Hand and Wrist Fracture

Hand and Wrist Fracture

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Simple and complex fractures of the hand or wrist are treated by our hand and wrist specialists, who have the skills and experience to provide you the best possible healing. Our experts have developed some of the latest treatment approaches, including improved implants for better healing and devices for fractures of specific bones in the hand and wrist.

Duke Orthopaedic Clinics
Our hand and wrist specialists see patients at Duke Orthopaedic clinics in Durham and Raleigh. Find one near you.

Expert Care for Hand and Wrist Fractures

Bones in the hand or wrist can break during contact sports or from falls, especially if you fall onto your outstretched hand. Trauma such as a car accident can also cause severe hand or wrist fractures. Breaks can range from simple, stable fractures to complicated breaks in which the bone is shattered into many pieces. In some cases, a bone fragment can pierce the skin.

Our orthopaedic specialists treat the full range of hand and wrist fractures. Imaging, such as X-ray or MRI, is used to assess your injury and help us determine the best way to proceed with your care.

Visit Duke Orthopaedics Urgent Care
Our convenient orthopaedic urgent care locations in Durham, Apex, and Wake Forest are open seven days a week. Get fast service with no long waits and no unnecessary exposure to illness. No appointment needed; walk-ins are welcome.

Duke Hand and Wrist Specialists
Meet our hand and wrist specialists, view their profiles, and select the one that’s right for you.
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Nonsurgical Treatments

Many simple fractures can be treated without surgery. Nonsurgical treatments include:

Splinting and Casting

If your broken bone remains in alignment, a cast can hold it in position until it heals. You may start out with a splint for several days, until swelling subsides.

Closed Reduction

If your broken bone is out of place and your hand and wrist specialist can move the pieces to realign them without surgery, the procedure is called a closed reduction. You’ll receive medication to block pain during the procedure. In some cases, a sedative or general anesthesia may be used.

Occupational Therapy

Our hand therapists are occupational therapists with advanced training in hand, wrist, and elbow care. They provide personalized therapy to ensure you have the best possible recovery. Occupational therapy may be recommended regardless of whether or not you have surgery.

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Surgical Treatments

Surgery may be necessary for more complicated fractures. Our orthopaedic surgeons perform the following procedures.

Open Reduction

If you have a complicated fracture, surgery may be necessary to realign the bones. For an open fracture -- where the bone pierces the skin -- the soft tissue is cleaned and repaired.

Internal Fixation

Pins, plates, or other implanted devices may be used to hold the bone fragments together.

External Fixation

For some fractures, a stabilizing device outside the body is used to hold the bones together as they heal. This metal frame is attached to the bone with two or more pins that pass through the skin. It may be used along with internal fixation.

Bone Grafts

Some fractures heal better when new bone is grafted to the site of the break. The graft may be taken from your forearm or hip, or it may be donated bone called an allograft. The graft can stimulate new bone to form at the fracture and promote healing.

Why Choose Duke

We Treat the Full Range of Hand and Wrist Conditions
This includes injuries in amateur and professional athletes of all ages. Many come to Duke from other parts of the country for our expert sports-injury care. We often help patients who come to us after treatment at other centers has failed.

Advanced Care from Skilled Experts
Our hand and wrist surgeons are skilled in the most advanced surgical techniques for repairing injuries, correcting deformities, and restoring function. This includes wrist fusion and wrist replacement surgeries. Whenever possible, our surgeons offer minimally invasive procedures, which can reduce your healing time.

Specially Trained Hand Therapists
Occupational therapists who specialize in hand and wrist conditions are located right in our clinics. They provide customized therapy to help you recover from surgery as quickly as possible -- or avoid the need for surgery altogether.

We’re Innovators and Teachers
Our hand and wrist specialists have developed new treatment techniques and devices that are now used across the country. They’re also teachers who train the next generation of orthopaedic specialists in complex surgical procedures.

Duke University Hospital is nationally ranked in 10 adult specialties
Best Orthopaedic Hospital in North Carolina
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital’s nationally ranked orthopaedics program was named best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.
Reviewed: 05/04/2018