Does my child have a hand fracture?

This is a common question we get from parents over the phone, and sometimes from our referring pediatricians.

 

Surprisingly, there are no good studies that have looked at what factors predict a child to have a fracture following an injury.  There are, however, several factors that we see frequently when children have fractures.

 

First, the pain that kids have is sustained (it lasts more than a few minutes) and it is localizable to a specific area on their hand. Second, often there is bruising, or ecchymosis as we like to call it in medicine, in the injured limb.  The child’s hand above shows subtle ecchymosis in the region of the small finger of the hand.

 

In cases where the fracture is displaced your child’s finger may look like it is aligned differently than the others.  Sometimes this is noticed only when he bends his fingers, which is a hard thing to get him to do when it hurts.

 

So, you are reading this at 5:30 PM on a Sunday evening after asking Google ‘How do I tell if my child’s hand is broken?’

Things that are suggestive:

  • Bruising
  • Funny shape to the affected finger
  • Pain at the site of the injury that persists

So when in doubt, please see your pediatrician or give us a call.  The answer is possibly ‘yes!’


This post does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on any web site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.