March 6, 2017

How do I know if my hand is broken?

Hand, Wrist and Elbow


Hand fractures can occur in either the small bones of the fingers (phalanges) or the long bones (metacarpals). They can result from a twisting injury, a fall, a crush injury or direct contact in sports.

Broken hand symptoms

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Deformity
  • Inability to move the finger
  • Shortened finger
  • Finger crosses over its neighbor when making a partial fist
  • Sunken-in knuckle hand

Physician examination

To see if you have a fractured hand, a physician will check the position of the fingers and the condition of the skin. The exam may also include some range of motion tests and an assessment of feeling on the fingers. This ensures that there is no damage to the nerves. An X-ray may be used to identify the location and extent of the fracture.

Make an appointment with a hand, wrist or elbow specialist


Most of the time, a broken hand can be realigned without surgery. A splint, cast or brace is usually applied to immobilize the bones and hold them in place. The cast will probably extend from the fingertips down the wrist almost to the elbow.

After ten days, X-rays may be taken to ensure that the bones have remained in proper position. After three to six weeks of wearing the cast, hand exercises will be used to strengthen the hand and regain range of motion and grip strength.

Some hand fractures will need surgery to realign the bones. An orthopedic surgeon can implant wires, screws or plates in the broken bone to hold the pieces of the fractured bone in place.


Most patients need guided hand therapy to reach full recovery overtime. Recovery time varies based on the type of fracture.

Relieve pain from hand, wrist or elbow injuries

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no appointment is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

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