This week is hand therapy awareness week! As Sportscare and Physiotherapy run a Hand Clinic, you can imagine that we take hand health seriously.
To mark this occasion, below we have revealed some common & uncommon hand injuries with some information on symptoms, and the common do’s and dont’s to keep those fingers healthy and moving!
If you think you suffer from any of the injuries below, be sure to book an appointment with your SportsCare Physiotherapist.
A finger dislocation is as painful as it sounds. It often occurs during sports when a ball hits the end of the finger and pushes or twists the two joint surfaces away so they no longer anatomically align. Following the dislocation, the finger is required to be put back in place and then follow a precise rehabilitation program to allow for healing the structure and regaining full movement again.
De Quervain’s Tendinopathy
De Quervain’s tendinopathy is a painful condition that affects the thumb tendons at the wrist level, causing pain through the wrist to the thumb. A developed treatment program and thumb support will assist in returning you to your meaningful activities without pain.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most common injury to the wrist and upper limb. The carpal tunnel is a passageway located at the wrist holding a number of nerves inside. The compression of the nerves inside, especially the median nerve can cause pain in the hand and arm, with a numb or tingling sensation. The goal of treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is to decrease the pressure & compression on the median nerve.
Finger Joint Arthritis
Arthritis is characterised by inflammation and damage to the joint cartilage, on the surface of the bones where they meet. Cartilage can become damaged, which results in the joints becoming inflamed causing joint pain, weakness and instability, reducing an individual’s ability to participate in daily activities. Arthritis is not curable, however with hand therapy and a tailored treatment program it can become manageable and assist in getting back to those daily activities.
Mallet Finger Injury
Mallet finger injury is when the tip of your finger is bent and unable to be straightened, normally caused by an injury to the extensor tendon, a part of the structure that straightens the tip of your finger. Often occurs through impact and or a forceful action causing the fingertip to bend and break. Treatment is effective to straighten the fingertip, allowing for the tendons and bone to heal straight.
Raunaud’s is a condition that effects the body’s blood vessels when exposed to cold or when under stress causing a ‘Raynaud’s attack’ which causes the arteries to narrow or constrict which reduces the blood supply to the body’s tissue causing the limb to go cold, skin changes colour and causes pins & needles/tingling sensation when the areas are warming up again. Therapists can assist to provide strategies to aid the control of blood supply to the areas affected.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is unlike other arthritis as it is an autoimmune disease that largely affects the hands and wrists on both sides. Symptoms include joint pain & swelling, and stiffness of the joints. Hand therapy is aimed at reducing pain and swelling, preventing any further damage whilst maximising movement, strength and hand functions.
The scaphoid bone is one of eight small bones that make up the carpal bones of the wrist. Located near the thumb, this bone is responsible for some of the movements of the wrist. Most commonly fractured from impact of falling or tripping. A therapist is able to assist with applying the right support of brace and hand therapy for rehabilitation for full wrist movements.
Tennis Elbow – Lateral Elbow Tendinopathy
More commonly known as Tennis Elbow, is a condition that affects the tendons that attach to the outside of your elbow from overuse or repetitive movements causing strain on the tendons. Tennis elbow is curable and manageable through a range of exercises and stretches, as well as splinting or taping the affected area to allow for healing and support to the forearm muscles.
Trigger finger (and trigger thumb) refers to the catching and locking which occurs when a person makes a fist and straightens their fingers out again. Trigger finger is due to inflammation of the tendon or its surrounding structure within the tunnels of the palm, causing it to catch when moving from one position to another. Treatment options include conservation management, corticosteroid injection or in advanced cases surgery.
A tuft fracture involves the distal phalanx (the bone located right at the end of each finger & thumb) generally caused by a crush injury causing the bone & tenders to break from each other. Symptoms include pain and hypersensitivity to the fingertip, and bruising and swelling at the fingertip as well as an injury to the nail/nail bed. Hand therapy can help design a rehabilitation plan and program to heal and repair the fracture.
Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury of the Thumb
The Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury of the thumb occurs when the thumb is overstretched away from the hand causing a sprain, partial or full tear to one of the ligaments that stabilises the thumb. It can occur from a single forceful incident. Symptoms include pain, tenderness and swelling around the side of the thumb closest to the fingers. To recover the thumb will need to be supported via a brace and work through strengthening exercises to gain full movement again.
The wrist relies on a fine balance of four main areas working together to maintain a stable, strong and pain free wrist. A loss of two or more of these stabilising factors can cause instability, pain and a restricted range of movement in the wrist. Therapists can advise treatment plans and therapy depending on the problem areas.