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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.

5 Causes of Wrist Pain

Whether you enjoy an athletic, energetic lifestyle or live a more sedentary, relaxing life, you may sometimes experience wrist pain that can slow down or stop your activities. Many factors can lead to wrist pain, and it’s often difficult to identify the precise cause, but there are some specific activities and conditions that can lead to soreness and pain in your wrists.

The most frequent causes of wrist pain include the following:

1. Injury

The wrist is formed by eight small bones at the base of the hand, called carpal bones, which connect to your forearm bones. The scaphoid bone, located at the base of the thumb, is the wrist bone that is fractured the most often.

Wrist injuries can occur when you fall onto your outstretched hand to catch your fall. Your entire body weight may be thrust onto the wrist area with enough force to cause damage. This action can cause strains, sprains, and fractures.

Tears in the wrist ligaments and tendons are also frequent injuries in athletes. High-impact contact sports such as hockey and football tend to create a higher risk of injury to the wrists.

2. Repetitive Stress

Activities that involve continuous repetitive stress of the hands, wrists, and fingers, such as typing, playing tennis or golf, and even driving for long distances, can eventually lead to wrist injury.

Repetitive use of the wrist can inflame its tendons (tendinitis) or put excessive pressure on local nerves. Certain jobs such as assembly line work, hairdressing, construction, or even sewing can cause repetitive damage to the wrist.

3. Arthritis

Arthritis occurs when the cartilage between bones wears down. Cartilage helps cushion joints and maintains their smooth movement and correct function. If arthritis develops in the wrist, the joints in the wrist area become inflamed and painful and, in extreme cases, may lose movement altogether.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which can be caused by aging, obesity, injury, or the daily wear-and-tear of joints. Arthritis-related pain is often experienced as a dull toothache-like sensation.

Osteoarthritis of the wrist is not common, but it can happen to people who have had wrist fractures in the past. Rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy joints, can affect both wrists at the same time.

4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, running from the forearm to the palm of the hand, becomes compressed or squeezed by the surrounding tissue. The median nerve crosses the palm side of the wrist at a narrow channel called the carpal tunnel, surrounded by bones and ligaments.

The median nerve is central to the wrist, hand, and finger movement. People sometimes describe the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome as painful pins-and-needles or a tingling sensation. The pain may reach all the way up to the shoulder, and it is usually experienced at night or after working for many hours.

5. Other Diseases and Conditions

Obesity and diabetes can put you at a higher risk of experiencing wrist pain. Conditions that can produce wrist pain include a ganglion cyst, which is a fluid-filled lump that can appear on top of your wrist. It can be drained by a physician, but it usually goes away naturally.

 An underactive thyroid gland can also cause wrist pain and inflammation. Kienbock’s disease is another condition seen in young adults when the blood supply to the bones of the wrist is affected.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Colorado Springs

Our team of physicians at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence are experts in wrist, knee, and joint injuries, and we can implement the most effective treatments. When surgery is warranted, our orthopedic surgeons utilize the least invasive techniques available.

For outstanding orthopedic treatment, call our Colorado Springs office at (719) 623-1050 or fill out our online appointment request form. Let us help you stay in the game!

Types of Hand Pain

The anatomy of our hands is complex. The hand has 27 bones, muscles, joints, and ligaments. Due to the fragility of the hand, they are extremely prone to injury. Hand pain can also be caused by disease or injury affecting any of the structures in the hand.

Any problem causing pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness or a tingling sensation, or abnormal shape 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. The early the problem is dealt with, the better the outcome or diagnosis will be, and the more treatable it will be. Conditions that affect the hand and wrist include:

Sprains and Strains:

Sprains and Strains are common with the hand and fingers. A strain involves the soft tissues of the hand, wrist or fingers. A sprain involves injury to your ligaments (bands of tissue that connect the bones together).

Fractures:

The common cause of a hand fracture is falling and landing on your arm or hand. Fractures are usually treated by splinting or putting on a cast, to allow the fracture to be supported and heal properly.  

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

CTS is a condition in the hand and wrist which causes numbness and tingling. The carpal tunnel is the part of the wrist. Permanent damage can occur if not treated properly.

Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid:

There are two major types of arthritis that can affect the hands. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, which gets worse with age and is caused by wear and tear. This type of arthritis affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. Osteoarthritis makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness. Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments must compensate and work harder.

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. The outer covering of the joint called the synovium is the first place that becomes affected. This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape, and may cause the bone and cartilage to break down.

Trigger Finger:

Trigger finger is caused when the fingers bend, but lock and become stiff, causing severe pain.

If you’re living with hand pain, it may be time to take a closer look at your symptoms and explore treatment options. Call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.