Acute hand injury splinting - the good, the bad and the ugly

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Injuries to the hand comprise 20% of all emergency department attendances, with an estimated annual treatment cost of over £100 million in the UK. The initial assessment and management of hand injuries is usually undertaken by junior staff, many of whom have little or no training or experience in splinting hand fractures. In the Department of Orthopaedic Hand Surgery, Morriston Hospital, we regularly observe patients presenting to the specialist hand fracture clinics having had initial management that shows no appreciation for the treatment objectives or the safe positions for splinting. This article aims to provide guidance for frontline staff on the management of hand fractures, with particular emphasis on the appropriate nonoperative care to avoid any unnecessary morbidity.

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