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Royale
10-07-2012, 01:09 PM
I'm working on a series of short stories, and I want to have my main character's hand smashed with a hammer.

I've had a look around and I can't seem to find any evidence of the long term effects, this is in a place of no surgery etc, so everything has to heal naturally. I'm mostly looking for if the hand will become unusable again, or if it will regain some functionality in time etc.

For the sake of more information, it will be a basic domestic metal hammer, and the impact will be in the centre of the hand (palm down).

Any and all help is appreciated. :)

alleycat
10-07-2012, 01:36 PM
I'm assuming the hand is not being hit hard enough to break bones.

I've had somewhat similar accidents. It's sore for a few days; the worst being the first three to five days, less for perhaps another week or so.

It's wouldn't take a lot of force to break a bone or two being hit right in the center of the back of the hand with a hammer.

Royale
10-07-2012, 01:39 PM
I'm assuming the hand is not being hit hard enough to break bones.

I've had somewhat similar accidents. It's sore for a few days; the worst being the first three to five days, less for perhaps another week or so.

It's wouldn't take a lot of force to break a bone or two being hit right in the center of the back of the hand with a hammer.

Oh, no. It's full force. The act is completely intended to cause as much damage as possible.

alleycat
10-07-2012, 01:56 PM
That's beyond me then. I would think that at least one or two metacarpal bones would be broken. I'm not sure what someone would do to "set" the hand if they weren't near medical help.

That would hurt like hell.

Bufty
10-07-2012, 03:43 PM
As much damage as possible? Smashed with a hammer?

Your hand would be pretty near useless if hit as a hard as possible with a hammer while resting on a hard surface. If knuckles and small bones are smashed - goodbye hand, or at least the conventional use of all fingers and thumb.

If you want you character to retain the use of his hand you will have to ease up on the 'smashing' or localise it. A wooden mallet may not cause so much damage as a steel claw hammer.

I look forward to the doctors' responses to this one.

Phyllo
10-08-2012, 04:45 AM
Full-force? My own experience concerned a time when I hit my thumb (as opposed to the meaty palm of the hand). But it was definitely full-force AND I was using a framing hammer (so more weighted and greater impact).

During a moment of inadvertence while building a fence -- as I recall, my hand was resting on the rail at the time and I was holding a nail -- I smacked the LIVING HELL out of my thumb.

The pain was incredible. I jumped around, swore, jumped around some more, but really there was nothing else to do. I was working at someone else's property, I was 25 years old and (because it was the way I was raised) I sure wasn't going to ask them for ice let alone even consider going for an x-ray.

Because it was such a long time ago I can't recall how long the excruciating pain continued, but I know that I continued working (for sure within a half-hour). I vaguely recall the deep ugly bruise that later set in, but never saw a doctor. I suspect it stayed sore for days, but there were no long term effects. Again, different part of the hand, so I don't know if that helps.

blacbird
10-08-2012, 06:17 AM
You could do a lab experiment.

I've broken hand bones twice, both in sporting events, not with a hammer blow, but I can imagine a similar injury occurring. The second time for me was being hit on the hand with a line drive in a softball game (I was pitching), and breaking two bones, along with some lingering nerve damage which has greatly weakened by grip in that hand and movement of the little outer finger, permanently. It wasn't the worst pain I've ever felt, though. For that, I have to go to a really bad ankle sprain suffered in a basketball game. That involved no broken bones, but numerous torn tendons and ligaments, and took a year of therapy to get back to normal.

The extent and long-term effects of such injuries can vary greatly. You're a writer. Make it so.

caw

Polenth
10-08-2012, 09:35 AM
I suspect it stayed sore for days, but there were no long term effects. Again, different part of the hand, so I don't know if that helps.

Fingers and thumbs can be a little different. I've had a couple of finger breaks, but the bones stayed pretty much in place. The first time, I didn't realise I had broken it. It's only after it healed that I could feel the little nodule of bone where the break had been (I have full use of the finger and it looks fine... but it took longer to get full movement back as I wasn't really looking after it properly).

The second time, I knew the signs, so I made sure the bone was lying straight and strapped it to a neighbouring finger. That healed up much faster with the extra care.

For a bone break that hurts, but can heal up all the way without needing a doctor, a clean finger break is a good way to go.

Royale
10-08-2012, 12:15 PM
As much damage as possible? Smashed with a hammer?

Your hand would be pretty near useless if hit as a hard as possible with a hammer while resting on a hard surface. If knuckles and small bones are smashed - goodbye hand, or at least the conventional use of all fingers and thumb.

If you want you character to retain the use of his hand you will have to ease up on the 'smashing' or localise it. A wooden mallet may not cause so much damage as a steel claw hammer.

I look forward to the doctors' responses to this one.

Well judging by location, I don't think the knuckles would be smashed but most of the metacarpals for the central two fingers would be shattered and the other two metacarpal at least fractured. I don't think the blow would effect the metacarpal for the thumb.

I'm mostly concerned now with how it would heal if left alone with minimal non-invasive medical treatment (it'd probably have a splint, bandaged, bound etc) and if any hand function would return after time.

Thank you so much for your replies, it been really helpful for my planning. =D

GeorgeK
10-08-2012, 06:02 PM
it will be a basic domestic metal hammer, and the impact will be in the centre of the hand (palm down).



It's full force. The act is completely intended to cause as much damage as possible.

I don't think the knuckles would be smashed but most of the metacarpals for the central two fingers would be shattered and the other two metacarpal at least fractured. I don't think the blow would effect the metacarpal for the thumb.

I'm mostly concerned now with how it would heal if left alone with minimal non-invasive medical treatment (it'd probably have a splint, bandaged, bound etc) and if any hand function would return after time.

Thank you so much for your replies, it been really helpful for my planning. =D

1. Domestic hammer isn't an official tool. I'm assuming you mean something along the lines of a 14 ounce claw hammer and it is the hammer side, not the claw that is being used.

2. Full force wielded by whom? Is it smashed so bad that there's an actual hole?

3. If you are completely smashing the 3rd metacarple and possibly the 2nd and 4th, then in addition to the bones being destroyed you will also damage the attached tendons and nerves. The arteries probably will be spared because they actually run around the palm.

If Annie Potts is wielding the hammer you might have fractures that heal in about 4-6 weeks with reduced strength and dexterity in those fingers affected and the hand as a whole along with arthitic type pain possibly forever.

If Lou Ferigno has the hammer I could envision ultimately fingers 2-4 becoming useless and contracted and constantly getting in the way of what will become a pincer composed of fingers 1 and 5.

Of course there's also the risk of compartment syndrome leading to gangrene and death or tetanus

StormChord
10-09-2012, 07:34 AM
Oh, man.
Ohhhh man.
Okay. Full force impact, center of palm, hand down, standard metal hammer? Not only will the guy's hand be broken to hell, he'll probably be unconscious with pain. And the number of tiny bones in the hand almost guarantees that it will never set entirely properly. His hand might regain some use if it's set professionally; otherwise, he'll probably never be able to use it.