When it comes to hand injuries, there is a lot of confusion about what the difference is between a sprain and a break. In this blog post, we will clear up that confusion and help you to determine whether you have a sprain or a break. We will also discuss the treatment options for each injury.
A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments are the tissues that connect bones to each other. The most common type of hand sprain occurs at the base of the thumb, where the ligament is torn away from the bone. Symptoms of a sprain include pain, swelling, and bruising.
A break, also called a fracture, is a complete or partial break in a bone. Unlike a sprain, which only affects ligaments, a break can involve both bones and ligaments. The most common type of hand fracture occurs in the metacarpal bones, which are the long bones in the palm of your hand. Symptoms of a break include severe pain, swelling, and deformity.
If you have a sprain, it is important to rest your hand. This will allow the ligaments to heal properly. You may also need to use a splint or sling to immobilize your hand and reduce swelling.
Ice is an effective way to reduce swelling. You should apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
Compression can help to reduce swelling by applying pressure to the area. You can use an elastic bandage for this.
Elevation involves raising your hand above your heart. This will help to drain fluid away from the area and reduce swelling.
If you have a break, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Depending on the severity of the break, treatment may involve one or more of the following:
No matter what type of hand injury you have, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Only a doctor can properly diagnose your injury and recommend the best course of treatment. If you think you may have a sprain or break, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor today.
Dr. Chen sees patients at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, California. He is a board-certified Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Doctor that specializes in the non-operative medical treatment of a wide variety of various musculoskeletal conditions. Dr. Chen graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and went on to complete Pediatric residency training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (Rutgers), then went on to fellowship training in Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the perennially top ranked children’s hospitals in the nation. There he provided sideline coverage for NCAA Division I athletics at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (OH). Since graduating, Dr. Chen has continued his love of sports coverage by volunteering for the San Francisco Marathon, the San Francisco Giant Race, and as the team physician for Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. Being a part of The Center for Sports Medicine allows Dr. Chen quick access to a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physiatrists, and physical therapists to return you to your highest functional level quickly and safely. Click here to contact us for your next appointment!