Fractures And PT Go Hand In Hand

A hand fracture is when a break in a bone in the hand occurs. Hand fractures are common injuries that can cause significant pain and discomfort. This injury can happen due to a fall, direct impact, or other trauma. Most people will experience a fracture while playing sports or as a result of a car accident. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the affected hand. Based on the extent of the injury, a doctor will recommend physical therapy (PT) to restore strength and flexibility.


Diagnosis and treatment

When a hand injury occurs, a doctor will conduct an examination, take an x-ray, and assess the extent of the fracture. From there, the treatment plan may involve immobilizing the hand using a cast, splint, surgery, or a combination. Treatment for a hand fracture varies based on injury severity. Sometimes, a cast or splint is used to immobilize the hand to promote bone healing. In severe cases, surgery may be required to fix the fracture. Both will need several weeks for the bones to heal and for the patient to no longer feel pain. Irrespective of the treatment approach, physical therapy plays a crucial role in recovery.

The role of therapy

Hand fracture physical therapy helps restore mobility and strength while preventing long-term complications, such as decreased range of motion (ROM) and stiffness. Physical therapy may include a variety of techniques, such as stretching, strengthening exercises, and manual therapy. Pain management is also necessary, using medication and massage as needed. A physical therapist can work with an individual to develop a personalized treatment plan that includes exercises and activities that help improve the person’s hand function.

When to start PT

The timing of when to start physical therapy after a hand fracture can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the treatment method used. Ideally, PT should be started as soon as possible to help prevent stiffness and muscle weakness. However, some patients may need to wait until the bones have healed enough to allow for the safe movement of the hand.

With or without surgery

If a cast or splint was used to immobilize the hand, PT can usually begin once the cast or splint is removed. This usually takes around 4-6 weeks but can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Follow the advice of a healthcare professional and physical therapist when deciding when to start physical therapy. If surgery is required to repair the fracture, the timing of PT will depend on the type of surgery performed. Physical therapy may sometimes begin as soon as the day after surgery. In other cases, the patient will need to wait a few weeks for the incision to heal.

All about timing

The ideal time for starting physical therapy after a hand fracture depends on various factors, such as the severity and location of the fracture, the type of treatment received, and the individual’s overall health and recovery progress. Patients must follow the advice of a healthcare professional and work closely with a physical therapist to determine the most appropriate timing and approach for rehabilitation. With proper care and attention, individuals can expect to regain function and return to normal activities after a hand fracture.

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