Man holding hand in pain

Hand Fracture

There are more than two dozen bones in your hand. If just one is fractured, performing everyday tasks can become difficult and painful.

Double board-certified surgeon Gregg A. Vagner offers advanced non-surgical and surgical techniques to treat hand fractures.

Discover the modern methods Dr. Vagner can use at his Austin, TX, practice to return full dexterity to your fractured hand.

The Human Hand: A Marvel of Complexly Engineered Anatomy

Double board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gregg Vagner details the numerous bones, joints, nerves, arteries, and tendons that exist in our forearms, wrists, and hands. A fractured bone can affect them all. If you have hand pain or problems moving your fingers, contact Dr. Vagner for a consultation at his Austin, TX, practice immediately. We have three Austin-area offices, including one in Cedar Park, Texas, to choose from.

An Overview of the Bones in Our Hands

Our hands have 27 bones each that serve as a framework for your muscles, tissues, nerves, and skin. They work together to promote proper hand function. There are three bone groups: 
 

  • Carpals
    Bones within the base of your hand that connect your hand to your forearm. Also referred to as your wrist bones.
  • Metacarpals
    Long bones within the middle of the hand that connect your carpals and phalanges. They are also responsible for the movement of your knuckles. Ten percent of all hand fractures occur in the metacarpals.
  • Proximal, Intermediate, and Distal Phalanges
    The phalanges are 14 bones that connect to each other and make up your thumb and fingers. Most hand fractures occur to these finger bones.
A diagram of the bones that comprise the hand

What Can Cause
a Hand Fracture? 

Having thin, fragile bones caused by osteoporosis can increase your risk of fracture. Other common risks include:

  • Falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Car accidents
  • Severe twists

Do I Need an Orthopedic Surgeon? Don't Hand Fractures Heal On Their Own?

It can, but these bones serve as a support system for the muscles within your wrist and fingers.

When a hand bone is fractured or broken (interchangeable terms), it can inhibit proper movement and cause severe nerve and tissue damage.

Without medical care, fractured bones may become misaligned as they heal. This can make simple tasks like typing or buttoning an article of clothing difficult or painful. 

Fortunately, Dr. Vagner has many years of experience and can use either conservative non-surgical treatments or perform surgery to ensure proper healing.

Restore Health and Dexterity to Your Hands Request a Hand Fracture Consultation With Dr. Vagner

You use your hands every day for all kinds of tasks and activities. When a hand is out of commission due to a fracture, your quality of life can suffer unless that hand properly heals.

Dr. Vagner's Austin, TX, practice only focuses on treating hand, wrist, and elbow issues. This means he may have more specialized experience treating hand fractures than other local orthopedic surgeons who also perform knee, hip, and spine procedures. Dr. Vagner is also a hand surgery consultant for the University of Texas' athletic department.

Make sure your hand heals and functions properly, whether you suffered an injury or were in an accident. Dr. Vagner offers effective non-surgical treatments and also performs advanced hand surgery when needed. Use our online form to email us with any questions or give us a call to request a consultation with Dr. Vagner today. 

(512) 454-4561

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Our Patients Appreciate Dr. Vagner's 5-Star Skills

1

Megan Boulette

2021

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Dr. Vagner is a very knowledgeable, personable, and caring professional who explains the medical issue, treatment options, and patient-approved treatment plan clearly, thoroughly, and respectfully. I would definitely see him again should the need arise.

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1

Dale Perry

2017

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Not only do Doctors save people, they also save people from killing themselves. Well done St. Davids staff. Plus they seemed genuinely glad to be there. Also, they treated my partner and my service dog with respect and love.

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Hand Fracture Symptoms

An injury or accident that breaks a bone can cause the following symptoms:

  • Swelling, pain, stiffness, or tenderness 
  • Hand deformity or shortened finger
  • Inability to move hand, wrist, or fingers 
  • Depressed knuckle
  • Tingling and loss of feeling within your fingers

Diagnosing Your Injury

Dr. Vagner will perform a comprehensive hand assessment at either our Cedar Park office or one of our Austin locations. This will determine if surgery or another kind of treatment is best to restore function to your hand. He can also rule out if a fractured wrist is affecting your hand functions. Dr. Vagner will check for: 

  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Bruising
  • Deformity
  • Cuts or lacerations
  • Overlapping of the fingers
  • Joint stability
  • Limited range of motion
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers

Our State-of-the-Art Technology

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Dr. Vagner will use the latest diagnostic imaging to determine the exact location of the break. An X-ray, CT (computed tomography) scan, or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan can detect if any adjacent nerves, tendons, and ligaments have been damaged.

Types of Hand Fractures

  • Stable Fractures
    When bone fragments are in alignment, it is referred to as a stable fracture. This injury is considered a minor fracture.
  • Unstable Fractures
    Bone fragments have shifted out of place. When this occurs, the pieces will need to be realigned before treatment.
  • Comminuted Fractures
    The bone has been shattered into several pieces. This severe injury requires significant repair.
  • Compound Fractures
    Bones have been shattered and they pierce through the skin. This significantly increases the risk of infection. 
Illustrations showing types of fractures
Dr. Vagner can repair all types of fractures, from simple to complex.

External Fixators

While internal fixators are contained beneath the skin, an external fixator serves as a stabilizing frame outside of the body. Small incisions are created in the skin and muscle near the fracture. Screws and pins are then inserted into the bone and attached to an external device for support. This type of treatment is often used when a patient has sustained multiple injuries and is not ready to undergo more extensive surgery.

Hand Surgery Recovery

You can expect to wear a splint or cast for several weeks after the procedure.

Dr. Vagner will supply you with a brace to help keep the hand elevated and will send you home with at-home care instructions to assist you with your recovery. He will carefully monitor how the break is healing through a series of follow-up appointments that will include advanced X-ray imaging. 

Small breaks, such as hairline fractures, generally do not require physical therapy. However, if joint stiffness is present following the initial healing period, Dr. Vagner will refer you to an experienced hand therapist. Hand stretches and exercises can greatly aid in your recovery.

The recovery timeline after a hand fracture can vary depending on your age and the complexity of your case. While children may heal as quickly as one month, adults typically require several weeks to several months. Dr. Vagner can tell you the average time it will take for your fracture to heal.

More High Praise for Dr. Vagner

1

Thiemer Family

2016

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Dr. Vagner is the best doctor! We have seen him for my son's broken arm. He took care of him, was so friendly and great to deal with. His staff was nice and friendly also. When my son sprained his ankle, I didn't know where to turn and contacted him. Even though this is not his specialty, HE took the time (like we were family) to refer us and asked many questions about my son's sprain. His referral, Dr. Ebert, was equally as qualified and we felt like we were given the best treatment we could have had!

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1

The Conk

2016

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Very Professional and Polite Surgeon. He was able to quickly meet us at Dell Childrens on a late Sunday afternoon after my son had a bad incident with a finger. While it looked really bad, he went to work quickly and managed to repair the damage and give my son access to his finger again. Hate to be in a situation like this, but so very happy that Dr Vagner was able to calmly guide us out of trouble.

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Gregg A. Vagner, M.D.

Gregg A. Vagner, M.D.

Dr. Gregg A. Vagner is a double board-certified surgeon specializing in hand, wrist, and elbow injuries. With three locations in greater Austin, TX, Dr. Vagner provides conservative care for:

To request an appointment with Dr. Vagner, please contact us online or call (512) 454-4561.

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