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How to fix broken hand: Broken Hand: Symptoms and Treatment

Broken Hand: Symptoms and Treatment

The bones of the hand serve as a framework. This framework supports the muscles that make the wrist and fingers move. When one of these hand bones is broken (fractured), it can prevent you from using the hand, wrist and fingers.

Many people think that a fracture is different from a break, but they are the same (see Figure 1). There can be different variations of a fracture, including:

  • Stable fracture, when the bone pieces are aligned
  • Unstable fracture, when there are bone fragments that have shifted
  • Comminuted fracture, when the bone is shattered into many pieces
  • Open (compound) fracture, when a bone fragment breaks through the skin. This causes risk of infection.

Figure 1

Examples of a broken hand, specifically the fingers

Figure 2

Examples of plates pins and screws used while a broken hand heals


A broken hand can occur when enough force is applied to a bone to break it.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of a broken hand can include:

  • Pain and stiffness
  • Difficulty moving the hand, wrist and/or fingers
  • Deformities such as a crooked finger (this is less likely)


Medical evaluation and x-rays are usually needed for your doctor to diagnose the fracture and determine the treatment. Depending on the type of fracture, your hand surgeon may recommend one of several treatment methods.

A splint or cast may be used to treat a stable fracture Some unstable fractures, in which the bone has moved, may need to be set and then held in place with wires or pins. This is done without surgery. More serious fractures may need surgery to set the bone and hold the bone fragments together with pins, plates or screws (see Figure 2).

Sometimes, bone may be missing or be so severely crushed that it cannot be repaired. In such cases, a bone graft may be necessary. In this procedure, bone is taken from another part of the body.


Sometimes, a bony lump may appear at the spot of the broken bone during recovery known as a “fracture callus.” This is normal, and the lump usually gets smaller over time.

Some problems you may have while your broken hand is healing include:

  • Stiffness
  • Shifting of bone
  • Infection
  • Slow healing

To increase your chances of a healthy recovery, do not smoke, and carefully follow your doctor’s instructions. Your doctor may recommend hand therapy to improve the process.

It is important to note that not all fractures completely heal. Because bones have such a close relationship with ligaments and tendons, the hand may be stiff and weak even after the healing process. Some fractures may lead to arthritis down the road. In addition, fractures in children occasionally affect future growth of that bone.

© 2016 American Society for Surgery of the Hand

This content is written, edited and updated by hand surgeon members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Find a hand surgeon near you

Broken Hand Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A broken hand happens when one or more bones in your hand break as a result of an accident, fall, or contact sports. The metacarpals (long bones of the palm) and the phalanges (finger bones) make up the bones in your hand.

This injury is also known as a fractured hand. Some people may also refer to it as a break or crack.

To be diagnosed as a broken hand, the bone must be affected — one of the bones may be broken into multiple pieces, or several bones may be affected. This is different from a sprained hand, which is the result of an injury to the muscle, tendon, or ligament.

If you suspect you have a broken hand, see a doctor immediately. They can diagnose and treat your injury. The sooner you get medical attention, the better your hand can heal.

The symptoms of a broken hand depend on the severity of your injury. The most common symptoms are:

  • severe pain
  • tenderness
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • difficulty moving fingers
  • numb or stiff fingers
  • worsening pain with movement or gripping
  • crooked finger(s)
  • audible snap at time of injury

Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell if your hand is broken or sprained. These injuries can cause similar symptoms, even though each one is different.

While a broken hand involves the bone, a sprained hand involves a ligament. This is the band of tissue that connects two bones in a joint. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn.

Often, this happens when you fall on an outstretched hand. It may also happen if a joint in your hand twists out of place.

A sprained hand may cause the following symptoms:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • inability to use the joint

If you know what injury caused your symptoms, you may be able to pinpoint what’s going on. However, the best way to know if your hand is broken or sprained is to see a doctor.

A hand fracture is caused by physical trauma, such as:

  • direct blow from an object
  • heavy force or impact
  • crushing of the hand
  • twisting of the hand

These injuries can happen during scenarios like:

  • motor vehicle crashes
  • falls
  • contact sports, like hockey or football
  • punching

If you think you have a broken hand, see a doctor immediately.

But until you can seek medication attention, there are things you can do to care for your hand. These include the following first aid procedures:

  • Avoid moving your hand. Try your best to immobilize your hand. If a bone has moved out of place, don’t attempt to realign it.
  • Apply ice. To reduce pain and swelling, carefully apply an ice pack or cold compress to your injury. Always wrap the ice pack in a clean cloth or towel first.
  • Stop the bleeding.

The goal of broken bone first aid is to limit further injury. It can also help minimize pain and improve your recovery outlook.

If you’re bleeding, you likely have an open fracture, meaning a bone is sticking out. In this case, go to the ER right away. Until you can get help, you can stop the bleeding by applying pressure and using a clean cloth or bandage.

Visit a doctor as soon as you think you’ve broken your hand.

It’s especially important to see a doctor if you have:

  • difficulty moving your fingers
  • swelling
  • numbness

Can a broken hand heal on its own?

A broken hand can heal by itself. But without proper treatment, it’s more likely to heal incorrectly.

Specifically, the bones might not line up properly. This is known as a malunion. It can interfere with the normal function of your hand, making it difficult to do daily activities.

If the bones are misaligned, you’ll need surgery to realign them. This can prolong the recovery process even further, so it’s important to receive the right treatment from the start.

To diagnose a broken hand, a doctor will use several tests. These include:

Physical examination

A doctor will check your hand for swelling, bruising, and other signs of damage. They might also examine the surrounding areas, like your wrist and arm. This will help them determine the severity of your injury.

Medical history

This allows the doctor to learn about any underlying conditions you may have. For example, if you have osteoporosis or a previous hand injury, they can understand what may have contributed to your injury.

If you recently been in a crash, they’ll ask about what happened and how your hand was injured.


A doctor will have you get an X-ray. They will use this imaging test to identify the location and direction of the break.

It can also help the rule out other possible conditions, like a sprain.

The purpose of treatment is to help your hand heal correctly. With proper medical help, your hand will be more likely to return to its normal strength and function. Treatment options include:

Cast, splint, and brace

Immobilization limits unnecessary movement, which promotes proper healing. It also ensures that your bones line up correctly.

To immobilize your hand, you’ll wear a cast, splint, or brace. The best option depends on your specific injury.

Metacarpal fractures are often difficult to effectively mobilize and will likely require surgery.

Pain medication

A doctor might have you take over-the-counter medication to control pain. However, if you have a more serious injury, they might prescribe stronger pain medication.

They’ll also recommend the appropriate dose and frequency. Be sure to follow their directions.


A broken hand usually doesn’t require surgery. But it might be necessary if your injury is severe.

You may need metal screws or pins to keep your bones in place. In certain cases, you might also need a bone graft.

Surgery is likely necessary if your injury involves:

  • an open fracture, meaning the bone has pierced the skin
  • a completely crushed bone
  • a break extending to the joint
  • loose bone fragments

Another common cause of surgery is if the bone is rotated, which can rotate your fingers as well and affect hand function.

You’ll also need surgery if your hand was already immobilized but didn’t heal correctly.

In general, broken hand recovery takes 3 to 6 weeks. You’ll have to wear the cast, splint, or brace during the entire time.

The total healing time depends on several factors, including:

  • your overall health
  • exact location of the break
  • severity of your injury

Your doctor might have you start gentle hand therapy after 3 weeks. This can help regain strength and decrease stiffness in your hand.

You may also be asked to continue therapy after your cast has been removed.

To monitor your progress, your doctor will order multiple X-rays in the weeks after your injury. They can explain when it’s safe to return to normal activities.

If you have a broken hand, a doctor is the best person to diagnose and treat it. They’ll have you wear a cast, splint, or brace to keep your hand still. This ensures that the bone heals correctly.

As you recover, take it easy and let your hand rest. If you experience new symptoms, or if the pain doesn’t go away, let your doctor know.

What to do if you break your arm? – useful articles from specialists

Neither adults nor children are immune from bruises, abrasions, dislocations and even fractures. The causes of injury can be excessive physical exertion, an accidental fall, a blow with a heavy object, an accident, and so on. If trouble has happened to you or your loved ones, there is a suspicion of a fracture, the first step is to determine the severity of the injury. You can’t do without the help of the medical staff. Any self-diagnosis is fraught with serious consequences.

Depending on the type of damage to the hand, there are two types of fracture:

  • Open – there is a rupture of tissues, skin, there is bleeding.
  • Closed – no bleeding, the skin remains intact.

When the integrity of one bone is broken, we are dealing with an isolated fracture. If there is a fracture of several bones, then we are talking about a multiple fracture.

Depending on the complexity of the injury, the absence or presence of displacement, the signs of a fracture of the hand may vary significantly. However, the presence of a fracture can be determined by specific signs.

Among its main clinical manifestations are:

  • severe pain;
  • hemorrhage;
  • swelling, edema at the site of injury;
  • crunching of bone fragments;
  • deformation of the injured area;
  • excessive mobility of the injured part of the arm or inability to move it;
  • fever;
  • pale skin;
  • nausea, dizziness;
  • coldness of the extremity.

If you have the above symptoms, be sure to call an ambulance or go to the nearest emergency room. An x-ray will help clarify the diagnosis. Having studied the picture, the doctor will be able to determine the nature of the injury, the presence of bone fragments, the integrity of the joint.

What should I do if I break my arm?

When an injury is accompanied by bleeding, first aid is needed on the spot. Any delay can lead to terrible results. Therefore, first of all, you should stop the bleeding, and then deal with the fracture. How to do it? Wash the wound with hydrogen peroxide, apply a gauze bandage to the damaged surface. In the presence of severe bleeding, it is imperative to apply a tourniquet (in winter for half an hour, in summer for 2 hours). Important to know: if the blood is brightly colored and flows out intensively, you are dealing with an injury to the arterial vessels. The tourniquet must be applied above the fracture. In the event that the blood is thick and dark, you have a vein injury. A tourniquet is applied below the injured area.

If there is a suspicion of a dislocation, in no case should you try to set it yourself. Such work can only be entrusted to an experienced doctor.

If you decide to transport the victim to the nearest hospital, be sure to follow the rules for transporting a broken limb. We are talking about the correct fixation of the hand, with the help of sticks, fabric, cardboard – everything that can play the role of a tire.

Don’t forget to remove bracelets and rings from your arm, because jewelry interferes with natural circulation, and after swelling of the limbs, they will have to be removed using special tools.

Never do this if someone has a broken arm:

  • Do not try to return the injured limb to its normal position.
  • Do not transport an injured person without securing the injured arm.
  • Do not try to get painkillers to drink or ointments to be applied to the bruised area. A sedative can be given when the victim is in a state of stress, shock.
  • Do not splint unless you have an idea of ​​how to do it correctly. Better call an ambulance.
  • Don’t be idle! Even in the presence of a slight swelling of the tissues, an x-ray should be taken and a full consultation with a traumatologist should be obtained.

Violating such prohibitions, you run the risk of significantly worsening the condition of the victim.

And most importantly, forget about any self-treatment. Practice shows that the slightest deformation, minimal displacement entails shortening of the arm and other complications.

The subsequent treatment and recovery depend on how professionally first aid is provided for a fractured limb.

How do I fix a broken drone arm?

Drone accidents and crashes happen even to the best pilots. Depending on how high the aircraft fell from, as well as the angle and parts of the aircraft that hit the ground, the aircraft may be completely destroyed or some of its components may fail before others. Since the arms of a drone stick out of the body, they are one of the first things that can be damaged in a crash landing or hard landing.

You can repair the drone.

You can fix a broken drone arm using a combination of wire and glue, epoxy, Loctite, and try to weld plastic together with MEK. Attempting to fix your drone may void your warranty or upgrade plans, so be careful.

In this article, I’ll show you how to fix a broken drone arm, including using glue, epoxy, plastic welding methods, replacing the arm and frame yourself, and when to just send it back to the manufacturer for a full repair.

To figure out which repair method is right for you, you first need to understand what type of plastic drones are made of and how best to repair each type of material.


What materials are used in drones?

Drones must be made from materials that are light in weight, yet impact resistant and able to withstand high operating temperatures due to the fact that drone electronics can get relatively hot during flight.



The frame of the drone is usually made of magnesium alloy, which contains approximately 90% magnesium, 9% aluminum and 1% zinc. This may vary for each drone, but it provides incredible strength and corrosion resistance. It is 34% lighter than aluminum and is a popular choice for drone frames. It is one of the lightest structural metals in the world, making it ideal for drones, as even the smallest increase in weight can result in a significant reduction in flight time.


On top of the frame that houses the components is an enclosure. The material the case is made of must also be impact resistant as it is the last shield to protect the internal components from any accident or incident that may occur.

The case is what you need for impact protection.

Depending on the type of drone, the body can be made of high impact polystyrene (HIPS) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Let’s take a look at some of the drones that use each of these materials.

