St. Louis Hand Injury Attorneys
Fractures of the hand are a relatively common injury, often occurring during a crushing injury or blunt injury occurring during an automobile accident. Fractures can occur by different mechanisms:
- Axial load or "jamming" – a large force is applied to a fist, such as when hitting a wall, that cause the bones to compress and fracture; it also can result in a shearing force between bones within a joint causing small fractures within the joint
- Bending – a force applied to one end of a bone but not the other may cause the bone to "bend" and fracture along the middle
- Crushing – a large force with a very heavy object can crush multiple bones within the hand resulting in a comminuted fracture (a bone broken into multiple pieces)
With any long bone fracture (arms, hands, fingers, legs, foot), there are multiple classifications to describe the injury and it is these descriptors that guide the mainstay of treatment for the various hand injuries.
- Open or closed – open signifies that part of the bone has broken through the skin; closed has not
- Comminuted, transverse, spiral, or vertical split – comminuted means multiple pieces; transverse signifies the fracture is perpendicular to the bone; spiral means the fracture extends up or down the bone in a spiral fashion; vertical split indicates the bone is fractured down the middle, as if it was being split into two
- Extraarticular or intraarticular – "extra"-articular means the fracture did not involve a joint; "intra"-articular means the fracture extends or is located within a joint
- Stable or unstable – stable signifies that the bone pieces are still aligned and are not at great risk of moving; unstable indicates that the bone is not aligned or that the bone pieces will need to be "fixed" together with metal hardware to keep them in the right place as it heals
Symptoms and Treatment
As with any fracture, breaking your hand will cause a great deal of pain. There will most likely be some immediate swelling around the area.
Treatment for an open fracture:
- The wound will be cleaned thoroughly and surgery will be required
Treatment for a stable, closed fracture and an extraarticular fracture:
- A splint or cast will be used to immobilize the injured finger/hand while it heals
- After approximately 3-4 weeks, the doctor may recommend starting some gentle, small exercises to prevent the hand from becoming stiff and difficult to move
Treatment for a transverse, spiral, or vertical split fracture:
- Depending on the location, most of these injuries are stable and can be splinted
- If they are not aligned properly, surgery will be needed to place a pin and hold the bone in place while it heals
Treatment for a comminuted fracture:
- Surgery will be required and a plate will be used to hold the multiple pieces in the correct alignment while the bone heals
Treatment for an intraarticular fracture:
- Surgery is typically needed to properly align the bones as well as smooth the surfaces of the joint to decrease the risk of developing traumatic arthritis later in life
With any fracture, there is always a risk of the bones not healing properly, especially as we age. However, the majority of individuals have a good recovery. With any traumatic bone injury involving a joint, there is a risk of developing arthritis at an early age.
Exceptional Legal Representation
As a victim of hand fracture caused by negligent conduct, you may be able to hold the negligent party responsible for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and decreased quality of life. Call Page Law at now to learn more about how we can protect your legal rights.