Because your hands are so complex and serve such an active role in daily tasks, there are a number of things that can go wrong, and a multitude of possible injuries that can affect your hands. Generally, these injuries can be grouped into two types: acute injuries and overuse injuries.
These types of injuries occur suddenly, when some type of force is applied to the hand. Examples of acute injuries include bruises, sprains, strains, pulled muscles, dislocations, and fractures.
Overuse injuries occur when repeated stress is placed on the structures of the hand. These injuries often occur by repeating the same kind of movement or activity. Some common overuse injuries include De Quervain’s tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The first step is determining the extent of the injury and whether medical care is necessary. Next, remove any jewelry or tight clothing in case swelling worsens.
Try the RICE first aid method. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Try not to use the affected hand for the next 24 hours, and consider using an elastic bandage to gently compress the area. Gentle massage can improve the flow of blood to the site of the injury.
Avoid actions that could cause swelling, such as exposure to heat or the consumption of alcohol. After the initial pain and swelling subside, try gentle stretching and exercise to maintain flexibility.
Everyone will experience injury to their hand, wrist, or elbow at some point in their lives. Very often, discomfort and swelling subside over a short period of time, and normal function is regained.
These symptoms should prompt a call to your doctor:
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