While sports are fun, there are also plenty of opportunities for injury. When an injury occurs to the hand or wrist while playing sports, it may be important to have a hand specialist evaluate it. Appropriate treatment will provide the best chance for healing properly, allowing you to return to playing the games you love. A hand surgeon will be able to diagnose whether the hand, finger or wrist is broken, sprained or bruised and whether you need specialized treatment.
Many times, when a bone is broken in the hand or wrist during game play, the person knows it. Breaking a bone hurts, and sometimes it can even be heard. At the time of the injury, you may hear or feel a snapping or grinding. After the injury, it may be painful to touch or move the area that was hurt playing sports. Swelling and bruising may follow the injury, and the area may continue to hurt constantly or when touched.
Broken bones need to be evaluated. When you see a hand specialist for a suspected broken bone in the finger, hand or wrist, the doctor may take x-rays or occasionally order a CT scan or MRI to see the structure of the bones, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Some hand fractures require realignment; you may hear your hand specialist call this a ‘reduction.’ Depending on the break location, type of fracture, severity and other factors, you may be given a brace or cast to immobilize the area. The hand specialist may also give you medication and prescribe physical therapy after a time. Some of the most serious breaks may require surgery, which should be done by a hand specialist.
Sprains occur when a tendon or ligament between two bones is stretched or torn, whereas strains are when a muscle or tendon that attach a muscle to a bone is injured. Both can be accompanied by symptoms like pain, reduction in mobility, swelling and bruising. While falls during game play can lead to sprains and strains in the hand, so can overextension, like when playing tennis.
Sprains and strains may possibly be treated without medical intervention at home, by following the RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Sometimes, however, they can also be accompanied by broken bones or other injuries in the hand, fingers or wrist, so if pain is significant, worsens or persists, seek medical help.
Bruises are common injuries in sports. When there is significant impact on the body, capillaries and veins under the skin can break and bleed, creating a pool of blood under the skin’s surface. Bruises alone on the hand, typically don’t require any treatment or the attention of a specialist, however there could be underlying injuries. Seek medical help if there is significant pain or deformity noted with the bruise.
The hand specialists of Midwest Hand Surgery are here to help with common injuries to the finger hand and wrist caused during sports. It’s important to seek the advise of a specialist to help with the healing process. If you have a hand injury, give us a call or schedule an appointment.
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