Treatment Options for Hand Injuries
The human hand is formed of multiple parts. Nineteen bones, multiple tendons and ligaments, three nerves (median, ulnar, and radial), and the skin form a complex structure. Our hands are an essential part of our lives. They help us perform innumerable tasks, ranging from heavy-duty to delicate ones. Such an array of movements and tasks can give rise to conditions and scenarios that can hurt your hands.
Hand injuries can be caused due to numerous reasons. Surprisingly, the injury could be the result of overuse and everyday wear and tear. The injury can be sustained when playing a sports activity or at work. Hand injuries can occur in our normal day-to-day life, such as operating hand tools like scissors, knives, lawnmowers, etc. Accidental falls can also hurt the hand while fistfighting or other physical hand duels can damage the hands.
Different types of hand injuries
Broadly speaking, hand injuries can be divided into two types:
1. Acute injury
This is a sudden injury resulting from various hand movements like twisting or jamming. There is immediate pain, often becoming severe in a short span of time. Swelling and bruises commonly accompany this type of pain. Examples include injuries to joints, muscles, ligaments like Skier’s thumb, tendons like Mallet’s finger, bruises, fractures, dislocations, etc.
2. Stress-related injuries
When certain parts of the hand are overused or stressed, there could be injuries. Examples include Carpel tunnel syndrome caused due to stress on the median nerve. Trigger Finger results from tendon swelling, Dupuytren’s disease due to thickening of the fascia, and more.
Hand Injury Treatment
Every injury on the hand needs typical treatment procedures. Not even the slightest of pain or symptom should be ignored. A licensed and experienced orthopedic doctor will offer an optimized treatment solution. Able practitioners always do detailed assessments of the issue to initiate fast recovery. Since the hand is an intricately complex structure, it is important to consult only with specialists who are proficient in hand injury treatments. Some of the common treatments options are mentioned below.
On evaluating the specific hand injury condition, the doctor will usually suggest non-surgical treatments first. Some of these are listed below.
1. Medications and injections
Mild over-the-counter medications are usually advised for immediate relief. Stronger pain-relieving drugs are advised in case of severe pain. Some medications include steroids, NSAIDs or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and anti-inflammatory injections.
2. RICE Method
Besides medicines, another common medical advice is R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). This method is quite productive in the case of sprains, tendonitis, or any other acute hand injury. Doctors will advise complete rest to your affected hand for two to four days. The application of an ice pack and compression are advised to reduce pain and swelling. Elevation of the hand on a pillow also helps.
Physical Therapy is another common treatment procedure. It is result-oriented for all kinds of hand injuries as it helps fortify and improve mobility of the targeted area. Expert physiotherapists work with the patient giving them exercises to practice at home. For severe injuries, multiple sessions with a specialist are required for rehabilitation. In the case of chronic conditions, patients may need to go in for regular physical therapy.
4. Braces and Splints
In certain cases, immobilization techniques like braces and splints help ease pain, symptoms, or worsening of the condition. The affected area is immobilized for the protection of the injured bones. For example, in the case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, wrist splinting is one of the first courses of remediation.
This non-surgical treatment method is suggested for certain specific medical conditions. For example, the doctor may treat a Ganglion Cyst by draining the fluid matter from the cyst.
6. Occupational Therapy
For rehabilitation of the hands or even the upper limb or the wrist, specialized occupational therapists are needed. Occupational therapy helps undertake day-to-day tasks like writing, cooking, brushing, etc. The objective is to improve the functionality of the hand and maintain it. Injuries like sprains, fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc., can be improved with this form of therapy.
7. Dry Needling
Dry needling is a method that involves the use of thin needles to improve blood circulation. Trigger points are identified where the dry needles are punctured into the skin. With improved blood supply, the patient gets relief from pain. This method is often used with other non-surgical methods for best results.
This ancient and traditional Chinese treatment can help treat pain-related conditions of the wrist and the hand. Issues like Tendonitis, Osteoarthritis, Fractures, Arthritis, Sprains, Skiers Thumb, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, etc., can be treated effectively with this method. It is crucial to get treated by board-certified acupuncturists.
Sports massage is beneficial too. Specific oils and lotions deliver results when done by trained and certified experts. Intricate skills are required to help the muscular-skeletal system relax. Regular massage therapy helps prevent injuries and aids in the rehabilitation process.
10. TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
It is a procedure in which electric signals are used to stimulate the nerves on the hands. With the help of tiny electrode patches, a TENS unit supplies electric signals to the nerves via the skin. The therapy also activates the brain to release endorphins that help reduce pain.
11. Shockwave therapy
This is a non-invasive procedure for treating chronic pain. Pressure waves are transmitted to the body via the skin to treat the condition. Using this procedure helps increase blood flow to the hand. The therapy helps initiate the natural healing process. The treatment is also known as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy; the treatment is majorly used for treating sportspersons of conditions like bone injuries and chronic tendon issues.
12. Chiropractic methods
A specialist chiropractor can treat chronic arm pain or wrist injuries. Chiropractic treatments help in bone realignment, reducing inflammation and pain, minimizing stiffness, and increasing the range of hand movements. Chiropractors can help accelerate the healing process of all kinds of hand injuries.
When the non-surgical methods and other conservative treatments fail to offer the desired results, your doctor can advise surgical procedures. In some cases, it will depend on the severity of the condition, the patient’s personal goals, and overall health. Other factors include the patient’s age and how old the hand condition is.
We are a leading multi-specialty clinic in Dubai offering top-notch therapeutic and integrative treatments. Our world-class state-of-the-art facility is run and managed by talented and versatile medical professionals with international exposure and experience. We have separate specialty clinics for chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, occupational therapy, sports medicine & orthopedics, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation. All kinds of hand injuries are assessed and treated with a holistic approach by our board-certified specialists.