Did you know that your hand consists of 27 bones? Eight bones make up your wrist; five bones can be found within the palm of your hand; and there are 14 bones in your fingers. Together, these 27 bones allow us to carry out tasks with ease - everything from typing, to making a fist, to carrying a bag. When these bones experience trauma, however, we can lose this wide range of functionality.
That’s where we can help. Established in 2004, Pittsburgh Foot and Hand Center is a local resource and care center for those affected by wrist and finger fractures. Since 1987, Dr. Bowman has provided the latest in both nonsurgical and surgical orthopaedic treatment to those who benefit from it. From our cutting-edge electronic medical records to our use of the latest in imaging technology, our staff process and training puts the focus on providing consistent care to you that is 100% based on your symptoms and needs. If this sounds like the care that you need, you're invited to contact us online or at (724) 933-3300. We look forward to working with you and helping you find relief!
A fractured finger or wrist bone is not a minor injury. Normally, all of the bones in a healthy hand line up in a precise manner, allowing us to carry out specific functions (such as holding a pen) with ease. A fracture, however, throws this balance out of alignment. It leads to pain and stiffness and steals our ability to use our entire hand as we normally would.
Trauma to the fingers can cause one or more bones to fracture. Accidents such as having fingers slammed in a door, catching a ball the wrong way, or misusing power tools can be enough to cause a fracture. The stress of catching yourself during a fall may also cause a fracture.
Following a fracture of a finger bone, you may see swelling and experience bruising and tenderness near the break in the bone. Many patients also suffer from an inability to move the injured finger.
A physical examination, accompanied by x-rays, is necessary when evaluating a patient who may have a fractured finger. Imaging testing in particular will help your doctor determine your care needs. This is because bones can break in several ways: straight across the bone, in a spiral, into several pieces, or shatter completely. Addressing each specific break correctly is necessary for a full recovery.
Surgical and nonsurgical options can be used to address fractured fingers.
The best recognized nonsurgical care method is the use of a cast, which holds the finger in alignment while the fractured bone heals. Casts are typically worn for a three week time period, although each patient's recovery time varies.
If a patient suffered a severe fracture, however, they may need surgery to realign their shattered bones. In these cases, pins, screws, and/or wire will also be used to hand the fractured bone(s) together.
Fractures in the wrist can occur following a severe trauma, which can include falling down on an outstretched hand, falling from a ladder or bike, or being involved in a car or motorcycle accident.
As with other broken bones, a fracture in a wrist bone causes pain and swelling around the fracture site. Many people struggle to move their hand and wrist due to both the break and the pain it causes (although some are able to use their hand and wrist despite the break). Sometimes the fingers of the affected hand tingle or feel numb at the tips. In many cases, the wrist hangs in an odd or bent way as well.
As with fractured finger bones, a physical examination and x-rays are needed to evaluate a patient and create a clear picture of the damage to the wrist bones and tissues. Additional imaging texts, such as CT scans or MRIs, may also be used to evaluate the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves in surrounding the wrist (as these tissues may also be injured as a result of a bone fracture).
Treatment of a wrist fracture can vary from patient to patient, depending on factors such as the type of fracture they suffered; whether or not they injured their dominant hand; and even their overall health and lifestyle. In general, however, treatment options include:
Know that your doctor will always discuss your treatment options and help you decide on the one that makes the most sense for your health and recovery.
The Pittsburgh Foot and Hand Center will initially provide an exam and use imaging tools to get a closer look at your affected joints, bones, and tissues. Following a thorough review of your condition, we will make recommendations for treatment based on our findings. Where necessary, we can also prepare patients for any surgical procedures that will best address their condition.
Because every patient is different, specific questions about any diagnosis or surgery should always be discussed in-depth with your medical and/or surgical teams. That’s why we invite you to bring all of your questions to us during your visits, as well as by phone afterward if needed. We will gladly provide the information you need to make the right decision for your health needs.
In addition to Dr. Bowman’s expertise, our practice’s partnerships provide patients with the access they may need to additional care in the form of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and orthotists. Dr. Bowman - and, when needed, these partners - will constantly strive to provide a consistent and high level of nonoperative and postoperative care.