A fracture can be a painful thing. Fractures occur when a traumatic force is applied to the bones in the body and the bones are unable to tolerate the force, resulting in a break in the bone. Common causes of fractures include sports injuries, road traffic accidents, and falling. Fractures of the upper limb are most commonly caused by landing on an outstretched hand as you try to break your fall.
If you suspect you have suffered a fracture of the arm, elbow, wrist or hand, you must seek immediate medical care with your healthcare provider or hospital emergency department. Diagnosis of fractures is often done with the help of radiological investigations (e.g. X-rays, CT/MRI scans). Your specialist doctor will then recommend an appropriate treatment plan for you.
Upper limb fractures can be treated both surgically and non-surgically. Surgical interventions typically involve realigning the fractured bones during surgery and stabilising them with implants. Non-surgical treatment, on the other hand, involves aligning the fractured bones manually and immobilising the fractured upper limb in a cast, splint or brace for a period of around 6 to 8 weeks.
Fractures of the upper limb can benefit greatly from Hand Therapy, which usually starts after your specialist doctor deems that adequate healing of the fractured bones have occurred. The most common goals of Hand Therapy after an upper limb fracture include:
- Reducing pain and swelling
- Restoring normal range of motion, strength, and function in the upper limb
- Protecting the healing of the fracture
Here are some common fractures of the upper limb listed below: