For as often as we use them, it’s surprising to see how delicate our hands actually are. The hands consist of 27 bones and 34 muscles, each of which is susceptible to an injury or sprain. Hand injuries usually happen for two reasons: A sudden accident, or because of sustained use over time. But regardless of the reason, the pain of a hand injury can be disruptive to your everyday life.
Arora Hand Surgery specializes in injuries to the hand, wrist, forearm and elbow. We offer comprehensive treatment for a variety of issues, sudden or otherwise. Contact our office today to set up an initial consultation about any injury you may have.
Animal and Human Bites
Animal bites account for almost a million accidents each year. Most of these bites are from dogs, but bites from cats, rodents and wild animals occur as well. Animal bites are dangerous because the bacteria of the animal’s mouth gets into the system, causing an infection. Infections can be a minor as some swelling and soreness for a couple days, or as major as life threatening.
The best treatment for an animal bite is to immediately treat the wound with antibiotic ointment. This will kill any offending germs that may be left behind from the animal. After the initial treatment, you should monitor the wound for any further evidence of infection. If the infection worsens, seek medical help immediately.
Snowblower and Lawnmower Injuries
Even though they only happen at certain times of the year, snowblower and lawnmower injuries are some of the most devastating. Severe cuts, ligament tears and broken bones are the least of a person’s worries. Oftentimes, entire fingers or hands are completely cut off. If you are mowing a lawn or removing snow, it’s imperative that you only work around the blades when the machine is completely turned off.
Skin burns don’t just happen around open flames. There are multiple ways a person can burn their skin, and to varying degrees. Fire is a common cause, but people can be burned from coals, boiling water and even friction. The severity of burns are categorized into 4 degrees
- First Degree Burns: These are superficial burns that sting, but won’t last more than a week or so. General medication and creams are all that’s needed to treat these
- Second Degree Burns: These burns may result in blistering and peeling of the burnt skin. They hurt more and last longer, but the treatment is the same as first degree burns
- Third Degree Burns: The skin is completely killed and will need to be surgically removed. These burns require a skin graft and the affected area will be put into a protective splint while the skin grafts heal.
- Fourth Degree Burns: The burn penetrates all layers of the skin to the tendons or even the bone. This is the most severe kind of burn and requires surgery, skin grafts, and the possibility of amputation.
Much like lawnmower and snowblower accidents, a power saw accident often results in severe and deep cuts, the amputation of multiple fingers or sometimes death. It’s imperative that you always pay attention to your work around power saws and you follow all safety instructions.
Nail Bed Injuries
Injuries to the nail bed most often occur with damage to the rest of the finger. When a fingertip is damaged in an accident, it causes the nail bed to splinter or completely fall off. Severe damage to the nail bed can result in the deformed growth of the nail. Surgical options to replace the nail are available if need be.
Infections of the hand can be as trivial as a swollen, pus-filled cuticle which goes away after a short time, to a deep-rooted infection that requires surgery. Some common forms of infection are
- Felons: These are ball-shaped infections at the tip of the finger. Treatment usually requires surgery to drain the finger and the surrounding tissues
- Deep Space Infections: The muscles and bones of the hand have a lot of empty space between them. When an infection occurs in these spaces it’s called a deep space infection. Treatment for these require surgery to drain the infected area
- Tendon Sheath Infection: If a puncture wound occurs near one of the joints, it could lead to an infection of the tendon itself.
Unless it’s caught early, or it’s a shallow infection, the most used treatment is minor surgery to drain the infected area.
Mallet Injury (Baseball Finger)
When the middle finger is struck by an object, say a baseball, and is driven back, it can cause an injury to the tendon which allows us to straighten the finger. The end result is the inability to straighten the middle finger.
Nerves are extremely sensitive and, unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to injure or damage them. When this is the case, the nerve doesn’t send the correct signal to or from the brain, causing the surrounding area to not respond correctly, or lose feeling. The most common symptoms of a nerve injury is numbness and tingling in the affected areas (usually the fingertips). Another symptom is the affected area just not working right. The time it takes to react could be slower, or the muscle doesn’t respond the way it should be.
The thumb is arguably the most important digit on our hand, and because of that it’s the longest in length and has the most muscle surrounding it. It’s also the digit most susceptible to being sprained. The most common form of thumb sprain is the thumb being bent backward, tearing the muscles around it.
Amputation and Replantation
When a piece of the hand is completely removed, it’s called an amputation. Amputations can happen as a result of an accident, or by the decision of a medical professional.
When it happens because of an accident, there is the possibility for the body part to be reattached. However, if the skin surrounding the area is in an advanced state of necrosis, reattachment isn’t possible. This process is called replantation.
If an amputation happens because of a medical decision, replantation isn’t an option. Reasons for amputation could be to stop a dangerous infection, or cancer, from spreading. It could be the result of an accident that severed too many tendons, or it could be to stop the bleeding to a major area. Amputation is usually a last resort for doctors.