, but exact timing will depend on your overall health. Physical therapists are used to dealing with broken hands or wrists and can give you the best advice.