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5 Common Hand Injuries and the Best Ways to Treat Them

October 20th, 2020

5 Common Hand Injuries and the Best Ways to Treat Them

 

5 Common Hand Injuries and the Best Ways to Treat Them

Hand and wrist injuries happen more often than not. Here are 5 common hand injuries and the best ways to treat them for a speedy recovery.

In 2017, more than 42% of all workplace injuries to upper extremities were injuries to the hands. However, even if you work in what can be considered a fairly “safe” environment, you’re still at risk of suffering a hand injury.

The sheer amount of time we spend using our hands each day means there’s always a risk of injuring our fingers, palms, or wrists. So, what are some of the most common hand injuries and how can you treat them for a quick recovery? This guide is here to help. 

Keep reading for a guide to hand injuries that are sure to come in handy

1. Sprains

When you suffer a sprain of any kind, it means you’ve done damage to your ligaments. Ligaments are tissues that connect to bones to other bones. 

When you suffer a mild sprain, that indicates you’ve had a minor tear in the ligament. More serious sprains could indicate a mild or full rupture of the ligament and will require more treatment. 

You can sprain several different parts of your hand, including your wrist, thumb, or fingers. Most of the time, a sprain occurs when you fall and try to catch yourself with your hand. 

Oftentimes, when catching yourself, your hand bends in an unnatural way, putting a strain on your ligaments, resulting in a hand or wrist injury.

If you think you’ve sprained any part of your hand, you’ll want to apply a cold compress to the area, to help reduce swelling. You should also avoid using your hand in a way that may further aggravate the sprain. 

In some cases, a doctor may give you a splint to help immobilize the use of your hand, to help prevent further injury. 

Fortunately though, sprains often heal quickly and on their own, without the need for serious medical treatment. 

2. Bone Injuries

Did you know that there are 27 bones in each of your hands? That means there are plenty of opportunities to damage those bones just in the course of living everyday life. 

The most common bone injuries in the hand are fractures and dislocations. 

Fractures

A fracture is also commonly called a broken bone. In reality, a fracture refers to any crack or break in a bone, and it can vary by severity.

A small crack in the bone is a mild fracture, while a full break typically requires more extensive treatment, like wearing a cast.

The most common hand fractures happen when you hit or punch something with a closed fist. However, wrist fractures also occur, especially when playing sports.

Dislocations

A dislocation happens when a bone is pushed out of place to the point that it no longer aligns correctly with the joint. 

It’s not uncommon to dislocate your finger bones, especially around the knuckle area. This often happens when playing sports as well. 

If you suffer a serious bone injury in your hand or wrist, your treatment may require hand therapy.

3. Soft Tissue Injuries

Similar to ligaments, tendons are a type of tissue that connects bones to muscle. However, tendons aren’t quite as tough as ligaments. 

When you injure a tendon, it’s known as a soft tissue injury or tendonitis. 

Tendonitis most often occurs due to frequent repetitive motions in the hand or wrist. For example, a baseball pitcher may suffer from tendonitis in the wrist, after throwing repeatedly over the course of his career. 

However, it’s an injury that often plagues office workers as well. In fact, many people believe they have carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a pinched nerve in the wrist, thanks to years spent typing on a computer. 

While carpal tunnel syndrome is common, they may actually have tendonitis instead. Depending on the severity of your tendonitis, you may require physical therapy to help regain total movement in the hand and wrist.

4. Cuts

Lacerations, or cuts, are one of the most frequent hand injuries that occur. Fortunately, in most cases, they are just superficial wounds that are treated with a bandage and an antibiotic ointment. 

However, deep cuts on the hand, wrist, or fingers can turn serious if left untreated. If you suffer a severe cut on your hand, put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. 

If you can get the bleeding to stop on your own, you likely don’t need to see a doctor. However, if you can see bone through the skin, your hand feels cold or numb, or you can’t stop the bleeding, you should visit a doctor right away. 

Serious cuts may require stitches to help the healing and to prevent an infection. 

5. Burns

A burn is also a very common hand injury, especially when cooking or grilling. Like cuts, most superficial burns can be treated at home by running the wound under cold water. 

You should bandage the burn, but don’t apply lotion to the area, as this can further irritate the skin. 

You should visit a doctor if the burn looks to be infected, it’s oozing, or the skin is white or charred. 

Tips for Preventing Hand Injuries

A little precaution can go a long way in preventing hand injuries. Here are a few ways you can try to avoid the injuries discussed above:

  • Wear gloves when working outside or with sharp objects
  • Wear oven mitts any time you open an oven or grill
  • Stretch out your hands and wrists prior to working out or playing sports
  • Wear a wrist guard when participating in physical activities
  • When using a knife or saw, make sure the blade is sharp, as more injuries occur with a dull blade

While no hand injury is ever 100% preventable, following these best practices can help.

Here for Your Hand Needs

If you suffer from pain due to past hand injuries, we’re here to help. The team at Nick Roselli Occupational Therapy can help develop a treatment plan to help you live a pain-free life. 

Schedule an appointment with our team today to learn more about how we can help.

The doctor’s choice in hand & upper extremity
rehabilitation for the best possible results.

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