Our hands are our tools and most people really appreciate them until something happens to their hands. It is something that I hear all the time!
During the month of January – I’m going to be sharing with you some common hand and finger injuries that we see often in the clinic. And some misconceptions around what to do about them.
Here are three of the most common hand injuries or hand pain.
1. Mallet finger
Injuring the finger’s terminal tendon, which aids in helping it straighten, results in a mallet finger. It is known as an extension.
The first course of treatment for a mallet finger injury is NOT necessarily surgery. It’s not a simple surgery, unless the mallet finger was also caused by a fracture. It takes a long time to recuperate.
Hand therapy is typically the initial treatment after an injury.
Finding a Certified Hand Therapist in your city is strongly advised because they are the ones that specialize in treating these kinds of injuries.
You might believe that since the joint is little, it doesn’t really matter.
Mallet fingers are, by definition, injuries to the fingertip. Therefore, it could appear unimportant, and I’ve met many people with mallet fingers who are pain and problem free.
Mallet fingers are more of a concern when the finger stiffens up or develops a swan neck deformity, which makes your finger appear to zigzag.
When you begin to feel MORE pain, discomfort, or deformity is the BEST time to come in for a hand therapy session. Make sure you are aware of both the best ways to treat the finger and the best ways to prevent it from growing worse.
Therapy for mallet finger injuries is NOT the same as therapy for other injuries. Most often, I decide whether and how long a custom splint is needed before selecting the optimum exercise for the mallet finger.
How little workouts or sessions are required may shock you. But it takes a lot of patience.
2. Finger sprains or fractures
Hand fractures range in severity from minor, non-surgical hairline fractures or chips to the most serious of hand injuries, requiring major surgery.
The most crucial part of a hand fracture, whether it involves one finger or several, is to determine whether it is stable.
It’s crucial to visit an urgent care facility or your orthopedic/hand surgeon to get an x-ray if you suspect a fracture as a result of a fall, slamming your hands, or another occurrence.
From there, you can determine the severity of the injury and whether surgery is necessary. If you’re attempting to avoid surgery, you might want to try a finger splint or some other kind of cast.
In other, more serious cases, the fracture must be realigned and stabilized by surgery right away.
It can be frightening to consider hand therapy after a fracture since you are unsure of your level of healing or whether it is “safe” to start moving around. This is why we offer free Discovery visits. We understand how overwhelming the whole process can be so we like to make sure that you are fully aware of your options and what is possible for you before you make any decisions about how you would like to proceed.
3. Arthritis of the fingers or thumb
There are three major types of arthritis which can affect the fingers:
Osteoarthritis is also known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis. It is the most common cause of finger arthritis. In this type of arthritis, the cartilage in the joint wears away, exposing the bones of the joints. It usually affects the knuckles of the fingertip and mid-finger.
Another type of arthritis that affects the fingers is gout. It occurs when the body’s uric acid increases and uric crystals are deposited in various joints of the body. While the big toe is the most commonly affected part of the body, it can also affect the finger joints.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the joints of the body. Also known as a ‘systemic autoimmune condition’, it can cause inflammation and swelling in the affected joints. In this type of arthritis, the finger joints are commonly affected.
How do you know for sure whether you have arthritis or not?
Your hands’ appearance is one way to determine this. Nodes at the knuckles are one of the first things I check for. There are many different varieties of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is one of the more prevalent types that affects the hands and can leave “bumps” on the sides of your fingers.
These bumps are called Heberden’s nodes. They are small bony growths that appear on the joint closest to the tip of your finger. Bouchard’s nodes are the bony overgrowth of the middle joints of the fingers.
Just because you have the nodes, doesn’t mean you have to live with pain. I know plenty of people in their 70’s and 80’s who have them and they don’t have any pain.
Common treatment for arthritis
The most widely known treatments for arthritis include pills, injections, and surgery. Hand exercises can help with strengthening the muscles in the hand so occupational therapy is a great form of treatment for all kinds of arthritis.
At Hands-On Therapy Services, we have helped countless numbers of people avoid pills, injections, and surgery. All while making sure that they are able to stay active and pain-free.
If you or someone you know suffered from a hand injury such as a mallet ginger, give us a call at 786-615-9879 or request a Free Discovery Visit. We always make time for post-surgery cases because we know that time is of the essence.
Written by Hoang Tran
About the author – Hoang Tran; an expert in physical & occupational therapy
Hoang Tran is a certified hand therapist, the owner of Hands-on Therapy Services, and the author of the book “The Hands-On Approach”. She loves helping people with hand, neck, and shoulder problems because she knows how bad and debilitating they can get if not addressed and treated properly (once and for all!).
The aim of her Miami occupational therapy practice is to bring patients back to full functionality, without pills, injections, or surgery. Occupational and Physical Therapy are both offered at Hands-On Therapy by our experienced therapists who provide a comprehensive approach to your care.
If you are struggling with hand and wrist pain, including
or any other hand condition, speak with one of our specialists for FREE by signing up for a 30-minute Discovery Visit here! Talk to our specialist first before booking any paid session. We like to ensure that we can help you before taking you on as a client.
PS. Seven step by step tips that you can start right away to recover quicker after hand, wrist or shoulder surgery. Click for the After Surgery Guide.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.