The Hands: Injuries, Symptoms, Causes, Medical Care
The hands are a magnificent piece of work. Its intricate design and functional form follow the hand. However, any injury to the underlying structures of the hand can overlap with other injuries/conditions. Even the smallest hand injuries require a proper medical examination. The objective is a quick and accurate initial evaluation along with treatment. Early treatment is done quickly to minimize short and long-term effects.
The hand consists of 27 bones that include 8 bones in the wrist. If the associated structures:
- Joint cartilage
- Get injured or damaged in some way; there is increased potential for various injuries.
The most common cause of injury/s is blunt trauma, followed by injury from a sharp object. Hand injuries are divided into categories:
- High-pressure injection injuriesÂ – nail guns, staple guns
- Soft tissue injuries
Other hand injuries include:
- Finger injuries
- Wrist injuries
- Broken hand
- Nail injuries
- Finger infection
Symptoms vary depending on the type of injury, how the injury occurred/mechanism, the depth, severity, and location. Common symptoms:
- Decreased range of motion
- Difficulty moving
- Pale appearance
Fractures and Dislocations
- Reduced range of motion
Soft Tissue Injuries and Amputations
- Deformity with or without tissue loss/bone loss
- Warmth/Heat around the area
- Reduced range of motion
- Fever is rare in hand infections
- Complete numbness
- Loss of tissue
- The texture of the skin change
- Areas of tissue blackened
High-pressure Injection Injury
- Skin discoloration
- Muscle, tendon, ligament tears
- Cracked/Broken bones
Anyone with a hand injury is recommended to call a doctor or seek medical attention. When medical attention is delayed, the possibility of worsening or creating further injuries increases. Even the smallest cut or what looks like a minor injury could require advanced treatment to prevent infection or loss of function. Any cut or laceration that requires stitches to repair should also have a medical evaluation to make sure the musculoskeletal system of the hands is functioning properly. Injuries causing the following symptoms require emergency medical attention at an emergency clinic.
- Severe bleeding
- Severe pain
- Loss of motion
- Loss of strength
- Signs of infection – tenderness, warmth/heat, redness, swelling, pus, or fever
- Exposure of structures – tendons, bones, joints, arteries, veins, or nerves
A medical examination can include a medical history and physical examination.
- Past medical history
- Does the patient have diabetes or arthritis?
- Is the patient right or left-handed?
- Extracurricular activities and hobbies
- How does the patient use their hands?
- How did the injury occur, mechanism of injury?
- Does the patient smoke?
- Visual inspection look at the injury
- Sensory nerve exam feeling
- Vascular exam circulation of blood supply
- Muscular and tendon exam movement and strength
- Bone exam broken bones or dislocated joints
A doctor will order X-rays after the history and physical exam if necessary. Certain injuries will require imaging to identify fractures/dislocations or to rule out foreign bodies. Many types of injuries can lead to compartment syndrome. Compartment syndrome is a condition in which there is swelling and an increase in pressure within a limited space or a compartment that presses on and compromises blood vessels, nerves, and/or tendons that run through that particular area. Once the immediate injury is addressed, a personalized treatment plan can be developed .to rehabilitate the hand/s to optimal function quickly
Artificial Sweeteners And Muscle Gain
Artificial sweeteners don’t individuals that are trying to build lean body mass. The body needs carbs after a workout for replenishing the depleted glycogen stores. Many commercially prepared protein supplements are made with artificial sweeteners that donâ€™t provide an adequate source of carbohydrates. If an individual consumes only protein made with sugar substitutes after a workout, they are missing essential components of post-workout recovery. A study found that supplementing with carbohydrates before and during strength training can increase performance, compared to participants that were taking the artificial sweeteners saccharin and aspartame. To properly refuel after a workout, remove the artificially sweetened protein powders and replace them with a snack packed with protein and high-quality carbohydrates. These include:
- Greek yogurt
- Fruit with nuts or nut butter
- Hummus with whole-grain crackers
- Hard-boiled eggs
Banting, Joshua, and Tony Meriano. â€œHand Injuries.â€ Journal of special operations medicine: a peer-reviewed journal for SOF medical professionals vol. 17,4 (2017): 93-96.
Fuhrer, Reto et al. â€œTipps und Tricks in der Behandlung offener Handverletzungen in der Notfallpraxisâ€ [Treatment of acute injuries of the hand]. Therapeutische Umschau. Revue therapeutique vol. 77,5 (2020): 199-206. doi:10.1024/0040-5930/a001177
Harrison, BP, and M W Hilliard. â€œEmergency department evaluation and treatment of hand injuries.â€ Emergency medicine clinics of North America vol. 17,4 (1999): 793-822, v. doi:10.1016/s0733-8627(05)70098-5
MedscapeReference.com. High-Pressure Hand Injury.
MedscapeReference.com. Soft Tissue Hand Injury Differential Diagnoses.
Siotos, C et al. â€œHand injuries in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review of existing literature and call for greater attention.â€ Public health vol. 162 (2018): 135-146. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2018.05.016
WebMD.com. Finger, Hand, and Wrist Injuries.
The information herein on "The Hands: Injuries, Symptoms, Causes, Medical Care" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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