Wrist and Hand Injury | Physicool

Wrist and Hand Injury

This injury guide identifies the common causes of a wrist or hand injury, the symptoms, treatments and rehabilitation. Jump to section:

Bennett’s Fracture
Broken Wrist
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Mallet Finger
Sprained thumb (Skier’s Thumb)

Wrist and hand injury – Injuries to the wrist and hand are fairly common due to falling and sport. Wrist and hand injuries normally swell up causing the sufferer much pain.

Bennett’s fracture

What is Bennett’s fracture?

Bennett’s fracture is an oblique fracture at the base of the thumb. It is the most common fracture to be sustained by the thumb and can be quite serious. Failure to treat it quickly and efficiently can lead to impairment or loss of function.

Symptoms of Bennett’s fracture

  • Acute pain
  • Swelling
  • Reduced movement
  • Instability of joint

What causes Bennett’s fracture?

Bennett’s fracture takes place when the metacarpal bone breaks and dislocates at the base of the thumb.  The injury is generally sustained through the application of force to a bent thumb.  Bennett’s fracture can be a consequence of any significant force that impacts the base of the thumb, including sports, falls and accidents.

How to treat Bennett’s fracture

A fracture that is not severe – e.g. does not cause bone fragment displacement – can be treated non-surgically. In this case, a cast or splint is all that is needed. However, fractures requiring realignment are done do surgically, with pins, screws or plates. Suggested treatments:

  • Ice or cooling therapy (Physicool) to reduce swelling and relieve pain
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Splint or cast
  • Surgery

Physicool can be wrapped around the thumb and hand to reduce the inflammation and hand pain. Physicool is a unique cotton bandage impregnated with a patented liquid which draws heat away from the affected tissues by rapid evaporation. While the deep tissues are being cooled, the simultaneous compression effects of Physicool modify the inflammatory response to soft tissue damage which helps promote healing.

Broken Wrist

What is a broken wrist?

A broken or fractured wrist can take three forms: colles fracture, scaphoid fracture and capitate fracture:

  • Colles fracture refers to a break in the larger of the two forearm bones, close to where the arm meets the hand bones.
  • The scaphoid is the small bone found on the thumb-side of the wrist and is the most commonly fractured bone in the area.
  • Capitate fractures are less common, due the bone’s protected location in the centre of the wrist.

Symptoms of a broken wrist

  • Pain, particularly when flexing
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Slight deformity of the wrist (crooked or bent appearance)

What causes a broken wrist?

Direct blows or crushing injury to the wrist are typical causes of a broken wrist. Falling onto outstretched hands is common, as are contact sports and activities that risk falling – skating, snowboarding, etc.

How to treat a broken wrist

Broken wrist treatment will depend of the severity of the fracture.

  • Ice or cold therapy (Physicool) to reduce swelling and relieve wrist pain
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Cast
  • Surgery (in severe cases)

Protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation (PRICE) is one of the most recommended approaches for the management of wrist and hand injuries. The aim is to minimise haemorrhage, swelling, inflammation and wrist pain, to provide the best conditions for healing to take place.

The PRICE approach is recommended by NHS Choices:

  • Protection – protect the injured area from further injury – using a support bandage if appropriate
  • Rest – stop the activity that caused the injury, and rest the injured joint or muscle. Avoid activity for the first 48 to 72 hours after injury
  • Ice – for the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, apply a cooling therapy like Physicool
  • Compression – compress or bandage the injured area to limit any swelling and movement that could damage it further
  • Elevation – keep the injured area raised and supported on a pillow to help reduce swelling

Physicool provides the key stages of PRICE in a single reusable bandage, providing protection, cooling and compression for the wrist injury to help the healing process. A Physicool bandage can be applied to the wrist and the cooling effect recharged by spraying Physicool Coolant directly onto the bandage whilst it is in position.

Physicool is a unique cotton bandage impregnated with a patented liquid which draws heat away from the brokern wrist by rapid evaporation. While the deep tissues are being cooled, the simultaneous compression effects of Physicool modify the inflammatory response to soft tissue damage which helps promote healing.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a pathway in the wrist, comprising the eight carpal bones and the connecting ligament. The median nerve and the tendons, which connect the fingers to the muscles of the forearm, are located in this tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome takes place when the median nerve becomes compressed due to inflammation of the nerve, tendons or both.

