What is a fracture?

The hand skeleton is made up of many bones that form its supporting framework. This frame acts as a point of attachment for the muscles that make the wrist and fingers move. A fracture occurs when force is applied to a bone that is enough to break it. When this happens, there is pain, swelling, and decreased use of the injured part. Many people think that a fracture is different from a break, but they are the same.  Fractures may be simple with the bone pieces aligned and stable. Other fractures are unstable and the bone tends to displace or shift. Comminuted fractures (shattered bone) usually occur from a high energy force and are often unstable. An open (compound) fracture occurs when a bone fragment breaks through the skin. There is some risk of infection with compound fractures.