Think about your daily life for a moment and ask yourself how many tasks each day you perform with your hands. Almost all of them, right? Using our hands in our day-to-day activities is second nature, prompting us to undervalue them and take their importance for granted. Hand injuries can cause dramatic disruptions in our ability to function and perform even the simplest activities, and they are one of the most common injuries. According the U.S. Department of Labor, about 1 million workers go to the emergency department every year due to hand injuries.
What are the most common hand injuries and conditions?Common hand injuries and conditions usually are one of four types.
1. Numbness and tingling
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by compression or pinching of the nerves, is the most common cause of these symptoms. Up to 6% of the adult population will develop this condition.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is often brought on by overuse and is associated with activities such as prolonged periods of keyboard typing, extended hours performing desk work, and constant usage of cellphones.
- Prevention is accomplished by modifying your day to day activities to avoid things that bring on the symptoms, but unfortunately that’s not always possible due to jobs or daily living in general.
- Treatment involves using anti-inflammatories or wearing a wrist brace at night.
2. Tendon problems and tendinitisThe two most common issues in this genre of hand injury and conditions are trigger finger and de Quervain’s tendinitis.
- Up to 10% of the population will develop symptoms.
- Most of the time there is no particular reason why trigger finger occurs, but it can be brought on by overuse or an injury that aggravates or flares things up.
- Since there is no clear reason for trigger finger development, prevention is not really possible.
- When symptoms worsen, triggering becomes significant or catching/locking of the finger occurs; that is when you should go see your doctor.
- Treatment often involves using steroid injections or potentially surgery depending on how bad your individual case is.
de Quervain’s tendinitis
- This particular tendinitis is defined by inflammation and pain over the outside of the wrist.
- Again, this issue is very common. Parents with newborns for instance can develop it due to over-usage of their wrist, caused by the sudden change of constantly carrying a newborn.
- Prevention is difficult due to the constant need of the wrist, but it can be treated using anti-inflammatories, wrist braces, and over-the-counter topical creams.
- Basilar thumb arthritis is the second most common arthritis in the hand.
- In fact, a lot of people actually have this arthritis unknowingly, and then something triggers it causing it to become symptomatic.
- The main goal in treatment is to get things manageable by first trying oral and topical medication, therapy, bracing, and steroid injections.
- When symptoms worsen and are no longer manageable with conservative measures, then the patient and physician may consider surgery.
- As our activity during the summer months rises, so will injuries and fractures.
- The most common question asked is “when should I see a doctor?” If you heard a pop, or there is significant swelling, or it just doesn’t feel right, then you should come in and have it checked out.
- Ortho On Call, our same day walk in clinic, is great for fractures needing urgent care. You can bypass the emergency department and be seen the same day as the injury to your hand, wrist, or any other extremity.