Our hands are some of the most used parts of our body; unfortunately, they also suffer from a lack of protection. The bones are thin, and the muscles and tendons are covered only by a few layers of skin. Because of this, sprains and fractures of the hand are extremely common.
Thankfully, Dr. Arora understands the injuries that occur on the hands and has the expertise to fix them. If you’ve recently suffered an injury, call our office for a free consultation.
Injuries to the Wrist
Injuries to the wrist happen in three common areas: the scaphoid, distal radius and the ulna. People often think that these areas can be fractured and broken, but the truth is there is no difference between the two. A break and a fracture are the same thing.
The scaphoid is located in the palm, right under the base of the thumb. The most common cause for this bone to break is having the thumb bent backward while force is being applied to the bone. Moving the hand to stop an advancing object like a baseball is a good example.
The radius is the most common place for a break to occur. One of our first instincts, when we are falling from a high location, is to put our hand out to break the fall. As our hand hits the ground, it’s bent backward, causing the bone to break. Left untreated, the bone can warp and heal crooked. However, if treatment is applied quickly enough, there is no lasting effect.
The ulna is on the opposite side of the radius providing additional support to the hand. Breaks occur in the ulna the same way they do in the radius, but at a lesser frequency. Treatment for an ulnar break is to stabilize the bone in a cast until the bone heals. With proper treatment, there are no lasting effects to a break.
Injuries to the Hand
Injuries to the hand are especially painful because of how delicate the bones are. Not only are the bones thinner on average, but they are located on a part of the body responsible for very intricate movements. Broken bones in the hand require a careful recovery process.
Metacarpal bones, or the five bones that make up the fingers and thumb, are prone to break because of their use and location. When this is the case, the finger will swell up and movement is extremely painful. The most common form of recovery is to splint the finger from moving until the bone heals itself.
If a break of the metacarpal bone happens because of contact with a hard object, they may have suffered a boxer’s fracture. Named after the sport, a boxer’s fracture happens when a metacarpal bone is broken because the person struck a hard object with a closed fist. If a bone is broken after a fistfight, this is usually the diagnosis.
Injuries to the Finger
Finger injuries go beyond just broken bones. Our fingertips have some of the highest concentration of nerves in our entire body. These nerves increase our sensitivity to touch, but also to pain. Finger injuries usually occur on the fingertip, and can happen for a variety of reasons. We could jam it against something we are reaching for, hit it with a hammer or accidentally shut it in a car door.
Injuries to the finger are treated with therapy, skin grafts or splints. It’s important to let the body heal itself after an injury, so shielding the affected area from further damage is paramount.
A wrist sprain is when one of the ligaments connecting the wrist to the arm are stretched too far and damaged. This happens a lot with athletes and other active people. Contact sports such as football and lacrosse involve heavy use of the hands, but they also happen frequently with children and runners trying to catch themselves after a fall.
The number one treatment for sprains is rest and protection. Avoiding using the wrist, especially bending it backward, is essential to letting it heal properly. Protection is also needed to hold the wrist in place and prevent further damage. Sometimes monitoring and being careful work, but sometimes a splint is needed. Surgery is rarely needed unless the injury is chronic or severe enough to be a complete tear.
Fractures and sprains of the hand and wrist take a delicate touch to heal properly. If you’ve recently suffered a fracture or a sprain to your wrist, call the Arora Hand Surgery specialists for a consultation and evaluation today.