The normal function of the hand, wrist, and forearm is crucial to your quality of life since we rely on our hands to perform so many tasks throughout the day. At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, our experienced hand surgeons perform thousands of surgeries each year, including surgery to treat complex fractures of the hand and wrist. We pride ourselves on offering the least invasive surgical options to allow our patients to recover quickly from surgery and return to their regular lives faster. Our specialists will always encourage non-surgical hand, forearm, and wrist treatment options when possible and recommend surgical options only when necessary.
What is hand, wrist, or forearm trauma?
Trauma refers to a direct blow or impact to a part of the body, which often results in a bone fracture or other serious internal damage to your ligaments and tendons. A traumatic injury to the hand or arm can cause severe pain, loss of dexterity, and inability to perform simple daily movements.
What are the causes?
Hand, wrist, and forearm trauma are most commonly the result of one of the following:
- Automobile crashes
- Motorcycle or bicycle crashes
- Sports-related injuries
- Fall from a height
What are the symptoms?
It is important to visit an orthopedic specialist if you are suffering from any of these common symptoms of trauma:
- Hand, wrist, or forearm swelling
- Bruising or discoloration in the area
- Inability to move the wrist joint
- “Pop” or “crunch” sound at time of injury
How is it diagnosed?
At the first signs of wrist, forearm, or hand trauma, it is important to speak with an orthopedic specialist. MedStar Orthopaedic Instituteis home to fellowship-trained experts in a wide range of hand and upper extremity conditions who have years of experience evaluating, diagnosing, and treating hand conditions. Your initial exam will likely include the following:
- Medical history evaluation – Your physician will discuss your medical history with you and any relevant prior hand, wrist, or forearm problems.
- Physical exam – Your doctor will evaluate the affected area and may ask you questions about where you are feeling pain or discomfort.
- Imaging tests – Your orthopedist will also likely conduct imaging studies to rule out a fracture and accurately diagnose your condition.
What are the best treatment options?
If you are experiencing a hand, wrist, or forearm injury that is mild, one or more of the following conservative treatment options may be recommended to help your injury heal without surgery:
- Cast or splint immobilization
- Ice to decrease swelling and pain
- Avoiding activities that cause pain or pressure on the affected limb
- Hand, wrist, or arm bandage/splint to add support
- Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
- Elevating the affected limb to reduce swelling (especially while sleeping)
If conservative options are unsuccessful or when the injury is more severe, our physicians at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute may recommend complex fracture repair of the hand and wrist.
If you believe you may be suffering from trauma to the hand, wrist, or forearm, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating hand, wrist, and forearm conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive trauma care in the Washington, D.C. area.