Symptoms of hand and wrist sports injuries

You could experience sudden pain and swelling from an acute injury, while chronic injuries can lead to numbness, tingling and discomfort when repetitive motions are made.

What causes hand and wrist sports injuries?

There is a broad range of potential causes for hand and wrist injuries in sports. These types of injuries are usually categorised as acute, resulting from trauma, or chronic, resulting from overuse. Acute hand and wrist injuries are typically sustained in contact sports, occurring due to impact with other players. These types of injuries include muscle strains, joint dislocation, fractures, and tendon inflammation.

If you participate in a sport that involves a motion being repeated frequently - like tennis, squash or cricket for example - you could pick up a chronic hand or wrist injury such as tendonitis, a nerve injury, or a stress fracture.

Treatment options for hand and wrist injuries

Usually, a hand or wrist injury sustained playing sports will be diagnosed with a physical examination, questions about your symptoms, and a test that asks you to perform certain movements. Blood tests are used to identify inflammation, and imaging tests such as ultrasound, x-ray, CT scans and MRI scans allow doctors to see the inside of the hand and wrist in more detail. You might also have a nerve conduction study to check the function of the nerves.

The treatment which is recommended will depend on the type of injury. Physical therapy can be an effective rehabilitative treatment that can increase your range of motion and build strength gradually. You might be advised to wear a protective garment such as a glove or wrist guard when you are playing sports.

Medication can be effective in addressing the symptoms of a sports injury to the hand or wrist and can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Immobilisation can help with recovery and can involve wearing a cast or splint that restricts movement while keeping the hand above the level of the heart. You might undergo a reduction, which is a manipulative exercise to realign pieces of bone. This can be performed with a local or general anaesthetic, depending on the level of swelling and pain.

In the case of a severe injury, surgery can be required. Open bone fractures and ligament tears are examples of injuries that might necessitate a surgical procedure such as pin, screw or plate implantation to hold the bones together during the healing process.

You can help to prevent injury by taking regular breaks when playing a sport and ensuring that you use the correct technique and posture.

Do you have any questions about hand and wrist injuries? Call us at Oxford Hand Surgery on 01865 307 634.

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