Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin selected 5 common causes for hand, wrist, and arm ailments and issued the following tips to help consumers prevent everyday injuries.
- Fingertip crush injuries: these occur with getting your finger pinched, such as in a car door or in an industrial environment, having something such as a press accidentally crush your fingertip. This results in a “Tufts” or fingertip fracture. These typically do not require surgery, but often need a splint/orthosis for protection. Ways to prevent this? The biggest way is to pay attention to what you are doing with your hands and avoid working too fast to prevent inadvertent injury.
- Arthritis at the base of the thumb: this is seen commonly and is one of our most common hand surgeries. Post-menopausal women are especially prone to this, but it often occurs in people involved in performing repetitive gripping and pinching tasks throughout their lifetime. Preventative measures to avoid placing excessive stress with prolonged pinching tasks such as reading a book for an extended period of time, whether at work analyzing reports or at home, holding the book with one hand flat on the pages and the other flat on the back cover. Attempt to avoid pinching the paper corners or edges of the page, as this will increase finger and thumb strain and stiffness, which in turn will increase aggravation to the tendons and joints in the thumb and wrist.
- Wrist fractures: these are commonly seen during winter when people slip and fall during icy conditions; however, this can also be a result of balance issues. If you are finding that you are frequently falling, this is something to bring up with your primary care provider.
- Finger sprains: while this type of injury often occurs with playing ball sports, such as basketball or baseball, this can also happen as a result of getting your fingers twisted in a dog’s leash or in the handles of a grocery bag. Carrying too many bags at once poses a challenge for the upper extremity. Sprains and strains often occur when delicate fingers awkwardly lifts too much weight. Limit the weight you carry, attempt to use paper bags in place of plastic and carry one bag at a time in each hand or wrap your arms under the bag rather than grasping them with your fingers.
- Tendon injuries from lacerations: these can occur with using a knife to prepare food as well as common activities such as washing dishes. When washing dishes, individuals place knives and sharp tools in soapy water and blindly search to find them. Tendons are often cut with this process and often surgery and rehabilitation is needed. Wine glasses and other fragile glass items are often culprits of extensor tendon injuries. When washing a glass, avoid placing your hand inside the item; an alternative solution is to use a handled brush or sponge to wash inside the glass.