Hand fracture

  • Pain control

    Give medications as required for pain (paracetamol and ibuprofen are available from pharmacies without prescription). A nerve block with local anaesthetic is often administered at the time of surgery; this wears off over 24 hours and pain may increase at this time. Any areas that are made numb by the local anaesthetic should regain sensation at this time.


    Keep plaster clean, dry and intact. Keep the limb elevated in a sling while your child is awake to reduce pain and swelling and encourage faster healing. The sling can be taken off at night and the hand elevated on pillows.


    Do not play sport until advised by your doctor; this is likely to be at least six weeks after the initial injury. Move the joints not immobilised in the cast as much as possible. When the plaster is taken off your doctor may organise for the occupational therapist to make a splint or to give specific exercises to perform.

    What to expect

    In a majority of injuries normal hand function is preserved. Some stiffness will be likely when the plaster is removed but should resolve over a few days or weeks. The bone will take many weeks to regain full strength and is liable to break if excessive force is applied during this time. Swelling around the fracture site may take months or years to resolve. If the fracture has injured the growth plates before full maturity the bone may have reduced growth in the future but this is an infrequent occurrence.

    Medical attention

    Seek medical attention if your child has:

    • Increasing pain or pain is not relieved by medication
    • Persistent fever
    • General unwellness
    • Colour changes (white, blue, purple) or swelling to the fingers
    • Persistent pins and needles or numbness
    • Wound discharge or increasing redness
    • Cracking or loosening of the plaster cast


    Your follow-up appointment will be at one of the following:

    • Plastic Surgery Outpatient Registrar Clinic, Blue Desk, Ground Floor, The Royal Children's Hospital (morning appointment)
    • Consultant Clinic 
    • Consultant Private Rooms 
    • Local doctor

    If you are unable to keep your appointment please call to reschedule.


    Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery Office - 9345 5391
    Outpatient appointments - 9345 6180
    Plastic Surgery Resident or Registrar - via switchboard on 9345 5522

    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Speech Pathology and Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.

    Reviewed November 2015.

    Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.


This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.