Our hands are practically always in use. And, when they are not, we still need to know that they are healthy and working! When you experience a sprain, strain, fracture, or torn tendon in the hand, it can make daily tasks difficult, painful, and nearly impossible to perform.
At EmergeOrtho, we have a skilled, practiced, and dedicated team of fellowship-trained hand, wrist, and finger orthopedic specialists. Our physicians and surgeons are highly qualified and experienced in treating numerous injuries and conditions—from sprains and strains to hand nerve damage and tendon tears (and much more)!
Five Common Wrist, Hand, and Finger Injuries
At EmergeOrtho we treat a diverse variety of hand, wrist, and finger injuries, which include:
A sprain occurs when a ligament in the finger, hand, or wrist stretches, but doesn’t tear. Symptoms of a sprain include:
- Problems grasping items
- Inability or difficulty stretching the affected extremity
Once a sprain has been determined, an orthopedic physician grades the sprain according to severity. First and second-degree grade sprains cause mild to moderate symptoms with only a partial tear. A third-degree sprain results from a complete ligament tear and often produces severe pain and problems with joint stability.
When a muscle or tendon as been overstretched, the result is a strain. Similar to a sprain, a strain can produce a mild to moderate tear or a more severe, complete tear. Symptoms of a strain in the tendons/muscles of the finger, hand and wrist include:
- Muscle spasms and/or cramping
- Muscle weakness
When too much pressure is placed on a nerve that surrounds bones, tendons, muscles, or other tissues, a pinched nerve may arise. A pinched nerve impedes the nerve’s function and leads to symptoms that include:
- Numbness (similar to carpal tunnel syndrome)
Although fractures to the hand, wrist, and fingers can happen many different ways, the most common is from a hard impact. A fracture to the fifth metacarpal (the bone supporting the little finger) is the most frequent occurrence. This type of fracture is often referred to as a “boxer’s fracture,” because of its association with striking and punching injuries. Those who experience a hand, wrist, or finger fracture may experience symptoms such as:
- Bruising and tenderness
- Deformity or shortening of the injured area
- Mobility problems
A deep cut or even harsh burn can lead to a torn tendon in the hand, wrist, or finger. Unlike the other injuries listed above, that often heal through conservative treatment methods, tendon tears need to be surgically repaired as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can potentially lead to long-term and permanent damage to the hand, wrist, or finger. Symptoms of torn tendons in the hand and wrist include:
- Visible open injury (a cut, or break in the skin)
- Difficulty moving or bending joints in the fingers
- Varying degrees of pain and numbness (especially when bending the finger)
Exploring Hand, Wrist and Finger Treatments
Whenever possible, our EmergeOrtho fellowship trained physicians address injuries and conditions with conservative treatment methods. The following non-surgical approaches may be prescribed for mild to moderate hand, wrist, and finger injuries and conditions:
- RICE Method
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can reduce pain and inflammation.
Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs may be prescribed to help heal a sprain, strain, or mild nerve damage.
- Exercises and Stretches
Your EmergeOrtho specialist may suggest specific exercises and stretches to relieve discomfort and to strengthen the supporting muscles of the injured area.
More severe injuries, especially as seen in fractures and torn tendons, generally require surgical intervention.
When a fracture causes a deformity or instability, an orthopedic surgeon may need to intervene by surgically utilizing pins, screws, or plates. These supportive devices enable the surgeon to realign and support the damaged bones. In the case of using pins for a fracture, once the injury heals, the pin(s) can be removed.
As mentioned earlier, in the case of a torn tendon in the hand, surgical repair should be performed as soon after the injury as possible. For the surgery, an incision is made, the ends of the tendon are found and the surgeon stretches it out to its correct position and stitches it back in place. A splint is often required following surgery to aid in the recovery process.
Personalized Patient Care
Whether your hand-related injury can be healed nonoperatively or through surgical intervention, EmergeOrtho’s experienced hand, finger, and wrist orthopedic physicians have the training and expertise to provide the highest-quality care.
If you have experienced an injury of the hand, wrist, or finger, request an appointment now.