Hand Injuries Are Common
Everyone has had a hand injury that has caused pain or swelling. Injuries to the hand are common and they can happen to you, whether you are an athlete, engage in mild exercise, or perform daily activities. Injuries to the hand can be due to everyday wear and tear, overuse, or injury.
Finger, hand, or wrist injuries most commonly occur during sports, recreation, work-related tasks, home projects such as using machinery such as lawnmowers around the home or hand tools, accidental falls, fistfights.
The risks of hand and thumb injuries are particularly high in some contact sports. Rock climbing and football are two activities where these can happen. People can injure their fingers by attempting to catch a fast-flying baseball.
In some contact sports such as football, basketball, and baseball, the risk of thumb sprains is common. Thumb sprains occur when the ligament is pushed backward with force – either by catching a ball or some other contact – causing the ligament to stretch or tear.
The hands can also have tendon injuries if the tip of the finger is injured. Below are 5 things to do in case of a hand injury.
Home Treatment or Doctors Visit
A minor hand injury can be treated from home before scheduling a visit to see a doctor.
Some home treatment methods include resting, icing, and elevating the injured area. Seeking medical advice can treat the injury further if it persists. Some treatments are pain medication, cortisone shots, splinting the injured area, or wearing a cast to allow a fracture to heal.
If the injury worsens due to wear and tear or accident, such as a tendon injury, surgery may be necessary. Patients may need surgery in order to repair a tendon in the finger or in the case of a severe thumb sprain.
Check Your Symptoms
In a hand injury, it is always recommended to check symptoms to see if the injury worsens or improves. Contact your doctor if you develop the following symptoms:
- Pain or swelling develops.
- Signs of infection develop.
- Numbness; tingling; or cool, pale skin develops.
- Symptoms do not improve with home treatment.
- Symptoms become more severe or frequent.
Home treatment is not a substitute for a doctor’s visit. In fact, it is best to monitor symptoms at home and plan on visiting a doctor later either if the symptoms persist or in order to rule out an additional injury. Also, it is good practice to make sure that home treatment is working.
The best treatment for a hand injury is prevention. A common cause of hand injuries affecting athletes is overuse. If your hand is injured, in pain or has reached its limit, do not use it!
Parents have the responsibility to place limits on their children’s sports activities. Parents of athletes and athletes should do two things: as opposed to training all the time, limit their amount of activity, and provide periods of rest between activities. They should make sure that their young athletes receive adequate rest between sports seasons.
The overuse of a hand in sports is not judicious. Exercising an overused hand only damages the hand and can create an injury. On the other hand, resting an overused hand can help heal the overuse and prevent further injury.
Practice, Practice & Proper Technique
The old adage that “practice makes perfect” is very true in sports. Practicing proper technique goes a long way to prevent hand injuries. Athletes often have injuries in contact sports due to improper technique. These include practicing proper defense, proper offense, and also proper scoring. The same is true for other activities such as running.
“For instance, tennis players who let their wrists bend during a backhand have a higher chance of having tennis elbow. The same is true if they play with a racket that’s too short or too tightly strung, if they hit the ball off-center on the racket, or if they hit heavy, wet balls.” (WebMD)
In sports, conditioning is key. It is important to longevity and peak performance. Not everyone is an athlete, however. Running demands conditioning to be free of pain. Do stretching and warmups before running in order to ensure mobility and prepare the tissues for exercise. Spend 5-10 minutes mobilizing the tissues and joints of the lower body before and after each workout. A proper warmup should include 10-15 minutes of pulmonary exercises that raise body temperature. At the end of the exercise, additional stretching is healthy.