The hand and wrist are more prone to injuries and the problems may include sprains and strains, as well as fractures can occur with lifting and carrying heavy objects. Hand injuries may also occur while operating machinery, bracing against a fall, or sports-related.
What are the types of hand and wrist injuries?
Some of the common hand and wrist injuries include:
- Sprains and Strains: Sprains and strains are the two most common types of injuries affecting the hand and wrist. A sprain refers to an injury to a ligament and a strain refers to a muscle injury. Sprains and strains occur due to excessive force applied during a stretching, twisting, or thrusting action. Most sprains and strains will repair themselves with adequate rest, ice application, compression, and elevation. Surgery is occasionally required to repair the damage.
- Ligamentous Injuries: Ligaments are tissues that connect bones to other bones. They are made up of several fibres and one or all of the fibres may be involved. Complete ligament injury occurs when all the fibres are torn. Ligament injury may cause pain and swelling and limit the movement of hands and wrist joints. Ligament injury is effectively treated with splinting and taping with restriction of movement of injured structures.
- Fractures: A fracture is a break in the bone and occurs when more force than the bearable limit is applied against a bone. Crushing injuries to the hand or wrist occurring due to high degree of force or pressure may also cause fractures. A fracture may cause severe pain, swelling, bruising or bleeding, discoloration of the skin and limit the mobility of the limb. Fracture of a finger bone can only be treated by using a cast or splint while the bone heals. Sometimes, surgery may be needed, where the plates, pins or screws may be placed to keep it stable.
- Repetitive Trauma Syndrome: Repetitive stress injury occurs as a result of repeated similar movements for longer periods of time. This often causes pressure on the joints resulting in inflammation, pain, and decreased function in the extremity. The condition is more likely to develop with repetitive, rapid, forceful and prolonged movements of the hand and wrist, or vibration or frequent pushing, pulling or carrying heavy objects. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common of these syndromes.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition characterized by numbness or pain in the thumb and first two fingers and occurs when the median nerve is compressed at the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is often a common complaint in individuals who use their hands for a prolonged period of time in a particular occupation. Immobilization of the affected part for a certain period may help heal the condition. Medications, physical therapy, and surgery may also be recommended. Often, splinting for a shorter period of time can treat the condition.
Any problem causing pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness or a tingling sensation, or abnormal position of the hand or wrist that persists for more than two or three days should be evaluated by your doctor to establish the cause and obtain the best treatment as early as possible.