Wrist and Hand Injury 101: All the Basics You Need to Know

Injuries to the wrist and hand can occur in a variety of ways, from car accidents to sports injuries. In many cases, these injuries can be quite serious and may require surgery. If you have suffered a wrist or hand injury, it is important to understand all the basics about these types of injuries. This article will provide you with information on the most common wrist and hand injuries, as well as treatment options and rehabilitation strategies.


Finger, Hand, and Wrist Injuries

Did you know that the fingers, hand, and wrist are all connected? That’s why any injury to one of these areas can cause problems in the others. Hand and wrist injuries are some of the most common problems faced by athletes. If treated correctly, however, most athletes can anticipate a full recovery with no residual long-term disability.

Here are some common finger, hand, and wrist injuries how to prevent these injuries, and what to do if you experience one.

Finger Injuries: Many different types of finger injuries can occur. The most common type is a fracture or break. Other common finger injuries include dislocations, tendon and ligament tears, nerve damage, and burns.

Hand Injuries: Hand injuries can be caused by burns, cuts, fractures, and dislocations. The most common type of hand injury is a fracture.

Wrist Injuries: Wrist injuries are very common. They can be caused by falls, car accidents, sports injuries, and work-related accidents. The most common types of wrist injuries are fractures and sprains/strains.

Prevention is key when it comes to wrist and hand injuries. Some ways to prevent these injuries include:

  • Wearing protective gear when playing sports
  • Using the proper equipment when working with tools
  • Being careful when walking or running on uneven surfaces
  • Avoiding falls by using caution when climbing stairs or getting out of bed


What are the most common hand and wrist injuries in sports?

Injuries to an athlete’s hands or wrists can happen for a variety of reasons. There are two types of traumatic (acute) and overuse injuries (chronic).


Traumatic (acute) Injuries

Athletes who play the sport that demand high levels of contact such as football, hockey, or wrestling are more likely to get traumatic injuries, whereas athletes who participate in sports that require them to overdo a specific activity are more likely to sustain overuse injuries such as baseball, tennis, or golf.

Joint dislocations, fractures, and sprains are all frequent acute injuries in athletics. Sprains, muscular strains, fractured bones, tendon inflammation, and ligament rips are some of the most common injuries. In the athletic population, the most common fracture is in the fingers.

  • Preserve a high level of playability on the field
  • Promote faster recovery time
  • protect athletes from further injury
  • Provide more grip on slippery surfaces


Pain may be sharp and severe. Soon after the harm occurs, bruising and edema may appear. The following are examples of acute injuries:

  • Bruises. The influences of gravity can cause bruising to spread to the fingers after a wrist or hand injury.
  • Dislocations.
  • Ligament injuries, such as a skier’s thumb injury
  • Compression syndrome can result from a crushing accident.
  • Tendon injuries, such as mallet finger.
  • Joint-related injuries (sprains).
  • Muscles that have been pulled (strains).


Overuse injuries

Overuse injuries arise when a joint or other tissue is subjected to excessive stress, which is commonly caused by “overdoing” or repeating the same action.  If left untreated, however, an athlete’s sports performance may suffer dramatically. Surgery may be required if the injury does not heal. The following are examples of acute injuries:

  • Carpal tunnel condition is caused by pressure on a nerve in the wrist known as the median nerve. Tingling, numbness, weakness, or discomfort in the fingers and hands are some of the symptoms.
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis develops in the hand and wrist. When tendons and the tendon covering (sheath) on the thumb side of the wrist swell and become inflamed.
  • Tendon pain is a symptom of tendinosis, which is characterized by a succession of extremely minute rips (microtears) in the tissue surrounding the tendon. Tendon damage symptoms include reduced strength and mobility in the afflicted region, in addition to discomfort and soreness.


What should I do if my hand or wrist is injured?

If you incur a hand or wrist injury while playing in a game without an attending team physician, get medical attention right once if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Numbness
  • Severe pain
  • Severe swelling
  • Gray, cool, or white hue in the palm or wrist
  • Bleeding that does not stop and lasts for more than 15 minutes
  • The finger or hand is abnormally twisted or bent.
  • When you move your finger, hand, or wrist, you may hear a clicking, grating, or shifting sound.



First-aid measures, medication, “buddy-taping” for support, installation of a brace, splint, or cast, physical therapy, and, in certain situations, surgery may be used to treat a finger, hand, or wrist injury. The following factors influence treatment:

  • The injury’s location, nature, and severity.
  • When did the injury happen, and how long ago did it happen?
  • Age, health, and activities are all factors to consider (such as work, sports, or hobbies).




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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