Skeletal Trauma > Hand & Wrist > General Considerations

General Considerations for the Hand and Wrist

  • Wrist and hand represent two distinct anatomical sites and clinical suspicion should direct which exam is appropriate. One exam is not an adequate substitute for the other. If clinical exam cannot elucidate where the exact site of the injury is, both regions should be evaluated.
  • Fractures of metacarpals and phalanges occur 20 times more frequently than fractures and dislocations of carpal bones.
  • Evaluation of the elbow is not necessary for a patient with suspected distal forearm injuries if an adequate physical exam does not reveal symptoms at the elbow. This, however, may not be so in a patient with distracting injuries or who is unresponsive or incommunicative.

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