Hand, Wrist Injuries or Disorders
Injuries during Winter Sports
Winter Sports get the adrenaline pumping, with professionals pushing themselves to new heights by developing new and innovative tricks, but injuries are common place with the slightest miscalculation spelling disaster in some cases. Some injuries are more common than others, with this article focusing on common complaints of the hand, both from winter sports and everyday perspective
Hand And Wrist Injuries
Injuries to the hand, wrist, and fingers can cause lots of pain and a substantial loss of mobility. Thumb injuries, broken bones, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are just some of the most common injuries to affect this region of the body.
Symptoms can range from stiffness, wrist weakness, and numbness in the fingers to debilitating pain and an inability to grip things. Injuries to the wrist and hand are often caused by outstretching the hand to break a fall, but repetitive strain and overuse can also cause pain and injury in the area.
Delaying diagnosis and treatment of hand and wrist injuries can result in long-term pain and, in some cases, permanent loss of movement and strength. Always seek professional help, and follow any rehabilitation program prescribed. Pain can often be relieved and injury time reduced by the use of a wrist support or wrist splint.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a severely debilitating over-use injury and a common cause of hand and wrist pain. The syndrome sometimes referred to as ‘entrapment neuropathy of the median nerve,’ can also cause weakness in the hand and the tell-tale ‘pins and needles’ in the hands and fingers. Severe overuse (from typing, writing, or sporting activities such as golf and tennis) can result in the median nerve becoming trapped at the elbow.
Injuries to ligaments, known as sprains, are common in the fingers, thumbs and wrists. Recovery times and treatment required will depend on the grade of the injury, which can range from a minor strain to a complete ligament rupture. Sprains to the ulnar collateral ligament are common when breaking a ski fall with the hand strapped to a ski pole, and wrist sprains often occur during a trip or fall. A wrist support will help to protect the area during recovery.
A broken wrist is one of the most severe wrist injuries and frequently involves a fracture of the scaphoid bone and/or a colles fracture (the distal end of the radius bone). Both will require treatment from an Orthopedic Surgeon and the application of a plaster cast. Physiotherapy treatment will be provided to address strength loss and wrist stiffness due to muscle wasting during immobilization. A wrist support will help to protect the area after the plaster cast has been removed.
Although often considered a minor injury, a fracture to a finger can cause severe problems, and considerable loss of dexterity, if not properly treated. Fractures to the finger should be dealt with the utmost care, particularly if your job or hobbies require precise movement of the fingers or thumb. Finger fractures are common in volleyball, basketball, Gaelic football and other contact sports. Signs signs of a broken finger include swelling, tenderness, pain, inability to move completely and deformity. A plaster cast is rarely required, and a splint will be used to immobilize and protect the injured finger while healing.
A boxer’s fracture is the most common fracture to the metacarpals (bones within the hand). It occurs when a closed fist strikes a hard object.
In summary, regarding any wrist or hand injury, it is important to immobilize the affected area to reduce swelling and aid recovery. This can be done through the use of a wrist support or wrist splint and by avoiding activities which utilize the hands.
Dave Regis discusses the use of orthotics for the management of wrist injuries reviewing rehabilitation through exercise and the use of bracing and supports. He writes articles on the utilization of a wrist support and other methods of recovery.
Hand and wrist injuries must not be ignored. See your Physician for proper diagnosis and treatment