Even if you’re not an athlete, your hands are still at risk of being injured simply by doing daily activities at home and at work. In fact, a 2015 research study showed that within the course of just 12 months, 33% of the respondents sustained 10 or more occupation-related hand injuries!
Knowledge is power, so arm yourself with a basic understanding of the most common hand injuries and their causes – check out this guide:
This hand injury is characterized by a tingling sensation, numbness, and weakness of the hand, usually excluding the little finger. This condition occurs when an increase in wrist pressure compresses the median nerve that goes through your carpal tunnel (the narrow passageway at the base of your hand).
Doing activities that involve repetitive hand movements such as typing, texting, gardening, and playing musical instruments can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Obesity and wrist inflammation caused by certain disease conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis) are also significant risk factors.
If doing repetitive hand movements is a crucial part of your job, you can still minimize the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome by taking more frequent breaks, performing wrist stretching and strengthening exercises, and wearing a night splint to ease the pressure on your median nerve.
You can sustain a wrist or a finger fracture if you fall down with an outstretched hand or if you’re involved in any form of vehicular accident that causes a severe trauma to your wrist. Poor execution of sports techniques, as well as sports accidents and collisions, can likewise lead to a wrist or a finger fracture.
A fracture comes with pain, swelling, obvious deformity, and a limited movement. In severe cases, the broken bone can pierce your soft tissues and protrude out of your skin.
If you suspect a wrist or a finger fracture, rest the affected area and apply a cold pack in order to alleviate the pain. Splint the injury and immobilize it to prevent further damage. Elevate your arm above the level of your heart to prevent further swelling.
You have to seek medical intervention immediately to assess the extent of damage and to determine the best course of treatment. Depending on the severity, you might need to wear a stabilizing brace for finger fractures or a wrist brace for wrist fractures.
Tendinitis simply means tendon inflammation. This type of injury does not only affect the hands but can also happen to your elbows, shoulders, knees, and heels.
Tendons are thick fibrous cords responsible for connecting your muscles and bones together. Though your tendons are thick and strong, repetitive movements can lead to microtrauma and inflammation.
Wrist tendinitis comes with a dull, aching pain in the affected wrist coupled with tenderness and swelling. To help ease your discomfort, rest the injury and avoid doing repetitive movements. Decrease swelling by applying a cold pack and wear a wrist splint to limit wrist movements and maximize the healing time. Your doctor might also recommend physiotherapy sessions, especially if you’re an athlete.
The best way to avoid any type of hand injury is to engage in physical activities that aim to strengthen your hands, eat a protein-rich diet to aid tissue repair, and incorporate calcium-rich foods into your meals for stronger bones. You should also perform warm-up exercises before doing intense physical activities and always wear appropriate hand gear for extra protection.