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms

Symptoms can occur in the thumb, the index finger, the middle finger, half of the ring finger.

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Dull ache
  • Weakness of hand muscles

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome often occurs after a hand injury, such as a sprain, fracture or crushing impacts. This causes swelling which inturn places  pressure on the median nerve. Repetitive movement and overuse can also induce Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment

There are numerous ways to begin carpal tunnel syndrome treatment:

  • Lifestyle changes – eliminate repetitive motion, increase rest time between movements
  • Ice or cold therapy (Physicool) to relieve swelling and pain
  • Splint or support
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Surgery (when other avenues do not work)

Applying a Physicool bandage to the wrist will reduce the inflammation and wrist pain. Apply the bandage for 30 minutes at a time as and when needed.

Mallet Finger

What is mallet finger?

Mallet finger, otherwise known as baseball finger, is a common athletic injury. The injury occurs when the outermost joint of the finger sustains impact or jams; the tendon on the back of the finger is separated from the connecting muscle. Basketball, cricket and baseball players are prolific sufferers, but the injury can also be experienced through a crushing accident or even a cut finger.

Symptoms of mallet finger

  • Pain at the outermost joint
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Inability to straighten the finger

What causes mallet finger?

The tendon at the back of the finger is separated from the muscle. Three types of injuries commonly take place: the tendon is damaged, but no fractures occur; the tendon ruptures with a small fracture; the tendon ruptures with a significant fracture.

How to treat mallet finger

Mallet finger treatment typically includes:

  • Ice/cold therapy (Physicool) to relieve the pain and swelling
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Application of a splint

Protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation (PRICE) is one of the most recommended approaches for the management of mallet finger. The aim is to minimise haemorrhage, swelling, inflammation and finger pain, to provide the best conditions for healing to take place.

The PRICE approach is recommended by NHS Choices:

  • Protection – protect the injured area from further injury – using a support bandage if appropriate
  • Rest – stop the activity that caused the injury, and rest the injured joint or muscle. Avoid activity for the first 48 to 72 hours after injury
  • Ice – for the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, apply a cooling therapy like Physicool
  • Compression – compress or bandage the injured area to limit any swelling and movement that could damage it further
  • Elevation – keep the injured area raised and supported on a pillow to help reduce swelling

Physicool provides the key stages of PRICE in a single reusable bandage, providing protection, cooling and compression for the finger to help the healing process. A Physicool bandage can be applied to the injury and the cooling effect recharged by spraying Physicool Coolant directly onto the bandage whilst it is in position.

Physicool is a unique cotton bandage impregnated with a patented liquid which draws heat away from the affected tissues by rapid evaporation. While the deep tissues are being cooled, the simultaneous compression effects of Physicool modify the inflammatory response to soft tissue damage which helps promote healing.

Sprained thumb (Skier’s Thumb)

What is a sprained thumb?

Often referred to as skier’s thumb, due to its prevalence in the skiing community, a sprained thumb is characterised by damage to the ulnar collateral ligament at the thumb’s base. Of course, a strained thumb isn’t exclusive to skiers, snowboarders or athletes, and injury can be sustained through various day to day activities.

Symptoms of a sprained thumb

Sprained thumb impairs your ability to grasp items between your thumb and index finger. Thumb pain may not be evident straight away.

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Joint instability

What causes a sprained thumb?

Upon falling, the natural reaction is to extend your arms to break the impact. However, the way in which you land on your hand can stretch or tear the ulnar collateral ligament. This injury is typical to skiers, who are prone to falling on the slopes, but can affect anyone who falls in this manner, or somehow overstretches / impacts their thumb.

Sprained thumb treatment

Treatment for a sprained thumb is fairly straightforward.

  • Ice or cooling therapy (Physicool) to relieve the pain and swelling
  • Immobilisation with bandage, cast or splint
  • If the ligament is completely torn, surgery may be required

Physicool provides the key stages of PRICE in a single reusable bandage, providing protection, cooling and compression for the sprained thumb to help the healing process. A Physicool bandage can be applied to the thumb and the cooling effect recharged by spraying Physicool Coolant directly onto the bandage whilst it is in position.

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