A broken hand is never a condition to be taken lightly. Given we rely so heavily on using our hands, even a slight loss of function can result in a lifelong disability. Finding hand pain relief from a broken hand often requires a visit to a doctor and possible rehabilitation care.
The Hand Structure and How it can Break
A human hand, made up of 27 bones, is quite complex and can be broken down into several categories:
- The carpal bones, eight in all, are the bones found in the wrist.
- The five metacarpals are located within the palm of your hand and are connected to the carpal bones.
- The phalanges are the small bones that form the fingers of the hand. There are 14 in total, with two phalanges in each thumb and three in each finger.
In addition to the 27 hand bones, there are the knuckles, which are known as the metacarpal-phalangeal joints. Also in the hand are the PIP and DIP joints. The PIP joint, or proximal interphalangeal, is the joint closest to the palm, and the DIP joint, or distal interphalangeal joint, is the closest joint to the fingertips.
The hand does not break easily, but it can occur due to improperly using tools, blunt trauma, falls, crush injuries or sports injuries. Tennis, baseball and softball players are predominantly at risk of injuring their hand.
Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of a Hand Injury
Due to the intense nature of a hand injury, the symptoms are not difficult to spot. Signs that you’ve broken your hand include difficulty gripping or moving the hand, swelling, pain, bruising, weakness or misaligned fingers.
The most important thing to remember about a suspected hand injury is that if left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to bones, joints, nerves and tendons. That is why it’s so important for a doctor to take an X-ray, examine the hand immediately and determine the best course of treatment. Treatment depends on a variety of factors, from location of injury to length of time between injury and treatment. Hand pain relief can usually be achieved with medications and, in some cases, with surgery.
Preventing Hand Injuries
The vast majority of hand injuries can be prevented. Below are some tips on how to prevent a hand injury:
- Wear appropriate hand and wrist guards when playing certain sports to ensure proper protection of your hands.
- Be cautious when playing ball sports, such as football, baseball or tennis, as these sports are more likely to cause hand injuries.
- Wear correct protective equipment when there is a risk of a hand injury while working.
- Avoid punching, hitting or slamming your hand in expression, as many injuries can be inflicted this way.
- Seek immediate medical attention for any symptoms that may be related to a hand injury.