Articles Common Hand Injuries

January 17, 2019

We have compiled a list of common hand injuries. It is important to accurately diagnose and identify the cause of these injuries as this will direct treatment to ensure the best outcomes.

Common Hand Injuries- Hand Fractures

Hand fractures are normally the result of sudden impact (i.e. punching an object). The knuckle bones (metacarpals) are the most commonly fractured. Symptoms can include severe pain, swelling, deformity, loss of function, bony tenderness, finger numbness, weakness and instability.  Fractures involving the joint surfaces have more complications and can predispose people to early onset of arthritis.

Metacarpal fractures

Common Hand Injuries- Finger Dislocations

Finger dislocations are due to trauma and often occur as result of unexpectedly catching the fingers on an object (i.e. catching a finger on another players jumper during a tackle). Symptoms include joint deformity, pain, swelling and instability. Damage to the surrounding ligaments and fractures are often associated with dislocations. Persistent symptoms and recurrent dislocations can occur if not treated correctly.

Common Hand Injuries- Tendon Lacerations

The tendons in the hands are very superficial and prone to injury in the event of a laceration. Signs and symptoms of a tendon laceration can include weakness or an inability to open and close your fingers/thumb. In these situations, it is important to seek urgent medical attention as surgical repair may be required.

Tendon Laceration

Common Hand Injuries- Tendinitis and Pulley Injuries

These injuries are more commonly seen in people who engage in rock climbing. Common causes include over training, incorrect gripping technique and pure stubbornness! Symptoms can include joint swelling, tenderness over the tendon and weakness and pain holding small holds. Quite often these injuries can be resolved by modified rest and a few simple technique adjustments.

Common Hand Injuries- Mallet Finger

Damage to the tendons which extend your fingers can lead to a deformity called a mallet finger. This injury is normally caused by a direct impact to the tip of an extended finger (i.e. cricket ball hitting the finger tip).  It is characterised by an inability to extend the joint at the tip of your finger.

Mallet Finger Injury

Common Hand Injuries- Trigger Finger

This condition is characterised by a finger getting stuck in a bent position. Quite often people will report a “catching” sensation during movement. Occasionally a palpable lump may be present at the base of the finger (palm side). This condition arises from inflammation and scarring of the sheath which surrounds the finger tendon.  Over time the sheath becomes too narrow for the tendon to pass through giving rise to the “catching” sensation.

This is more commonly seen in female populations, diabetics and people who engage in occupations and sports which involve repeated gripping. Conservative treatment including rest, splinting, stretches, anti inflammatory medications and cortisone injections are generally recommend before considering surgery.

Trigger Finger

Common Hand Injuries- Dupuytren’s Disease

Dupuytren’s disease is characterised  by clawing of the fingers (typically the ring and little finger) due to shortening of the tissue over the palm of the hand. Strangely this condition is not normally painful and typically develops over a period of years. Visible bands of tight tissue and indentation of the skin over the palm may also be present.

The exact causes of the disease are unknown but is more commonly seen in people of Northern European descent, older males, diabetics, smokers, heavy consumers of alcohol and people in occupations who use heavy power tools (i.e. jack hammers). Cortisone injections and surgical intervention is often required to successfully treat this condition.

Dupytren’s Disease

Common Hand Injuries- Osteoarthritis

As we age our joints begin to degenerate and we can develop arthritis. The joints of the hands are particularly prone to this. Given we mainly use our hands to interact with our environment advanced arthritis can severely impact an individual’s quality of life. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, heat, redness and joint deformity


Common Hand Injuries- Nerve Injuries

Symptoms of pins and needles, burning, weakness and numbness can be suggestive of a nerve injury. Damage to the localised nerves in the hand can give rise to these symptoms but more commonly issues further “upstream’ (i.e. wrist, elbow and neck) are often the root cause.

Nerves of the hand

Please keep in mind the information provided is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute to consult your treating health professional. If you have any specific questions or require assistance with your individual treatment requirements please do not hesitate to contact My Family Physio Mona Vale, Sydney.

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