What types of hand injuries do hand specialists see from sports?

We're happy to share insights from our doctors.

There are many injuries hand specialists encounter, and they tend to vary by sport. Sports that are high contact, like football and wrestling, have a higher risk of many types of hand injuries, including crushing, twisting, bruising and jamming trauma, while sports where repetitive motions, like pitching in baseball or swinging in golf, may see more instances of over use conditions. In any case, it’s important to seek help from a hand specialist when an injury occurs.

Twisting Injuries

A twisting injury can occur when an athlete falls and twists the hand, finger or wrist in an unnatural way. It can also happen when moving in an awkward way during play. Twisting injuries can involve ligaments, tendons, nerve and muscles. These injuries can include sprains and strains, which can often be treated at home, but sometimes require surgical repair. Read more about sprain and strains in this article.

Severe Lacerations

Occasionally cuts and scrapes happen when playing sports. However, a deep cut in the skin of the hand or finger should be examined by a hand specialist to determine if stitches or further surgical repair of tissue, muscle, nerves, tendons or ligaments is needed.

Crushing Injuries

Crushing injuries to the hand are sometimes seen in sports like football, soccer or basketball, when players fall on each other, or when a player has his hand stepped on. While some of these injuries heal on their own, serious instances, where there is loss of feeling or mobility, should be evaluated by a hand specialist.

Jamming Injuries

A jammed finger occurs when an impact occurs, causing damage. Any sport that involves catching or hitting an object, like volleyball, basketball or baseball, is at risk for a jammed finger. It is a broad term that can mean a ligament or tendon injury, or even a dislocated or broken bone. When pain is severe, a hand doctor should provide a treatment plan.

Bruising (Contusions)

A bruise shows that small blood vessels under the skin have been injured and bled. Typically, bruises heal on their own; however, they can occasionally signal bigger issues, like a sprain injury or fracture. If a bruise is not improving or continues to be painful after a couple days, a hand specialist should be consulted.

Broken Bones

A powerful blow to the hand is required to cause a broken bone in the hand or wrist, and sometimes, when falling or running into an object, this can occur while playing a sport. Broken bones need to be examined by a professional, as how they’re treated can dramatically affect healing.

Overuse Injuries

When the same motion is done over and over, as seen in pitching or swinging a golf club, players can experience pain from tendonitis. Tendonitis occurs when a cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones is irritated or stressed, causing inflammation or pain. These injuries often require rest, but may also call for other interventions, like splinting or medications.

These different sports injuries will call for different courses of treatment, which will be determined by the severity of the damage and likelihood of various treatments to promote optimal healing. If you’ve injured your hand, wrist or fingers playing sports, request an appointment or give us a call to have our hand specialists get you on the road to recovery.

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