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Broken Hand

Broken Hand Treatment Self-Care at Home

Generally, any hand injury-except for the most minor one-should be seen by a doctor. Simple first aid, however, can help prevent further injury.

  • Control any bleeding by placing a clean cloth or gauze pad over the wound.
  • As soon as the injury has occurred, apply ice to the injured area to decrease pain and reduce swelling.
  • Remove any jewelry immediately. The hand will swell dramatically, and jewelry will be almost impossible to remove after the swelling has started.
  • Contact your doctor, who will often refer you to an emergency department for diagnosis and treatment.
  • If the hand is obviously deformed, try to support the injured hand by placing it on a pillow and carrying the pillow with you to the hospital or doctor's office.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as directed on the label for pain.

Medical Treatment

Because of the complexity of the hand, treatment of hand injuries can become involved. The procedure is usually as follows:
 

  • The doctor will usually obtain an x-ray.
  • Your hand may be partially numbed by injecting the nerves at the wrist or at the base of a finger. Wounds will be carefully irrigated and explored.
  • Any cuts usually will be closed carefully (whether with stitches or other means).
  • You may be given antibiotics to keep the wound from becoming infected.
  • The injured part will be immobilized in a splint to hold it in a particular position.
  • You may be referred to a hand specialist (orthopedic or plastic surgeon).
  • You will receive pain medicine to use for several days after the injury.

Next Steps

Follow-up

After you leave the hospital or doctor's office, you can make your healing process as successful as possible by following this advice.
 

  • Read any instructions given to you by the hospital and ask questions about those that you do not understand. Several studies have shown that instructional material is often not read or incompletely understood.
  • If you are placed in a splint, do not remove it until you are told to do so.
  • Take the pain medicine recommended. Often, a hand injury will throb all night, keeping you awake.
  • Keep the hand elevated as much as possible. This will reduce pain and decrease swelling.
  • Keep your follow-up appointments and take all medicines as directed.

Prevention

The vast majority of injuries can be prevented.
 

  • To prevent hand injuries on the job
    • Look for hand hazards before an accident can happen.
    • Don't use your hands to wipe away debris in a machine, use a brush that is designed for that purpose.
    • Check your equipment and machinery before you start and after you finish. Be sure that it is in good operating condition.
    • Before you repair or clean machinery, be sure that the power is disconnected and follow all safety procedures.
    • Do not wear gloves, jewelry, or loose clothing when working near a machine with moving parts.
    • Wear the correct protective equipment-gloves, guards, forearm cuffs-for the work you are doing.
    • Be sure your gloves fit properly and are meant for the work you are doing.

  • Use appropriate safety equipment while playing sports to prevent or limit the extent of fractures.
    • Hand and wrist guards are appropriate when playing certain sports (rollerblading, lacrosse, hockey).
    • Sports that involve a ball (football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball) are more likely to cause hand injuries. Take special care when playing these games.
  • Practice household safety measures, especially with small children, to decrease the chances of all injuries, including those to the hands.
  • Get timely medical evaluation and treatment to prevent the long-term disability of a hand injury.
  • Avoid using your hands to punch, hit, or pound any objects in anger. Many injuries to the hands are self-inflicted in this manner.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

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