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Hand Injury

Hand injuries account for 5 to 10-percent of all emergency room visits in the U. S. Of these, approximately one-half are due to lacerations and one-fourth due to contusions. The other most common kinds of hand injuries include those due to blunt trauma, burns, avulsion and ring avulsion.

 

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The hand's muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, nerves and blood vessels are all vulnerable to injury.

Sprains are also common hand injuries. Sprains cause pain, swelling and inflammation but usually cause no permanent damage. Dislocations in the hand are uncommon, but when they occur, they are often accompanied by lacerations.

Ligament injuries occur frequently and are often misdiagnosed since they may present as sprains. The inability to hold object between the thumb and four fingers is an indication of a possible injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). This kind of injury is also known as Gamekeeper's Thumb. The most common skiing injury is to the UCL.

Many other sports account for hand injuries such as baseball, football, basketball and even rock climbing. Rock climbing has accounted for many trips to the doctor's office since this particular sport is very hand intensive and can exacerbate other injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and arthritis.

Fractured bones are also a common type of hand injury. Breaks can occur near the knuckle, mid-bone, or wrist. Fractures, particularly, need to be diagnosed and treated quickly for optimal results. The physician needs to order X-rays and perform some range of motion tests in order for proper diagnosis. Also, an assessment as to the feeling in the fingers needs to be taken so that nerve damage may be considered or ruled out.

Some severe hand fractures require surgery. Wires, screws or plates may be implanted by the orthopedic surgeon to stabilize the hand. If one of the bones rotates during healing, loss of some functionality in the hand may result. After healing has occurred the surgeon may either remove the implants or leave them in.

Nerve injuries are also one of the common hand injuries. Nerve injuries usually have to be repaired by microsurgery. The surgeon may need to repair the sheath around the nerve or perform a nerve graft in order to repair the damaged area. Once a nerve is repaired, healing usually begins three or four weeks after surgery. As a rule of thumb, nerves grow back at a rate of one-inch per month, so an injury that occurs in the arm above the fingertips may take a year before feeling returns to the fingertips.

Preventing Hand Injuries

Many hand injuries occur on the job. Different occupation carry different inherent risks so if is important that both employee and management be informed and take steps to create an injury-free workplace.

OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) has put out a couple of valuable documents, Personal Protective Equipment for the general public and How to Prevent Needle Stick Injuries for the medical field, to show how people can take precautions to guard against hand injuries.

Some of the protective hand equipment includes:

  • Gloves
  • Barrier cream
  • Finger cots
  • Bandages

If you have suffered a hand injury due to the negligence of others, it is wise to contact a personal injury attorney to find out all of your options. The sooner an attorney is contacted, the sooner they can start gathering the needed documents if they think a case can be made on your behalf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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