Hand Therapy is a type of rehabilitation completed by an occupational therapist with patients that undergo conditions distressing the hands (called, hand injuries) and upper extremities. The hand therapy allows patients to accelerate their return to a creative lifestyle.
Patients who are candidates for hand therapy services may have been affected by an accident or trauma leaving them with wounds, scars, burns, injured tendons or nerves, fractures, or even amputations of the fingers, hands or arms. Others include patients who suffer from circumstances such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, as well as from lingering problems such as arthritis or a neurologic condition (i.e. stroke).
What is hand injury or hand disorder?
At one time or another, everyone has had a negligible injury to a finger, hand, or wrist that caused pain or swelling. Most of the time our body activities do not cause problems, but it’s not astonishing that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or an injury.
Finger, hand, or wrist injuries most commonly occur during:
- Sports or recreational undertakings
- Work-related tasks
- Work or projects everywhere the home, especially if using machinery such as lawn mowers, snow blowers, or hand tools
- Unintended falls
What are the different types of hand injuries/disorders?
Here are some common hand injuries/disorders that most of the athletes or people using their hands regularly, experience:
An injury to ligaments – a type of tissue connecting bones – is called as sprains. Sprains can be of different stages, it can be a slight tear or whole rupture. The treatment by an occupational therapist and the recovery time will depend on the specific grade of a sprain.
Whether you fall with the palm of your hand or take a tumble on slopes with your hand, you may get a thumb sprain or injury. In the thumb injury, the ulnar collateral ligament that acts like pivot and aids your thumb for a proper functioning gets sprained. With the thumb sprain, you couldn’t be able to grasp things with your thumb and index finger or with your entire hand.
When you fall onward as when you trip successively, your usual response is to put your hands out in front of you to catch yourself. Regrettably, this natural response causes you to land on your palm, winding your wrist backward and possibly stretching or tearing the ligaments that connect the wrist bones. The resulting injury is a wrist sprain.
Injuries to the Bone:
A bone can be disrupted or fractured. A crack or break in a bone is called a fracture. It is usually stated to a broken bone. A dislocation is when a bone is strapped out of place so that they no longer line up properly at the joint. This can cause pain and affects your ability to move.
Fractures of the metacarpals (the bones in your hand just before your knuckles) and your phalanges (the bones between the joints of your fingers) are also mutual injuries.
The most common fracture of the metacarpals is a boxer’s fracture. A boxer’s fracture typically happens when you hit an object with your fist when it is closed. With a boxer’s fracture, the fifth metacarpal joint (the one at the base of your littlest finger) is depressed and the nearby tissue is tender and swollen.
Most of the wrist fractures are scaphoid fractures. Scaphoid is one of the small eight bones that are present in the wrist.
Usually, a wrist fracture occurs due to a sports activity or an accident on a road. The crack or break normally occurs when a person falls on the extended wrist. The type of injury depends on the angle at which the palm hits the ground. If the wrist is extended more, there is an increased risk of breakage of scaphoid bone. If the wrist is extended less, the chances of radius breakage are more likely.
Dislocations of the PIP Joint:
One of commonly occurs hand injuries is an injury to the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint (a joint located above the knuckle). The PIP joint can be injured when the finger is forced backward or when it is forced downward to a bent position. Fractures and dislocations are some of the injuries to the PIP joint.
Soft Tissue and Closed Tendon Injuries:
A tendon is a type of connective tissue attaching a muscle to a bone. A common injury of the tendon is called tendonitis, an irritation of the tissue.
DeQuervain’s syndrome is another common injury that affects people who use a lot of wrist motion, especially tedious gripping and rotating.
The tendons, present along the side of the thumb of the wrist, can be irritated when the hand is overused. Due to this irritation, the lining of the tendons become swell that creates difficulty for the tendons to move properly.
Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendonitis is another common locked tendon injury. ECU tendonitis is a swelling of the tendon that spreads along the backside of the wrist. This condition is caused by the repetitive tiresome twisting of the wrist and the backward flexion. This type of hand injury mostly affects basketball players and those who play racquet sports.
Baseball finger (or mallet finger) is a harm that commonly happens at the beginning of the baseball season. It happens when a ball hits the tip of your finger, twisting it down. Generally, the tip of your finger can bend near the palm of your hand about 60-70 degrees. But, add the force of a ball that has been fluttered through the air, and it can push your finger beyond that boundary, ripping the extensor tendon that controls muscle effort in the affected finger. If the force is great enough, it may even pull tiny bits of bone away, as well.
Jersey finger is the contrary of mallet finger and occurs once the fingertip, usually the ring finger, is powerfully extended, such as if your finger gets wedged in machinery. This causes the flexor tendon, which bends the fingertip, to be pulled away from the bone and will leave you powerless to twist your finger without help.
Boutonnière deformity is an injury to the tendons that unbends your fingers. It occurs when your finger obtains a forceful blow when it is bent. Several tendons, consecutively present along the side and top of your finger, work together to flatten the finger. If the tendon on the top that ascribes to the middle bone of the finger (the central slip of tendon) is damaged by a powerful blow, it can sever the central slip from its attachment to the bone, in some cases, even exploding the bone through the opening. The tear looks like a buttonhole (“boutonnière” in French). If you have a boutonnière deformity, the middle joint of your finger will curve downward and the fingertip end joint bends back. People with a boutonnière deformity cannot fully straighten their finger.
Consult Hand In Hand Occupational Therapy of Long Island for hand therapy:
If you are suffering from nerve damage in your hand or think you may be experiencing early symptoms, you have come to the right place. Our registered and licensed occupational therapists at the Hand in Hand Occupational Therapy are the accomplished and skilled doctors in hand surgery in Centereach, NY. Contact our offices today or click here to schedule a consultation.