Common Hand and Wrist Injuries Due to Sports

Playing sports has significant health benefits to a person’s well-being. However, with any physical activity is the possibility of injury. Approximately 25% of all sports injuries are associated with the athlete’s hand and wrist. These damages can create barriers to completing daily tasks- on and off the field. It’s important to understand the symptoms of common hand and wrist injuries and know how to take proper care to limit downtime. Below we discuss the most popular sports-related injuries:  

Skier’s Thumb

Also known as ulnar collateral ligament tear, it is an acute injury of the ligament at the base of a person’s thumb. This injury occurs when the thumb is bent backward, causing the ligament that helps the thumb grasp to tear. Although this injury is most found amongst skiers while grasping a ski pole and falling, it can happen in any sport. Symptoms include pain and swelling at the base of the thumb with low mobility and weakness when attempting to grasp. Tears are best treated with rest and splinting for 4-6 weeks, but a complete tear or multiple injuries may require surgery to reattach tendons.

Finger Jam

This type of injury is also called the “basketball finger,” but it can occur in a range of sports like rugby, volleyball, or football that involves contact with a ball striking the end of an extended finger. The severity of the injury can range. A sprain or dislocation may be corrected by simply pulling on the finger. Symptoms to expect would be joint pain and swelling with the increased difficulty in bending the affected finger. Treatment consists of rest, ice, splints or buddy taping to an adjacent finger.

Scaphoid (Wrist) Fracture

A wrist fracture is an acute injury resulting from the break in one of the many small bones in the wrist. These injuries are not always easy to observe and diagnosed by untrained eyes. The most common cause of a wrist fracture occurs among snowboarders, rollerbladers, and football players, those who extend their arms when falling. Fractures happen when their hand and wrist get hyperextended, and the athlete’s weight is forced onto the palm. Injuries include pain and swelling in the area below the base of the thumb up through the forearm. The pain may increase with the movement of the thumb and wrist. Treatments will vary depending on the severity of the fracture, where most require splinting or casting, but others may result in surgery needed.

Wrist Ligament Tear

Wrist ligaments and cartilage can experience tearing for many different reasons. The two most common are acute trauma caused by a hard fall on an outstretched arm, causing the wrist to twist abnormally. Secondly, repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) can gradually pull on tendons and tear during exercise or other recreational activities.

Total prevention of sports injuries may not be possible, but taking the proper precautions, will likely lower your risk. Always wear well-fitting sports equipment and protective gear like wrist guards and gloves. Sports tape can help make a big difference in keeping your muscles in check. Remember to warm up, stretch, and take breaks to allow proper body functionality.

Have an injury to your hands or wrist? Contact the experts at Michigan Hand & Wrist for a free consultation!  

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Call us at 248-596-0412 for further questions.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

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