Soft tissue injuries of the hand, most commonly affecting ligaments and tendons, can result from everyday activities or engaging in your favorite sport. These injuries – even with proper treatment – often require an extended amount of healing time. Additionally, overuse of the smartphone and other handheld devices can lead to unintended problems with the hand and wrist.
What causes it?
Ligament/tendon injuries of the hand and wrist are categorized in one of two ways: acute and overuse. The former is caused by trauma, often sudden – as in a fall – while those related to the latter are gradual in nature, caused by repetition of an activity that doesn’t allow for proper healing time. Overuse activities are often athletic or work-related.
How do you know you have it?
The signs and symptoms of ligament/tendon injuries vary depending on severity, but they are fairly standard:
- Pain or tenderness
- Bruising or swelling
- Weakness or cramping
- Restricted range of motion
How we fix it
The OSI hand and wrist team is here to listen, discuss your concerns, and examine you for signs and symptoms of ligament/tendon injury. Our goal is to get you back to doing the things you need to do, pain free, and enjoying the activities you love. While you’re under our expert care, you may undergo the following to determine the best course of care:
- Physical exam: Your doctor will perform a careful exam of your hand/wrist to determine if this is a soft tissue injury, or something else. Prior to your visit, an initial treatment with the RICE protocol is found to be affective for an acute injury – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
- X-rays: X-rays may be needed to rule out other issues with your hand or wrist.
The good news is that many soft tissue injuries can be effectively treated without surgery:
- Physical therapy exercises
- Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Surgery may be recommended for more serious tendon tears or for severe sprains where torn ligaments need repair. Also, a tendon damaged by persistent inflammation (tendinitis) may require surgery.