Preventing Sports Injuries of the Hand

Preventing Sports Injuries of the Hand

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

There is always a risk of injury when playing sports. Twisted ankles, torn ACLs, stress fractures. But rarely does a sportsman consider an injury of the hand. Until it happens to them! Let’s take a look at some common sports injuries of the hand and what you can do to prevent them from ruining your game.

Common Sports Injuries of the Hand

·      Hand and Wrist fractures (or broken bones) occur when too much pressure is put on bones from overuse, falling, or smashing into something.

·      Skier’s thumb – This is an acute injury to the ligament that sits at the base of the thumb. When the thumb is significantly and suddenly bent backwards, this ligament can tear, causing a lot of pain and weakness in the thumb.

·      Jamming fingers happens when the fingers experience blunt force or hard impact. Some symptoms include pain, swelling, reduced range of motion, and tenderness in the finger.

·      Nerve damage. Certain activities can result in nerve damage due to pressure and vibration shooting through the hands. One example is handlebar palsy, an injury that occurs from prolonged compression of the nerves in the wrist coupled with vibrations.

·      Tendonitis happens when a tendon becomes inflamed. Tendonitis in the hand generally is a result of overuse. Symptoms include pain, inflammation, and swelling in the hand.

·      Cuts and lacerations. Depending on the sport, you can expect cuts, lacerations, as well as scrapes and blackened fingernails.

·      Blisters and calluses. Blisters can happen when the skin chafes against a foreign surface, causing the skin to fill with liquid and eventually break or scrape away. Calluses occur when the skin becomes thick and hardens due to friction occurring over a period of time. While blisters are usually unwelcome, many athletes pursue calluses to make their hands less prone to blister.

Preventing Sports Injuries of the Hand

Preventing sports injuries of your hands often is a result of applying common sense and sensibilities. Other times, hand injuries are nearly inevitable due simply by the nature of the sport. Either way, here are some ways to prevent your hands from getting injured.

·      Following the Rules means playing sports safely. While certain rules seem like a hindrance, remember they are put in place to prevent injury.  Be sure to follow the rules of the sport, including positioning your hands correctly when playing to ensure you don’t injure them.

·      Wear Protective Gear – Wearing the right equipment can help reduce the risk of injury to your hands. If necessary, wrapping may prevent certain injuries from occurring, especially in sports that require close contact with equipment or surfaces, such as gymnastics, climbing and boxing. Other hand protection may prevent vibrations from damaging nerves. Plus, gloves keep hands warm, preventing frostbite and ensuring the hands stay nimble.

·      Inspect Your Equipment. Never play with broken or damaged equipment. Always check your equipment for splinters, shards, missing or damaged grips and proper padding. Make sure the equipment you are using fits properly, or is appropriate for your size, weight, game and ability. 

·      Stretch and Strengthen Hands –Stretching and warm ups of the hands ensures flexibility so there is less chance of injury while playing. Strengthening hands ensures you are less prone to injury, as well as have a better grip on equipment.

·      Avoid Repetitive Motions – Many sports involve repetitive motions that can lead to overuse injury. Be sure to change things up when practicing and playing so you don’t use the same motions over and over again. This will not only make you a versatile player but also protect you from injuries.

·      Rest is crucial for healing and relaxing the body. If you play a sport that requires you to use your hands intensely, be sure to let your hands rest in between games and practices. This will help reduce wear and tear injuries as well as stress injuries.

Don’t let a sports injury sideline you from doing the activities you love. The Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs provides comprehensive orthopedic care to athletes at all levels and can help you prevent new injuries If you have suffered a sports related injury in your hand or anywhere else, call 719-623-1050 today to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.