At one time or another, everyone has had a minor injury to a finger, hand, or wrist that caused pain or swelling. Most of the time our body movements do not cause problems, but it's not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or an injury.
Finger, hand, or wrist injuries most commonly occur during:
- Sports or recreational activities.
- Work-related tasks.
- Work or projects around the home, especially if using machinery such as lawn mowers, snow blowers, or hand tools.
- Accidental falls.
Older adults are at higher risk for injuries and fractures because they lose muscle mass and bone strength (osteopenia) as they age. They also have more problems with vision and balance, which increases their risk of accidental injury.
Most minor injuries will heal on their own, and home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve symptoms and promote healing.
Sudden (acute) injury
An acute injury may occur from a direct blow, a penetrating injury, or a fall, or from twisting, jerking, jamming, or bending a limb abnormally. Pain may be sudden and severe. Bruising and swelling may develop soon after the injury. Acute injuries include:
- Bruises. After a wrist or hand injury, bruising may extend to the fingers from the effects of gravity.
- Injuries to ligaments, such as a skier's thumb injury.
- Injuries to tendons, such as mallet finger.
- Injuries to joints (sprains).
- Pulled muscles (strains).
- Broken bones (fractures), such as a wrist fracture .
- Crushing injury, which can lead to compartment syndrome.
Call 911 if a bone is poking through the skin.
Call a doctor if:
- The hurt limb or joint looks odd, is a strange shape, or is out of its normal position.
- The skin over the site of an injury is broken.
- You have signs of nerve or blood vessel damage, such as:
- Numbness, tingling, or a pins-and-needles feeling.
- Skin that is pale, white, or blue, or feels colder than the skin on the limb that is not hurt.
- Not being able to move the limb normally because of weakness, not just pain.
- You cannot put weight on or straighten a hurt limb, or a joint wobbles or feels unstable.
- You have severe pain.
- You have a lot of swelling within 30 minutes of the injury.
- Swelling and pain do not improve after 2 days of home treatment.
- You have signs of infection after an injury. These may include increased pain, swelling, warmth, and redness; red streaks leading from the area; and fever.
Source: WedMD www.wedmd.com