Workplace Hand Fractures

Fractures occur when the bones in the hand and wrist are broken by impact from machines or tools, or by falling down and landing on the hand. These can be closed (no open wounds) or open (open wound near the broken bone ends).

Open hand fractures

Open hand fractures need to be operated on as soon as possible to clean the bone of all dirt and stabilize it. This decreases the risk of infection and allows early rehabilitation to prevent stiffness.

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Open fracture of little finger fixed with plate and screws

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Closed fractures of the hand

Closed fractures of the hand, if they are displaced or causing deformity, must be put back in the appropriate alignment and stabilized with metal wires, screws or plates to restore good function to the hand. This is best done within a few days of the hand injury, to allow early rehabilitation as soon as possible.

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Closed fracture causing little finger to turn inwards, fixed with plate and screws

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Fracture fixation

Fractures must be fixed properly by experienced hand surgeons with appropriate implants using the correct technique in order to avoid complications. Complications include long screws or wires preventing movement, bad alignment of fracture pieces, implants too large causing tendons to get stuck and preventing movement, and severe infections due to improper management of the skin and tissues. These can exponentially increase the cost of treatment and delay return to work.

Rehabilitation

Early rehabilitation with therapy to maintain the movement in the injured hand or wrist is vital to prevent stiffness that can delay return to work. Guided therapy sessions decrease swelling and pain and maximize the amount of movement safely without damaging the fracture fixation. These are tailored to the stability of the fracture and the amount of pain and swelling at each session, with close supervision by the therapist and input from the surgeon.