Hand injuries can happen to anyone of any age, and are a common reason millions of people visit their doctors each year. Hand injuries produce symptoms that can be debilitating and take a toll on a person’s productivity.
Knowing how to treat a hand injury is key to ensuring it is efficiently and promptly dealt with, especially when you have no immediate access to medical treatment. Read on to learn how to deal with a few of the most common hand injuries when they occur.
A hand sprain is injury sustained to any one of the hand ligaments. If you notice pain, swelling, weakness, tenderness, and warmth around the site as well as popping sensation, do the following:
- Apply R.I.C.E. therapy- Rest your hand and immobilize with a splint; put ice or cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to alleviate swelling; compress your hand with a bandage; and elevate it.
- Take a pain reliever.
Most hand sprains are successfully treated with the self-care measures mentioned above. However, you should keep monitoring the area to see if the symptoms improve within 48 hours. If they don’t, you should see a hand doctor.
A hand fracture is a break in any of the small bones of the fingers (phalanges) or the long bones of the palm (metacarpals).
Minor hand fractures respond well to at-home treatment (e.g., R.I.C.E. therapy), although you may still need to eventually see a hand doctor to ensure the area is healing properly and that there are no complications.
In case of a serious fracture, such as when the bone sticks through the skin, do the following:
- Stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the area using a sterile bandage or a clean cloth.
- Immobilize your hand—don’t attempt to realign the bone or push it. Doing so can only exacerbate the pain and swelling and cause damage to the surrounding tissues.
- Apply an ice pack.
- Take pain relievers.
When you see a hand doctor, they will likely perform irrigation and debridement to clean out the area and to prevent infection. Once the area is cleaned, your doctor will evaluate your injury and will likely proceed with doing internal or external fixation, whichever is necessary for your case.
Internal fixation is a surgical procedure in which your hand doctor will use metal implants, such as rods, plates, or screws, and position them under your skin to hold your bone together and stabilize it.
External fixation involves inserting hardware into the bone above and below the fractured area. The hardware protrudes from your skin, where it is attached to carbon fiber bars or metal. Severe open fractures are often stabilized using external fixation. The procedure may also be necessary to treat open fractures for which a permanent implant is not yet applicable.
Finger dislocation occurs when any of the bones within a finger slips out of its joint. You will know right away when you dislocated a finger, as it is often very painful, and you won’t be able to both bend and straighten it. The finger also appears crooked and swollen— bent upward or in an awkward angle.
To treat a dislocated finger, you have to:
- Remove your ring immediately (if any) and put an ice pack to the area for up to 20 minutes to control the swelling.
- See a hand doctor, ideally within a few hours. You will need to undergo medical imaging (X-ray) and have your finger realigned.
Depending on the severity of the dislocation, your hand doctor may either use a simple manipulation technique to realign your finger or a surgical procedure known as open reduction to repair it.
Hand Injury Treatment in Lutherville and Clarksville, MD
If you sustained a hand injury, or are experiencing symptoms thereof, visit us here at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder for the high-quality care you need.
We are delighted to introduce the newest member of our team: board-certified hand surgeon Dr. Youssra Marjoua, who is just as highly dedicated to delivering unmatched patient experience and excellent treatment outcomes.