What is it?
Hands and the structures within are especially prone to infections (bacterial, viral or fungal). The anatomy of the hand is complex, and a seemingly minor injury can cause disproportionate amount of harm.
- Atypical mycobacterial infections e.g. from contaminated water
- Infections in the skin or deeper may come from bacteria (e.g. MRSA) contaminated water, bite wounds, cellulitis, splinters, viruses (such as Herpes)
- Some infections can affect the nerves (e.g. Herpes)
- Necrotising fasciitis is a rare but severe infection where bacteria can destroy the skin, muscles and other tissue after entering the body through a cut
- Paronychia can cause an infection of the area around the fingernail
- Septic arthritis/osteomyelitis can occur when a wound in or near a joint can cause severe infection within the joint itself.
- Tendons can become infected (infectious tenosynovitis) when a small cut or puncture wound in the palm side of the finger cuts the sheath of the tendons
What to do?
Hand infections can cause severe problems that persist well after the infection has resolved.
- Early aggressive treatment with antibiotics, antiviral or antifungal meds, local rest and soaking is essential.
- Some infections require surgical drainage and removal of infected or necrotic tissue.
- Following surgery, splinting and elevation to rest the damaged tissues until the infection has resolved
- Further hand therapy may be required to regain movement, desensitize and manage scarring