Fractures (Finger, Hand, Wrist, Arm)
Fractures are also known as broken bones and there are many levels of severity. Some types of fractures are simple fractures and others are more complex. Children’s fractures usually take 4-6 weeks to heal and adult fractures can take a bit longer (6-8 weeks). After a fracture occurs, there is a process that typically involves swelling and then bony reformation / deposits. It is also common to injure a joint, surrounding ligaments or soft tissues at the same time. A thorough assessment and scans can determine what else may have been injured in addition to the fracture allowing a more comprehensive plan to be developed. An untreated fracture can lead to delayed healing times and problems down the line.
Depending on the type of fracture, we can customise protective splints and supports to assist with immobilising your fracture and help the healing process. Sometimes gentle movement exercises are also needed to minimise stiffness. We review any recent X-rays and help make decisions about whether or not a surgical opinion is warranted.
Loading of the bone is important for strength and function and can be done in a gradual manner with a specific strengthening program. Permanent stiffness or chronic pain can occur if a fracture is not managed well soon after injury.
How Can Our Hand Therapists Help?
The later phase of bone healing or remodelling can last from months to years (LeStayo, Winters & Hardy, 2003).
LaStayo PC, Winters KM, Hardy M. (2003). Fracture healing: bone healing, fracture management, and current concepts related to the hand. Journal of Hand Therapy. 200;16(2):81–93