Common causes of hand and wrist injuries include impact during sports or recreational activities, accidental falls and ageing wear and tear. Most minor injuries like cuts and bruises heal on their own, but certain injuries may lead to serious conditions that can affect hand function in the long run. In this section, we look at the common hand injuries that require prompt medical attention and care.
Arthritis occurs when there is inflammation in the joint area. Arthritis tends to occur in older patients or those who have previously injured their hand. Osteoarthritis in the hands is common. Osteoarthritis is mostly due to ageing wear and tear of the cartilage between the joints, reducing the protective cushioning and resulting in pain. Other causes include joint instability, genetic factors, or injury. Some patients may have other forms of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or gouty arthritis.
The symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, limited motion, swelling at the joint area and at times a grinding sensation upon moving the joint. People with rheumatoid (inflammatory) arthritis may have longer morning stiffness and more swelling of the joints than those with osteoarthritis.
Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may prescribe medications or physiotherapy to alleviate the pain and swelling. Should symptoms persist, surgery may be needed to fuse the joint or replace it with an artificial one. Talk to your orthopaedic specialist to understand the treatment options available
Trauma from falls or sports injuries may fracture the bones in the hand. If the bones are broken or displaced from its original position, prompt surgical attention is recommended.
Symptoms of bone fracture in the hand include pain, tenderness, swelling, deformity at the area of the fracture and limitation in movement. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical help promptly.
For minor cases, treatment usually requires immobilisation with cast support until the bone heals, which can take about 6 – 8 weeks. Surgery may be required to align and stabilise badly deformed fractures. Consult your orthopaedic specialist to understand the treatment options available