High-impact polystyrene (HIPS)

High-impact polystyrene is used in drones such as the DJI Phantom and is usually applied to the body.

High strength polystyrene used in drones such as the DJI Phantom.

Because styrene is immiscible with some other polymers, it forms a matrix rather than a complete blend of materials. This feature means that when the material is subjected to stress, microcracks form and the energy of the propagating crack is transferred to the rubber particles.

Energy transfer to rubber particles.

The energy transfer to the rubber, which is mixed with polystyrene, means it is impact resistant.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) – Mavic Series

ABS is made by reacting styrene, acrylonitrile and polybutadiene. They can be mixed in various ratios, giving different physical properties to each mixture. The addition of acrylonitrile makes ABS stronger than pure polystyrene, while acrylonitrile contributes to chemical resistance, fatigue strength, hardness and rigidity, and provides protection from the high temperatures at which drones operate. Styrene gives the plastic a shiny and impermeable surface, and also increases hardness, stiffness and improves recyclability.

Styrene makes plastics shiny and impenetrable.

Many drone body materials are injection molded, which means they can be produced very quickly in a continuous production process.

This material can also be used for drone propellers as it is lightweight and resistant to stress and strain – something that propellers are subjected to to a large extent.


As drone owners, we often get impatient trying to get our drone in the air as quickly as possible. Undoubtedly, at the most crucial moment, repairing a drone with your own hands becomes an attractive offer.

If you don’t want the drone back in the air as soon as possible.

Sometimes it’s better to take a step back and send your drone to a professional for repair than trying to fix it yourself. Sending the drone back to the manufacturer may be the slowest and most expensive option, but you are guaranteed to get back a drone that is safe to fly and unlikely to cause any further damage to yourself, others, or property due to poor quality repairs.

As we wrote above, we don’t know what to do with the drone.

The first thing people pay attention to when fixing the drone’s plastic body is the glue. Let’s take a look at some common options that can be used for gluing drone parts together.


Glue is a useful tool if the damage is superficial and you want some parts of the aircraft not to vibrate, or the damaged part is not a structural component of the aircraft.

The adhesive is only effective if it has the chemical bond it can create with the plastic surface, so the correct adhesive must be selected and also ensure that the surface is as clean as possible before applying the adhesive

First clean the surface with IPA

Before applying adhesive on the surface, you need to clean it thoroughly.

Drones are always subject to dust, dirt and grease generated during operation. Making sure the surface you are going to apply the adhesive to is clean is very important.

Water, soap, soap, soap.

Water and soap will not remove some contaminants, so isopropyl alcohol should be used to thoroughly clean the crack and surrounding area.

  • Make sure the aircraft is turned off and the battery is completely disconnected.
  • Use a cotton swab or microfiber towel and apply a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to the surface.
  • Gently rub isopropyl alcohol over the surface of the crack.
  • Use a toothpick with a small amount of material on it to penetrate the crack as deep as possible.
  • Allow to air dry for at least 10 minutes and use an air blower (such as those found on cameras) to blow through the center of the crack until it is completely dry.

After you have thoroughly cleaned the area (maybe more than once), you need to choose the right adhesive or epoxy. Here are a few options for you to consider.

Bondic Liquid Plastic

Get the latest price on this product here – click here

Bondic Liquid Plastic is a 100% waterproof and weather resistant adhesive that dries clear and can then be sanded off.

The advantage of this adhesive is that it does not contain solvents, remains liquid and hardens under UV light. This means it will last a long time on your shelf, and if you’re not happy with the first application, you can simply wipe it off and start over.

Bondic Liquid Plastic is ideal for drone bodies, as well as many other materials, so it’s a must have at home.


Get the latest price here – click here.

Loctite Plastic Bonding Super Glue is a two part adhesive system that cures in seconds and cures in hours.

It bonds to many other materials and is resistant to water, many chemicals and low temperatures.


Plastaid is a two part epoxy adhesive that you mix together a powder and liquid to make a strong, hard, durable and strong waterproof plastic in about 15 minutes.

Plastaid bonds many other materials.

Plastaid adheres to many plastics, including ABS, which is used to make drones, and can also adhere mechanically to surfaces such as wood and brick.

The natural color of plasticine is whitish, but you can add wood stain or acrylic to it to change the color. Do not add too much as this may change the bonding ability.


Get latest price here – click here

This is an industrial adhesive that is ideal for bonding plastic, wood, vinyl, rubber and many other materials.

