There are so many things that we do with our hands that we take for granted until we experience a hand injury or condition that disrupts our daily activities. Sprains, fractures or arthritis are common. Numbness, tingling or weakness in your hand can also be symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) which is sometimes confused with arthritis.
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Sprains occur when there is damage to ligaments. A ligament is a type of tissue that connects bone to bone. There are different grades of sprains, from a minor tear to a complete rupture. Treatment and recovery time will depend on the grade of sprain. Some common sprains are:
THUMB SPRAIN: This can occur when breaking a fall with the palm of the hand or playing sports like football and basketball. The ulnar collateral ligament may be sprained. This ligament helps the thumb function properly when grasping items.
WRIST SPRAINS: It is natural to put one’s hand out when falling forward; however, this causes the wrist to bend backward and may tear ligaments connecting bones to the wrist.
Bones can be fractured (a crack or break) and dislocated (pushed out of place) very easily in the hand and wrist area. Because there are so many tiny bones located in the hand and wrist, what might seem like a slight discomfort could actually be the result of a break.
METACARPALS: The most common fracture of the metacarpals (the bones in your hand just before your knuckles) is referred to as a boxer’s fracture. A boxer’s fracture usually occurs when an object is struck with a closed fist. With a boxer’s fracture, the fifth metacarpal joint (the one at the base of the pinky finger) is depressed and the surrounding tissue is left tender and swollen.
SCAPHOID FRACTURES: Scaphoid fractures account for many wrist fractures. The scaphoid bone is one of eight small bones that make up the wrist, and this type of fracture is common in sports and motor vehicle injuries. The angle at which the wrist hits the ground determines the type of injury is not obvious at first because there is little swelling and deformity. People may just think they have a sprained wrist.
One of the most common injuries to the hand is an injury to the joint above the knuckle, the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. Injuries to the PIP joint occur when the finger is either hyperextended (forced backward) or forced into flexion (downward into a bent position). Injuries to the PIP joint may include fractures, dislocations or both.
WRIST GUARDS: These may help prevent bone fractures and hand scrapes when a person falls or slides .
GLOVES: These will help protect hands if the palm suffers a direct blow. In addition to protecting nerves, gloves can also protect the skin from direct wounds and cuts.
WARM-UP: Before playing sports or working an eight hour, physically intense work shift, add a warm-up routine with stretching to help improve flexibility.
RICE: For minor hand injuries, home treatment consisting of REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, and ELEVATION of the affected limb can help relieve pain, swelling and stiffness. For hand injuries that are more severe, those affected should seek professional medical attention as quickly as possible.
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Our on-site surgery and therapy centers allow us to provide patients with comprehensive, advanced treatment in one convenient location.
While we strive to keep your primary care physician informed of the care you receive, we are happy to see you without a referral.