Our hands play an important role in most day to day activities including work responsibilities, home activities, and leisure activities. Hand injuries are very common and can cause pain and reduced function and make normal day to day activities difficult. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can result in long-term problems and a longer recovery period.
Common injuries that can affect the hands include:
Tendon Injuries and Disorders
Tendons are the strong connective tissues that attach the muscles to adjacent bones. If they get injured or damaged, it can cause loss of movement, pain, and swelling. Tendon injuries can include:
Tendonitis (inflammation or irritation of the tendon tissue) resulting in pain and loss of movement. Tendonitis commonly occurs from repetitive movements.
Extensor tendon injuries occur when the extensor tendons (at the back of your fingers and thumbs) get torn, cut, or detached. These tendons allow your fingers and thumbs to straighten and perform movements but can become injured due to trauma or arthritis. Boutonniere deformities and mallet finger are specific types of extensor tendon injuries.
Flexor tendon injuries occur when the flexor tendons attached at the palm side of your fingers and thumb get cut or ruptured. These tendons allow your finger and thumb joints to bend, grasp, and perform fine coordinated movements. Lacerations, trauma during sports or rheumatoid arthritis often cause flexor tendon injuries.
De Quervain’s syndrome is a common overuse injury. It causes irritation to the tendons along the thumb and wrist. The lining around the tendon becomes inflamed, causing the tendons to not move properly, which restricts mobility and function.
Trigger Finger/Trigger Thumb is a common condition which occurs when the tendons in the thumb or fingers do not glide smoothly. It causes the tendons to catch or get trapped when the fingers or thumb bend, making it difficult to straighten them back out. The feeling can also be described as locking of the joint.
Nerve injuries can result from cuts, pressure, overstretching, or trauma injuries. The nerves transmit messages to and from your brain and hand, allowing you to feel pain, pressure, and temperature. The main nerves in the hand are the radial nerve, median nerve, and ulnar nerve. If the nerves become injured, they cannot transmit signals leading to a lack of sensation and/or movement.
Dislocations in the hand or fingers can occur when a force causes the bones at the joints to move out of position. The most common causes of hand dislocations include sport and work-related injuries, falls, and motor vehicle accidents. Symptoms can include extreme pain, loss of motion and sensation, and deformity. The bones may need to be realigned by a doctor.
Hand fractures (broken bones) often occur from a direct impact or trauma, such as from using your hands to break a fall or during contact or high impact sports like boxing. Symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising. Often, you will be unable to move the fractured area due to extreme pain and loss of function.
If you suspect you have a fracture, seek medical care immediately. Common hand fractures include finger fractures, Boxer’s fracture (occurs to the knuckle of the little finger), and Bennett’s fracture (the bone at the base of the thumb breaks and dislocates).
Hand Experts of Maryland
At Greater Chesapeake Hand To Shoulder, we have a team of experts who have a profound understanding of the complex structure of the hand and how it functions. We understand how important pain-free motion and function are to carrying out normal day to day activities.