Common Hand Injuries in Kids

Hand injuries are common, especially in children. 

Curious fingers may get pinched or crushed, and active children are at risk for sports related trauma, whether individual, such as biking, skateboarding and snowboarding, or team sports like football and soccer.  Many of these injuries are very similar to those sustained by adults, but the structure of immature, growing bone is different from that of mature bone, and this is reflected in the injury sustained.

To help you get a better understanding of your child’s symptoms, we asked our experts at The Hand Center to share some of the most common types of hand injuries in children and explain how we treat them.

Strains and sprains 

Strains and sprains occur when a ligament or muscle in the wrist is stretched or partially torn. Children who participate in sports are more likely to strain or sprain their wrists, but these injuries can also occur from a fall.

Symptoms may include pain, swelling, and a reduced range of motion. We typically conduct an imaging test to rule out a fracture.  Injuries that in adults would lead to a ligament tear or dislocation will sometimes result in a fracture in children due to the relative strength of growing bones and ligaments. Treatment may involve rest and the use of a wrist brace.

Hand fractures 

Children break bones just as grown-ups do, and a fracture is a broken bone.

Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, obvious deformity and a loss of mobility.

The only way to definitively diagnose a fracture is by x-ray.

Some fractures are simple breaks, others may involve more fragmentation, though this is not commonly seen in children.  Their bone is intrinsically more flexible or resilient, thus less likely to shatter and more likely to bend or deform without breaking, like a green stick rather than an old dry one.

Some children’s fractures will involve the growth plate or “physis.”  The growth plate is a weak spot, and thus at risk.  Such “Salter Injuries” typically heal very fast, as the region is already engaged in the daily production of new bone for growth.  These injuries are also at potential risk of disrupting that growth process.  Thankfully this does not occur with great frequency, but a growth plate injury should be thoroughly evaluated and followed by a specialist.

Fingertip injuries

Fingertip injuries can occur when curious children play with heavy objects and squish their fingertips -- or when they get their fingers caught in closing doors.  Exercise equipment such as stationary bicycles and treadmills pose a particular hazard

Fingertips may be simply crushed, broken or partially amputated, and such injuries can be particularly painful and scary for the child and the parent.  Thankfully, children’s fingers typically heal remarkably well despite the severity of the injury.  That said, it is best to seek specialist evaluation and advice on treatment options.

Learn more about hand injuries in children

If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, get peace of mind by scheduling an appointment with us at The Hand Center. We serve patients at our four Connecticut locations: Bloomfield, Glastonbury, Tolland, Hartford.

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