Arms and hands include many delicate bones that can fracture (break) or become dislocated. Hand, wrist, and elbow fractures and dislocations can occur at any age. It’s important to take steps to maintain bone density as you age to help avoid the pain and loss of function associated with broken bones.
Depending on the severity of your injury, your treatment may be simple or complex. Get the care you need for your hand, wrist, or elbow fracture or dislocation in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals. To learn more about your treatment and recovery options, Find a Doctor or call (702) 616-4900.
Hand, Wrist, & Elbow Fracture & Dislocation Symptoms
Perhaps the primary symptom of a fracture or dislocation of a bone in the arm or hand is pain. Breaking a bone (fracture) or dislodging it from its joint (dislocation) causes immediate, intense pain. Other possible signs and symptoms of hand, wrist, and elbow fractures or dislocations can include:
- Inability or difficulty using the limb
- Visible deformity of the limb
For some injuries, point tenderness may be the only acute symptom.
What Causes a Hand, Wrist, or Elbow Fracture or Dislocation
Trauma causes most hand, wrist, and elbow fractures and dislocations. Whether the trauma results from an auto accident, a fall, or a collision while playing sports, these forceful impacts can cause a bone to break or come out of joint. Certain factors increase your risk of experiencing a hand, wrist, or elbow fracture, including:
- Medical conditions that affect your sense of balance or make you prone to falling, including multiple sclerosis
- Engaging in contact sports or activities with a high fall risk, such as ice skating
- Smoking, which contributes to osteoporosis
- Medications that can reduce bone density, including common drugs like proton pump inhibitor antacids, anticoagulants such as warfarin, and loop diuretics (“water pills”)
- Poor bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
Treating Fractures & Dislocations
Treatment strategies for hand, wrist, and elbow fractures and dislocations focus on relieving pain, repairing bone and supporting tissues, and restoring functionality. The precise treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture or dislocation as well as your overall health.
A simple broken arm may involve wearing a cast for six to eight weeks, followed by minimal or no physical therapy. A complex shoulder fracture that involves multiple broken bones and torn ligaments, on the other hand, might require surgery followed by weeks of physical therapy. A dislocated pinky finger usually can be put back into place easily without any follow-up care, whereas a dislocated elbow might need surgery to repair it.
You can help prevent fractures by:
- Getting a bone density scan if you are a woman over age 65
- Wearing protective gear while participating in sports or activities
- Exercising regularly
- Reviewing your medications periodically with your doctor to ensure they are appropriate and not affecting your bone health
- Quitting smoking
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals provides care for hand, wrist, and elbow fractures and dislocations in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.