An individual with a broken hand is likely to have a metacarpal fracture. This form of injury involves bone at the level of the palm of the hand. There are 5 metacarpal bones, one for every finger. The metacarpal bones provide support to the hand while the tip of the metacarpal bone outlines the knuckle at the rear part of the hand.
Potential causes of a metacarpal fracture
A metacarpal fracture usually develops with various injuries such as the following:
- Vehicular accidents
- Sports injuries
- Assault or punches
What are the indications of a metacarpal fracture?
The usual signs and symptoms of a metacarpal fracture include pain and swelling of the affected hand. Even though bruising might not be seen right away, it might develop within a few days after the injury.
The individual will initially notice rigidity of the fingers and pain when forming a fist with the hand. The symptoms steadily improve as the healing process starts. In most cases, the fracture completely heals within 10 weeks, thus it is relatively normal to experience a certain degree of stiffness and swelling during that period.
Care for a metacarpal fracture
The management for a metacarpal fracture can be accompanied by casting. The cast is typically used for approximately 6 weeks and followed by mild motion exercises. In some cases, if the rigidity or stiffness becomes an issue after treatment, it is best to work hand in hand with a doctor.
There are a few scenarios in which surgery might be the suitable option. In cases where there are several fractures or open fractures on the hand, surgery is the ideal solution.
Possible complications of treatment
If an individual with a metacarpal fracture was treated non-surgically, there might be a bump on the rear part of the hand even if the fractured bone has been lined up perfectly. As the damaged bone heals, the excess bone often forms at the site of the fracture, thus the feeling of an extra bone is common.
The potential complications if a metacarpal fracture is managed surgically includes nerve injury, infection and the need for removal of the metal implants in the future.