Children's Hospital Colorado

Hand and Arm (Upper Extremity) Fractures

What is a hand or arm (upper extremity) fracture?

A hand or upper extremity fracture occurs when a fracture, commonly known as a break or crack in a bone, occurs in the upper extremity. This includes the fingers, hand, wrist, forearm, elbow and upper arm.

An illustration showing an open fracture that breaks through the skin, a closed fracture that happens when the bone breaks but doesn't go through the skin, a displaced fracture that happens when the bones breaks and the ends are no longer straight, and a non-displaced fracture that happens when the fracture is in one spot and the bone is still straight.
We provide waterproof, breathable 3D printed casts to help kids live full, active lives while they heal from hand and arm injuries.

What are the different types of broken bones?

The four main types of fractures include:

  • An open fracture, which occurs when the bone breaks through the skin.
  • A closed fracture, which occurs when the bone breaks but does not go through the skin.
  • A displaced fracture, which occurs when the bones break apart and are no longer straight.
  • A non-displaced fracture, which occurs when the bone break is in one spot and the bone is still straight.

What are the hand and upper extremity bones?

  • The hand and wrist have many bones, including:
    • Phalanges (finger and thumb bones)
  • Each finger has three bones
  • Each thumb has two bones
    • Metacarpals (the main bones in the palm of the hand)
    • Carpals (wrist bones)
  • The forearm (area between the wrist and the elbow) has two bones, including:
    • Radius
    • Ulna
  • The elbow connects the forearm bones to the upper arm bone.
  • The upper arm (the area between the elbow and the shoulder) has one bone, called the humerus.

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Sarah Sibbel, MD

Sarah Sibbel, MD

Orthopaedic Surgery

Cailin Brazeau, PA-C

Cailin Brazeau, PA-C

Physician Assistant