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Your hand consists of 27 bones: eight bones in your wrist (carpals), five bones in the palm of your hand (metacarpals), and 14 bones in your fingers (phalanges). The bones in a normal hand line up precisely, and they enable you to perform many specialized functions, such as grasping a pen or manipulating small objects in your palm.
Although the bones in the hand are small, a fractured hand or finger is not a minor injury. When you fracture a finger bone, it can cause your whole hand to be out of alignment. Without treatment, your broken finger might remain stiff and painful.
Generally, a fractured finger occurs as the result of an injury to the hand. You can fracture a finger when you slam your fingers in a door, when you put out your hand to break a fall, or when your finger jams while trying to catch a ball.
Conditions such as osteoporosis and malnutrition increase your chances of breaking your hand or a finger.
Signs and symptoms of a broken bone in the hand include:
If you think that you fractured a bone in your hand, immediately tell your doctor what happened and when it happened. Your doctor must determine not only which bone you fractured, but also how the bone broke. Bones can break in several ways: straight across the bone, in a spiral, into several pieces, or shatter completely. Your doctor may want to see how your fingers line up when you extend your hand or make a fist. Does any finger overlap its neighbor? Does the injured finger angle in the wrong direction? Does the injured finger look too short? Your doctor may order an X-ray to identify the location and extent of the fracture.
Most of the time, the bones in your hand can be realigned by manipulating them without surgery. A cast, splint or fracture-brace is applied to immobilize the bones and hold them in place. The cast will most likely extend from the fingertips down past the wrist, almost to the elbow. This ensures that the bones remain fixed in place. Depending on the type and severity of the fracture, you may need surgery to put the bones into alignment. Small devices, such as pins, screws or wire, will be used to hold your fractured bones together.