FROM OUR EDITOR
The wrist and hand are integral for throwing, blocking and tackling. Athletes can perform these activities because of the unique bone, joint and ligament structures that evolved in humans over millions of years. Wrist and hand injuries are common in many sports and have the potential to limit an athlete´s ability to participate at the best of their skills.
Injuries to the wrist and hand in athletes fall neatly into two categories: acute and overuse. Most of them are acute and some are sport-specific. Early and accurate diagnosis is critical for definitive management. Keep in mind the late and great Dr Alfred Swanson’s aphorism about acute hand injuries: “deformity may follow under-treatment, stiffness may follow over-treatment, and deformity and stiffness will follow mistreatment.”
Overuse injuries of the wrist and hand in athletes may not cause long-term disability, but these injuries can substantially impair performance for the athlete and in some instances the injuries eventually need complex surgical treatment.
Wrist and especially acute hand injuries are frequently trivialized by athletes. Most team physicians would agree that early return to play is not a problem in these injuries as it doesn’t lead to long-term complications. This is especially true among outfield football players where the upper extremity does not suffer direct impact during training or competition. The question on athletes´ functional performance in early return to play is more complex. An outfield player can often play with a splinted finger or a braced wrist (if approved by the referee), whereas this often disqualifies a goalkeeper. Therefore, probably wrist and hand injuries are underestimated among outfield players.
Hand and wrist injury treatment in Aspetar is a team effort among the hand surgeon, sports medicine physicians, the specialized hand therapist, physiotherapist, nurse and radiologist.
The previous Aspetar Journal issue to focus on wrist and hand was in 2015. We are clearly overdue to share the exciting advances in knowledge on wrist and hand injuries in sports since then, so I invited the renowned Dr Jonny K Andersson MD PhD, the leader of Aspetar’s wrist and hand multidisciplinary team to guest edit this issue. Dr Andersson is a hand surgeon with huge clinical and scientific experience. His PhD research focused on wrist instability and its arthroscopic treatment and he brings his vast clinical experience in hand and wrist injury to the Aspetar Journal readers. As Editor-in-Chief, I thank all our contributors for their generous contribution of time and effort for this important targeted issue on one of the most challenging areas of sports medicine.
Nebojsa Popovic MD PhD
Header image by Tommy Holl
From the Editor
Targeted Topic - Wrist and Hand Injuries
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