As the fall sporting season progresses, doctors see an increase of sport-related injuries. Two popular fall sports, football and volleyball, often result in injuries to the fingers, hand and wrist. Hand injuries occur because the hand is in front of the athlete in these sports; therefore absorbing most of the contact. Because the hand does not bear weight in many sports, there is a tendency to overlook the severity of the injury. Below, we have described some of the most common hand and wrist injuries resulting from fall sports that we see here at the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, as well as how to identify and treat them.
While this list of injuries is specific to fall sports, these injuries have the potential to affect anyone, so be sure to read through this list and review it often in case you ever find yourself in need of more information about a particular hand or wrist injury.
A wrist sprain is an injury to a muscle or tendon and causes pain, tenderness, swelling, redness and warmth to the touch. Rest, ice, compression and elevation, commonly referred to as R.I.C.E., is the main treatment option for a sprained wrist.
Finger fractures are considered minor injuries, but can become a serious issue if you don’t allow for enough healing time. The signs of a fracture are swelling, pain and tenderness, pain in the hand when you tap the end of the finger while it is straight, inability to move your finger completely and physical deformity. The best way to treat a finger fracture is to seek medical attention immediately so the doctor can put the finger back into place and position it in a splint or cast.
Wrist tendonitis is an irritation and swelling of the tissue that surrounds the tendons of the thumb. Symptoms include pain in the front of the wrist, pain while bending and extending the wrist and swelling. Seek medical attention if you suffer from wrist tendonitis. Steroid injections and anti-inflammatory medicines are most commonly used to treat tendonitis; however, surgery may be recommended in more serious cases.
“Jersey Finger” commonly occurs when one player grabs another’s jersey and a finger, usually the ring finger, gets caught and the tendon is pulled off the bone. The main symptom is not having the ability to flex your finger. You need to seek medical attention immediately, as surgery is required to repair the ruptured tendon.
Jamming a finger occurs when your fingers experience blunt impact, typically from a ball, or forced motion. Symptoms include tenderness, pain or swelling at the joint, and difficulty bending your finger. Typically treatment includes ice, rest and taping the finger to a buddy finger, or an adjacent finger.
Wearing wrist guards, gloves, and stretching are just a few ways to help prevent a sports-related hand or wrist injury. You can prevent overuse injuries by taking breaks to rest the hands or wrists, using proper technique, and utilizing protective equipment. Additionally, athletes should never play through the pain. If there is pain or an injury, playing sports before it has properly healed can lead to further, more severe, damage.
If you have suffered a sports-related injury or are experiencing chronic pain that increases with activity, it’s important to refrain from activity until you can be examined by a doctor. Make an appointment with the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas to talk about how to best treat your sports-related finger, hand, or wrist injury!