Tag Archive for: hand injury

Take Care This Holiday Season to Avoid a Hand Injury

Need a hand this holiday season?

Our hands and wrists perform countless holiday tasks that are often taken for granted until function is impaired. Did you know that the hand is comprised of more than 120 ligaments, 27 bones, 29 joints, and a network of delicate nerves?

Hand and wrist injuries are common during the holidays, and (if we ever get another snowstorm) icy outdoor conditions combined with seasonal activities can take things to the next level. Whether it’s hanging lights while on ladders or heading to the hills to find some actual snow, unexpected slips can suddenly lead to hand and wrist injuries. Here are a few common holiday hand and wrist hazards to guard against this year.

Whoops vs. FOOSH

Falls on outstretched hands, known as FOOSH to orthopedic hand specialists, is a major cause of a broken hand or wrist. This is common among skiers and snowboarders but can happen in everyday life too. Stretching too far while on a ladder or for a door with an armful of packages can cause you to lose your balance. It’s natural to brace yourself from falls like these by reaching out with a free hand and that outstretched hand can become a fractured hand or wrist.

The radial bone is the largest bone in the forearm and the portion of the radial bone located directly above the hand is the distal end. The most common cause of distal radial fractures is a FOOSH. Pain, swelling, and difficulty of movement are signs of a possible fracture which requires immediate attention. The longer the delay in treatment, the greater risk of complications or full recovery. 

Do I Need Stitches or Surgery?

Holiday hand hazards aren’t confined to icy conditions. Indoor holiday activities can also lead to hand injury or pain. Did you know that holiday cooking is a big source of hand injuries each year? About 10% of ER visits throughout the year are related to hand injuries, but during the holidays, knife-related injuries, which can cause severe nerve or tendon damage, are more common.

The holidays often combine major cooking projects with chaos. So, as you’re undertaking extensive food preparation in a crowded kitchen, remember to take it slow and keep your eyes focused on your task.

From cutting raw vegetables to carving the holiday bird or roast, knife cuts are a common cause of hand injury. If you cannot stop the bleeding, always seek care immediately. Depending on the cut’s severity, depth, length and location, you may need to see a doctor, who may recommend stitches or surgery.

Deep hand cuts on the palm can result in flexor tendon damage. Flexor tendons control hand movement and the loss of that movement is an indication of possible tendon damage. Surgery is a common option to repair tendon and nerve damage. While some nerve damage can regenerate on its own, complex nerve reconstruction can require surgical attention to maximize recovery.

If you think you may need stitches, CCOE’s Saturday morning walk-in clinic is available for cuts that can’t wait until Monday, but don’t require an immediate trip to the ER.

Oh, My Aching Hands

Basic holiday tasks such as wrapping presents and tying bows can aggravate arthritis, tendonitis or carpel tunnel, among other hand and wrist damage, and may require attention.

As we age, joint inflammation can lead to severe hand and wrist pain. Arthritis is the presence of stiffness or pain in one or more joint. Although juvenile arthritis occurs, arthritis is much more prevalent in aging adults. Pain, swelling, and stiffness are the most common signs of arthritis. Proper diagnosis is essential to identifying the right treatment plan.

Hand and wrist injuries require extensive knowledge and training to accurately diagnose and treat. Our specialists have received advanced training in conditions affecting the hands and wrists including fractures, arthritis, tendonitis.

Dr. Karl Larsen, Dr. Ky Kobayashi, Dr. Gregg Martyak, and Dr. Chance Henderson have decades of specialized hand experience that informs diagnosis and comprehensive, personalized treatment plans to treat the source of your pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.

For knowledgeable hand and wrist pain diagnosis and patient-centered results, trust the CCOE team. To speak to a hand and wrist specialist today, call (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment.

Preventing Sports Injuries of the Hand

There is always a risk of injury when playing sports. Twisted ankles, torn ACLs, stress fractures. But rarely does a sportsman consider an injury of the hand. Until it happens to them! Let’s take a look at some common sports injuries of the hand and what you can do to prevent them from ruining your game.

Common Sports Injuries of the Hand

·      Hand and Wrist fractures (or broken bones) occur when too much pressure is put on bones from overuse, falling, or smashing into something.

·      Skier’s thumb – This is an acute injury to the ligament that sits at the base of the thumb. When the thumb is significantly and suddenly bent backwards, this ligament can tear, causing a lot of pain and weakness in the thumb.

·      Jamming fingers happens when the fingers experience blunt force or hard impact. Some symptoms include pain, swelling, reduced range of motion, and tenderness in the finger.

·      Nerve damage. Certain activities can result in nerve damage due to pressure and vibration shooting through the hands. One example is handlebar palsy, an injury that occurs from prolonged compression of the nerves in the wrist coupled with vibrations.

·      Tendonitis happens when a tendon becomes inflamed. Tendonitis in the hand generally is a result of overuse. Symptoms include pain, inflammation, and swelling in the hand.

·      Cuts and lacerations. Depending on the sport, you can expect cuts, lacerations, as well as scrapes and blackened fingernails.

·      Blisters and calluses. Blisters can happen when the skin chafes against a foreign surface, causing the skin to fill with liquid and eventually break or scrape away. Calluses occur when the skin becomes thick and hardens due to friction occurring over a period of time. While blisters are usually unwelcome, many athletes pursue calluses to make their hands less prone to blister.

Preventing Sports Injuries of the Hand

Preventing sports injuries of your hands often is a result of applying common sense and sensibilities. Other times, hand injuries are nearly inevitable due simply by the nature of the sport. Either way, here are some ways to prevent your hands from getting injured.

·      Following the Rules means playing sports safely. While certain rules seem like a hindrance, remember they are put in place to prevent injury.  Be sure to follow the rules of the sport, including positioning your hands correctly when playing to ensure you don’t injure them.

·      Wear Protective Gear – Wearing the right equipment can help reduce the risk of injury to your hands. If necessary, wrapping may prevent certain injuries from occurring, especially in sports that require close contact with equipment or surfaces, such as gymnastics, climbing and boxing. Other hand protection may prevent vibrations from damaging nerves. Plus, gloves keep hands warm, preventing frostbite and ensuring the hands stay nimble.

·      Inspect Your Equipment. Never play with broken or damaged equipment. Always check your equipment for splinters, shards, missing or damaged grips and proper padding. Make sure the equipment you are using fits properly, or is appropriate for your size, weight, game and ability. 

·      Stretch and Strengthen Hands –Stretching and warm ups of the hands ensures flexibility so there is less chance of injury while playing. Strengthening hands ensures you are less prone to injury, as well as have a better grip on equipment.

·      Avoid Repetitive Motions – Many sports involve repetitive motions that can lead to overuse injury. Be sure to change things up when practicing and playing so you don’t use the same motions over and over again. This will not only make you a versatile player but also protect you from injuries.

·      Rest is crucial for healing and relaxing the body. If you play a sport that requires you to use your hands intensely, be sure to let your hands rest in between games and practices. This will help reduce wear and tear injuries as well as stress injuries.

Don’t let a sports injury sideline you from doing the activities you love. The Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs provides comprehensive orthopedic care to athletes at all levels and can help you prevent new injuries If you have suffered a sports related injury in your hand or anywhere else, call 719-623-1050 today to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.