Broken Hand vs. Sprained Hand

Hand injuries of any scale are some of the most difficult situations to deal with, be it a sprain, a fracture or anything in-between.

While it is important to seek immediate attention from a qualified hand pain physician when you have sustained a hand injury, it is equally important to be able to tell the difference between a broken hand and a sprained hand in order to know what to expect.

Distinguishing between a fracture and a sprain can be difficult, as both injuries share very similar symptoms. They can be some of these listed:

  • Severe pain – increased when making a fist or lifting an object.
  • Swelling – not only in the hand but potentially the fingers and/or wrist.
  • Bruising – typically in the affected area.
  • Stiffness, numbness, or complete inability to move the hand.

The key difference here is the severity of the symptoms, which may be too subtle for the untrained eye, but is still a good starting point for self-diagnosis. Furthermore, if you do not have immediate access to a doctor and the symptoms do not lessen within 2 or 3 days, you are likely experiencing symptoms of a fracture. If you’re reading this article, we recommend you book an appointment with Coastal Orthopedics, and we will get you in to see one of our hand pain specialists as soon as possible. Having a plan in place for treatment is key!

Whether you have a broken hand or a sprained hand, your doctor will recommend one of the following treatment plans:

Cease All Physical Activity

Ceasing all physical activity that can further aggravate the injury is a step in the right direction. While an aggravated sprain will typically only increase the pain, an aggravated fracture may lead to permanent damage.

Immobilize the Hand

Immobilizing the hand with a splint for the injury to heal on its own will be helpful. This works for the majority of sprains and for minor fractures. You may also be required to work on strength and range of motion in physical therapy.

Surgery as an Option

Surgery is typically the only option for serious fractures as well as sprains, as the bones must be set into the proper position and secured with pins or wires to promote healing. But don’t worry, a comprehensive examination should be completed prior to any booked surgeries.

What should I do if I have a hand injury?

To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of hand injuries or even wrist injuries, contact us at Coastal Orthopedics today! Our regional Bradenton and Sarasota hand pain physicians are always available to provide an immediate and highly accurate response to any hand injury that may befall you.

Coastal Orthopedic’s hand pain physicians are board-certified and have an excellent following. You can read patient testimonials online to learn more about Coastal’s medical practices and treatment styles.

If you have a broken hand or a hand sprain and would like to make an appointment online, you can request an appointment here. Before your appointment you can fill out all new patient paperwork, which can help facilitate quicker, more efficient office visits. Did you know we have multiple locations?

For fun trivia, events and more about our expert physicians, visit Coastal Orthopedics on social media today!