The great thing about this material is that it dries completely clear and does not ignite after curing.

Although some surface cracks that may appear after a hard landing or a relatively low free fall can be covered with adhesive, sometimes some parts of the aircraft need to be more securely fixed.

The parts of the drone can be glued together for added stability and durability. This is especially important for the drone arm, where a lot of forces act on materials during flight.

Wire and Glue Method

I know from experience how effective it is to use the physical method of fastening two plastic components together (wire or thread) and then backing that connection up with glue or epoxy.

My glasses broke right down the middle of the frame and I was able to drill two small holes to put wire through. I soldered the wire in place and was able to maintain the physical connection with glue.

Since I learned this magic repair method, I have also fixed a number of other plastics and things in my house that have failed. As a result, the repaired crack was stronger than virgin plastic.

This method is based on the ability to drill two or more small holes in the area next to the damage in order to pass the wire through them.

This method is ideal if the adhesive is not strong enough to provide the required level of hold.

  • Drill two small holes, one on each side of the damage, large enough to thread wire or string through.
  • Pass the wire or thread through the holes – you can pass as many times as you want to increase the stability of the physical fixation.
  • Repeat this in many places to ensure maximum hold.
  • Inject glue or epoxy through the holes and over the wire or thread.
  • Wait for full cure – sometimes up to 48 hours.

Using this technique, you can create a really strong hold of two plastic pieces.

There is also a technique that does not require glue or epoxy and may be perfect for your drone crash.

Plastic welding

If you need to join two pieces of plastic together, you can use a technique called plastic welding.

Welding plastic is a relatively simple task and you can use a solvent to fix the plastic and then join them together.

Methyl Ethyl Ketone

Methyl Ethyl Ketone is a solvent that can dissolve some plastics. It is a toxic solvent so it must be used in a very well ventilated area and be sure to follow all relevant safety regulations when working with solvents.

If you want to use methyl ethyl ketone as a solvent, make sure you use it.

If you don’t want to work with methyl ethyl ketone, you can also use acetone, although it is less aggressive and less toxic.

Ethyl ketone may be difficult to find because it is a controlled substance.

Here’s how you use it:

  • clean the weld with isopropyl alcohol and let it dry completely.
  • Apply a small amount of thinner to the area to be welded, making sure the pieces fit together like a puzzle.
  • hold parts together for one minute with relatively high pressure
  • allow solvent to evaporate completely before use.

There is a YouTube video here in which solvent is used to bond hard pieces of plastic together, including ABS plastic.

Replacing the arm yourself

If your drone incident sustained more damage than can be easily repaired with solvent, glue or wire, you should consider replacing the entire arm yourself.

This can be a very tricky and tedious process as you will need a number of skills to successfully replace the arm yourself.

You will need knowledge of microelectronics soldering, as well as the ability to remove solder points and strip them with copper tape.

If you’re going down this path, I recommend that you practice on disposable electronics – these can be found at any recyclable store – before you start working on your own drone.

Here is a video showing how you can replace the manipulator yourself.

How to change the bracket on the drone?

Replacing the arm on your drone requires a number of skills, and here’s a video that walks you through the most important steps.

You will notice that this is quite a complicated procedure, and you will not only have to disassemble the drone without damaging the plastic valves and components, but also deal with small internal and electronic welding.

I recommend that you watch a few YouTube videos specifically for the drone model you want to repair before attempting to do so on your drone.

Send to DJI for repair

The last and probably the best option is to send the drone to the manufacturer for repair.

If you have a DJI care refresh package, you can get up to 3 spare drones for two years in case of accidental damage and up to 2 new drones in case of departure.

The DJI care refresh service is worth it if you want to be sure that your drone will be repaired by the original manufacturer, which means that if they can fix it, they will most likely replace it with another one.

If you don’t have DJI care refresh service, it’s been reported online that drone arm replacement can cost anywhere from $100 to $160.

This is much less than the price of a new drone and is made by the original manufacturer. Which should give you confidence in your abilities.

If you want to know more about whether to upgrade your DJI care refresh plan, check out my other article – Should you upgrade to DJI care refresh? [Comparisons and tables] – click here to go to the article.


In this article, we looked at all the ways you can fix a broken drone arm. An accident doesn’t have to be the end of the world for your drone, and you have a variety of options depending on the type of accident and the type of damage you’ve sustained by crashing your drone.