How to Know if Your Hand, Finger, Arm or Wrist is Broken

During this time of challenging “social distancing” we are all trying to limit unnecessary trips out of the house. But, accidents can still happen at home – and then patients’ are then faced with the decision of whether their injury needs medical care – or can be treated at home.

During the COVID-19 quarantine we have received calls from patients wondering whether they are suffering from a broken bone (fracture) – and whether they should come into the office.

If a bone is indeed broken – in the hand, finger, arm, wrist, or anywhere on the body – obtaining medical treatment is crucial. Having the broken bone “set” by a doctor ensures that the bone heals properly – and that the patient is not permanently left with pain or deformity.

In this article renowned hand surgeon Dr. Rehman discusses how to identify a broken bone in the hand, finger, wrist, foot or toe.

How to Know if You have a Broken Finger

The symptoms of a broken finger can include one, more or all the following: pain (from dull to severe), swelling and tenderness (from mild to severe), limited range of motion, and in some (but not all) cases bruising.

Remember, the absence of extreme pain does not necessarily mean that the bone is not broken.  However, if the finger looks misshapen or appears to be “out of alignment” there is a very high chance it is broken.

A jammed finger is often confused with a broken finger. A jammed finger is an injury to one of the joints in the middle of the finger, where it bends in half (proximal inter-phalangeal joint). A jammed finger may occur when then the ligaments are overstretched or strained when something causes the hands absorb too much force.

While a broken finger requires medical intervention, a jammed finger can hurt, but it is not usually a serious injury. If Dr. Rehman determines that you simply have a jammed finger, she can typically prescribe at-home treatments that can help the finger heal without complications…and without a trip to her office or the ER.

How to Know if You have a Broken Wrist

One way to determine if the wrist bone may have been broken is to observe the location of the pain. A major indication of a broken wrist is intense pain at the base of the thumb. Macomb Additionally, if moving the wrist and thumb area increases the pain, the wrist may also be broken. A broken wrist can also result in decreased range of motion, with movement of the wrist being limited.

Gripping or grasping objects may also be difficult or painful if the wrist is broken.Other indicators of a broken wrist include a known impact or injury (such as a fall) being followed by bruising and swelling of the affected area.

How to Know if You have a Broken Arm

A broken arm can be a fracture in any one (or more) of the three bones in the arm:  the ulna, radius and humerus. The most common cause of a broken arm is falling and “braking the fall” with an outstretched hand. Unlike the more delicate finger bones, it typically takes a great deal of pressure to break an arm bone.

If you heard a cracking, crunching or “snap” sound at the time of injury, there is a good chance that the arm or another bone is broken. Severe pain, that increases with movement, and “deformity” such as an unnatural bend in the arm or wrist, or inability to turn your arm from back and forth from palm up to palm down, are also strong indicators of a broken arm.

Other signs and symptoms of a broken arm include severe pain, swelling and bruising.

How to Know if You Have a Broken Foot

A broken bone in the foot is generally very painful and accompanied by swelling. Typically (though not always) the pain is so severe that the patient is not able to walk on it. However, broken bones in a toe generally is not as painful, so many patients may be able to still walk on a broken toe. Because the toes and feet are at the lower end of the body, bruising is very common with broken toes and feet – because gravity causes the blood to pool more so than in other areas.

Coronavirus Hand Doctor Video Appointments

If you are suffering from an injury or pain in your fingers, wrist, elbow or arm – and you think you may have experienced a broken bone or a sprain – contact board certified Oakland County hand surgeon Doctor Rehman for a comprehensive evaluation and consultation.

In many cases she can provide an initial video consultation to assess your injury, so that you do not have to leave your home during coronavirus (Covid-19) isolation. And, in cases where in-person examination is required, she will schedule a safe and socially-distanced examination in her Bloomfield Hills or Shelby Twp. office.

It is important to remember that delays in the diagnosis and treatment of a broken arm, finger, wrist, toe or foot can lead to poor healing, deformity and a lifetime of pain and/or limited mobility. So it is important to contact Dr. Rehman right away.

Of course, after hours or for any emergency medical condition, including excessive bleeding or swelling, call 911 or your local Urgent Care immediately.

Coronavirus Hand Doctor Video Appointments: