Arm, shoulder and hand injuries

Fractures

What are fractures?

A fracture is commonly referred to as a broken bone. Typically it takes a bone six weeks to heal, however some of the smaller bones in your hand can heal more quickly at around three to four weeks.

It is extremely important for the bone to be immobilised with the correct alignment to allow for healing without any shortening or rotation of the bone.

A person holding their own fibreglass cast on the right arm

What may I experience?

What should I do?

The bone can be immobilised with a fibreglass cast, a splint or surgically by a k-wire or plates and screws (typically called an open reduction and internal fixation - ORIF)

If you are in a cast or splint, then it is important to move all the joints not fractured. Your therapist will give you these exercises to keep everything else working while the bone heals. Once your cast is removed, then you will be given strengthening exercises to restore movement to the injured bone.

If your fracture required plates and screws, you will have a wound and sutures to be removed at 10 days.  You then will be given advice to look after your scar with silicon, compression and massage.  Your therapist will give you exercises to do about a week after the surgery to help restore your range of motion and strength.  If you have had an ORIF then typically the hardware stays in your hand and you become used to it and don’t even know it is there.  Occasionally, however, the hardware may need to be removed.

Xray image of screws inside a bone

What can I expect?

During the first four weeks do not to lift anything heavier the 1kg.

Once the bone is healed, at 6 weeks, you can perform all everyday tasks.  If you need to lift heavy weights, or your job requires a lot of physical strength, then you will need to do strengthening exercises to regain your strength.

You should contact your car insurance about when you are able to drive, but it is not recommended to drive with a splint or cast on.

For more information and treatments options, get in touch with us.

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