Skip to main content

Understanding Fractures, Sprains and Dislocations

 

A fracture or “broken bone” mean the same thing. There are different kinds of fractures. Sprains are when the ligaments that hold joints together have been stretched and tear. A dislocation occurs when the bones separate at the joint.

Causes


Hand or finger fractures, sprains, and dislocations are usually caused by excessive force such as being hit by something or falling.

Symptoms


Hand fractures, sprains, and dislocations may have pain, swelling, bruising, or sometimes deformity on the hand or digits. These injuries are usually painful until they are healed. The child or teen may have difficulty with full motion due to the swelling and pain caused by the injury.

Who may be affected?


Any person, no matter their age can have a fracture, sprain, or dislocation. Most hand fractures take about 4-6 weeks to heal for the pediatric patient. However a sprain can be painful for up to 6-8 weeks. 

Diagnosis


X-rays (pictures of your bone) and a physical exam are the primary ways to diagnose hand fractures. Sometimes more detailed tests such as MRI are needed.  Sprains involve soft tissue and usually cannot be seen on x-ray, so are diagnosed by physical examination.

Treatment


Hand fractures, sprains, and dislocations, depending on the injury and location, may be treated with splinting, buddy taping, or casting. Some fractures may require surgery. Waterproof casts are often used for the pediatric patient to protect the broken bone as it heals. Casts help to prevent re-injury or delayed healing.  Limiting sports and strenuous physical activity such as PE and recess at school is recommended to allow for complete healing.