Advanced Physical Therapy


Hand Fractures

Hand Fractures account for one-third of all bone fractures. There are 27 bones of the hand. A fracture (break) can occur in any of those bones. The fracture can be simple (two fragments) or com-minuted (many fragments). The fracture can be closed (no break in the skin) or open (compound) where there is a break in the skin over the fracture. Fractures can be complicated by the involvement of the joints at either end of the bone (Intra-articular fracture). Fractures may occur as part of a more complex injury where there has been damage to other tissues such as tendons, nerves and blood vessels.

Fractures occur because a force is applied to the bone which is strong enough to break it. The site and pattern (shape) of the fracture depends on how that force has been generated and applied. 

The majority of the causes can be categorised into one of the following groups:

  1. Falls
  2. Sporting incidents
  3. Crushing
  4. Road accidents
  5. Violence (Fighting)

Signs and symptoms of a broken bone include swelling, tenderness, deformity, inability to move a finger, shortened finger, depressed knuckle, or a finger that crosses over its neighbor when making a partial fist. Fractures of the fifth bone (one that leads to the little finger) are commonly known as boxer’s fractures. A period of immobilization (casting/splinting) or surgery may be required to heal the bones properly.


Certified Hand Therapy Treatment Plan: After careful evaluation by the physical or occupational therapist, the first step in treating this condition is to restore range of motion and strength. Treatments may include paraffin wax bath, fluidotherapy and whirlpool, range of motion exercises, static or dynamic splinting, and grip/pinch strengthening exercises that will be added as tolerated. Occasionally a fracture splint may be ordered by the doctor and custom made by the therapist. This allows for gentle early range of motion and removal for showering.




After your initial prescription for therapy is completed, your physician and therapist will decide if you need to continue therapy or if you will be discharged to a home exercise program.


This information is provided as a learning resource for the benefit of our patients. It is NOT INTENDED to replace personal consultation with your medical professionals.

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