How Do I Know If My Hand Or Wrist Injury Is Serious?

Pain can strike anyone at any time. Perhaps you spent the day typing and your fingers aching, or perhaps you jammed your finger while putting away the dishes or sliding into home plate. However, when pain begins to get worse and persists for weeks, it may be an indication that you should consult a hand specialist.

Ignoring hand or wrist injury might lead to irreversible loss of function and more serious and invasive therapies. Read on to find out why your hands are hurting and when it’s time to visit a doctor.

Here are some common signs and symptoms of a serious hand or wrist injury:


Severe Pain

Severe pain is an indication that you have injured your hand or wrist. If the pain persists for more than three days, it may be a sign of a serious injury and you should consult with a doctor immediately. Pain can occur anywhere in the body but when it occurs in the hands or wrists, this usually indicates nerve damage due to trauma (such as carpal tunnel syndrome). It could also mean there’s something wrong internally such as arthritis or tendonitis.


Swelling And Bruising

If your hands are swollen and bruised, this could signal an infection that requires immediate medical attention. A lot of people don’t pay much attention to swelling because they think it’ll go away on its own, however, if left untreated swelling quickly becomes worse.


Difficulty Moving The Hand or Wrist

If you are having difficulty moving your hand or wrist, this is a sign that you have injured it severely. This could be due to a fracture, dislocation, sprain, or tear. In some cases, the joint may become so swollen that movement becomes impossible.


Numbness and Tingling In Hands and Wrists

Numbness and tingling in the hands and wrists can be caused by damage to the nerves. This often occurs as a result of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a common injury sustained from repetitive motions such as typing.


Bleeding From The Wound Site

If there is bleeding from the wound site, this could indicate a more serious injury such as a fracture. It is important to seek medical attention right away if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms. A serious hand or wrist injury can cause long-term damage if not treated properly. If you are unsure whether your injury is serious, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Seek medical attention immediately if you are worried about your injuries.


Making A Fist Is Difficult

If you have injured your hand, making a fist may be difficult. This is because the muscles and tendons that control the movement of the fingers are located in the palm. If these muscles or tendons are injured, it will cause difficulty making a fist.


Wrist Pain That Radiates To The Arm

In some cases, wrist pain can radiate to the arm. This is often a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by compression of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel (a narrow passageway on the inside of your wrist). Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause tingling and numbness in your hands and wrists as well as pain.


Objects Falling

We all have shaky fingers now and then, but if you’re dropping items more frequently, you should consult a doctor. This is especially true if you are unable to explain why you dropped the item. When a basic object, such as a coffee cup, falls out of a patient’s grasp without warning, they notice it the most. Most of the time, you’re ashamed that you dropped it, but you’re unaware that there’s a medical reason for it. Carpal tunnel syndrome might be indicated by symptoms like these.


What Are The Benefits Of Getting Treatment?

Considering the lengthy recovery period associated with hand surgery, you may be thinking if it’s worth it to seek treatment. Admittedly, you’re just experiencing little discomfort that may be managed with over-the-counter medicines. However, receiving treatment for hand or wrist injury sooner rather than later may help you avoid having to go to the operating room.


The Bottom Line

If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away. A serious hand or wrist injury can cause long-term damage if not treated properly. If you are unsure whether your injury is serious, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Seek medical attention immediately if you are worried about your injuries.



Are You Looking for a Sports Medicine Physician You Can Trust?

Dr. Chen sees patients at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, California. He is a board-certified Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Doctor that specializes in the non-operative medical treatment of a wide variety of various musculoskeletal conditions, including back injuries.  Dr. Chen graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and went on to complete Pediatric residency training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (Rutgers), then went on to fellowship training in Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the perennially top-ranked children’s hospitals in the nation. There he provided sideline coverage for NCAA Division I athletics at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (OH). Since graduating, Dr. Chen has continued his love of sports coverage by volunteering for the San Francisco Marathon, the San Francisco Giant Race, and as the team physician for Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. Being a part of The Center for Sports Medicine allows Dr. Chen quick access to a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physiatrists, and physical therapists to return you to your highest functional level quickly and safely. Click here to contact us for your next appointment!


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