Hand and Wrist injuries

What is a hand/wrist injury?

The most common types of hand and wrist injuries are simple sprains. More serious injuries are common fractures of the fingers, the metacarpals of the wrist, and the distal radius.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The symptoms of hand and wrist injuries are pain, restricted range of movement, swelling, and a lack of function. A hand and wrist specialist is needed to when there is a lack of function, deformity, swelling, and pain.

What are the causes?

The most frequent causes of hand and wrist injuries are simple trips and falls. In a sporting environment, contact sports and collisions with opponents can also cause hand and wrist injuries.

How is it diagnosed?

Hand and wrist injuries are diagnosed by taking a thorough history of the patient, the accident, and their symptoms. Each of the bones, joints, and tendon is then examined individually, before possibly getting an x-ray or CT scan for more detail of the bones. An ultrasound may also be needed to examine tendons and ligaments more closely. Occasionally an MRI is used to look at the bones, ligaments, and tendons in great detail.

How is it treated?

The majority of hand and wrist injuries don't need surgery and can be managed with some physiotherapy, allowing things to settle, or a splint or a cast. On occasions, surgery is needed as a last resort.

How can it be prevented?

Hand and wrist injuries can be prevented, this has been seen in research done by British boxing. Over the last 10 or 15 years, there has been a huge reduction in injuries to boxers’ hands and wrists through a variety of taping techniques that were implemented by physical therapists. Having good technique, warming up properly, and trying not to put hands and wrists into awkward positions are also key.