Our hands are some of the most useful and most used tools that we have to perform jobs. From typing and sorting to hammering and welding, we use our hands whether we’re working construction or in an office. But with heavy use comes high risk for injury, so it’s common for workers in all industries to sustain hand and wrist injuries while on the job.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released these hand injury statistics:
- An average of 110,000 workers in the United States miss work because of hand injuries each year.
- Emergency rooms see over one million workers each year with hand or wrist problems.
- Wrist and hand injuries cost workers an average of six days on the job. Workers lose an average of 14 days on the job for hand sprains, strains and tears.
- Each year, over 12,000 job transfers or restrictions result from hand sprains, strains, tears and cuts.
- Hands and fingers are involved in about 20 percent of all workplace injuries.
For the sake of your career and all aspects of your life, your hands need to be healthy, functional and pain-free. At Pain Stop MD, our board-certified physician on staff is here to help you recover as fully as possible. From simple lacerations to complex blunt trauma, our team is equipped to help you.
We treat the following workers in and around the Dallas area:
- Postal workers
- Construction workers
- Office workers and clerks
- Jail and prison workers
- TSA employees
- Registered nurses
- Forest service employees
- Compliance officers
Book a consultation today with our doctor or find out more about our medical services.
Acute Hand and Wrist Injuries at Work
Common workplace hand injuries can range from bruises and lacerations to amputations and detachments. Let’s have a more detailed look at the acute ones.
- Lacerations and punctures. The most common on-the-job incidents include cuts and penetrations. They can be caused by sharp objects in the work area, machinery, falls, and auto accidents.
- Ligament injuries/thumb sprains. They involve the tissues that connect the thumb bones to the join, resulting in pain, weakness, swelling, bruising, and other symptoms. Holding, carrying, or gripping things without pain is difficult with a ligament injury.
- Tendon injuries. These involve the tissue that connects muscle to bone. Mallet finger is one example of a tendon injury, and occurs when a tendon injury at the base of the finger causes the finger to curl, making it difficult to work with your hands.
- Strains. Pulled muscles in the hands are known as strains, and they result from falls, lifting, incidents, and overuse. They make working with your hands painful and difficult. Most strains can be treated with rest and over-the-counter medicine, but they still keep workers from their assigned jobs.
- Fractures. Breaking any one of the 27 bones in your hands can be painful and debilitating. Lots of recovery time is needed for hand fractures, and some require surgery and physical therapy to restore health and range of motion. Most hand fractures are caused by falls and crushing accidents.
- Dislocations. The movement of bones in the hand from their normal position is known as a dislocation. Dislocation requires immediate attention from a doctor and often occurs from falls, jams, or machinery accidents.
- Burns. The most likely victims of burns or electrical burn incidents are factory workers, industrial workers, and construction workers. Most burns occur when workers are not wearing the right hand protection. Surgery and physical therapy may be required for severe burns.
- Amputations and detachments. Amputation of the thumb, a finger, or entire hand is the most serious type of hand injury. Those working industrial jobs with heavy machinery are more at risk. Amputations require immediate medical help and may also permanently affect a worker’s ability to continue his or her career.
Repetitive Motion Hand and Wrist Problems
Hundreds of thousands of workers suffer from chronic, repetitive motion injuries that affect their hands and wrists each year. These occur over time as opposed to during an isolated incident, but are still serious conditions that demand medical attention and preventative measures. Three of the most common repetitive stress health conditions are:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. The most common repetitive motion and overuse injury to the hand, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in hand becomes irritated, inflamed, and compressed. It causes numbness, weakness and tingling, and is most common in middle-aged women. It can be treated with pain management, rest, steroids, and surgery.
- Tendonitis. The inflammation of the tissue that connects muscle to bone is known as tendonitis. Those injured by tendonitis can experience debilitating pain and have difficulty completing tasks at work when it affects their hands and wrists. Pain medication, splints and braces, and physical therapy are used to treat tendonitis of the wrist.
- De Quervain’s disease. While doctors don’t completely know the cause of this disease that affects the thumb side of the wrist, repetitive movements make the condition worse. Medication and physical therapy are used to treat this condition.
Recognizing and getting treatment for these issues as early as possible can help help prevent further damage and long-term issues. Understanding your injury will help avoid re-injury upon returning to work.
All occupations are at risk for hand, wrist and finger injuries. Here are the three most common ways to sustain them:
- Overuse. The most common reason, repetitive tasks and movements lead to the overuse of hands and wrists. These injuries can be painful and long-lasting.
- Falls. Putting out your hand is a common way to break a fall, and can often damage your wrist and hand while saving other parts of your body. Sprained wrists and broken bones are a common result of falls.
- Crushing accidents. The use of heavy machinery puts workers at a higher risk for crushing accidents when falling objects damage hands and figures. The most devastating consequences can result from crushing accidents, including amputation.
Preventing Hand Injuries at Work
Preventing accidents from happening in the first place is the best way to confront them. Steps can be taken for any occupation to avoid both acute and chronic hand and wrist problems. These five tips are a helpful start:
- Use hand protection. Hand protection is important for many jobs, and knowing which hand protection best suits your work is important in keeping your hands healthy. Whether you’re a welder who needs heavy gloves, a chemist who needs rubber gloves, or an office worker who needs wrist support, hand protection can save you from pain and injury.
- Use safeguards. Making certain that all safeguards are working and in place is vital to using heavy machinery. Don’t risk moving a safeguard for convenience or efficiency.
- Be aware of repetitive movements. Regardless of which line of work you are in, it is important to know what motions your work requires become repetitive over time. Repetitive movements and motions can lead to chronic conditions, like tendonitis.
- Know your work environment. Be familiar with your work area, and know all of the pinch points, hot areas and dangers of completing your tasks. Knowing the details of your work area can prevent many hand accidents.
- Give your hands a break. Rest is an important prevention, especially for chronic problems that occur from overuse. Taking breaks is a great way to make sure your hands are in healthy shape when working.
Our physical therapists at Pain Stop MD can help you learn more about how to prevent hand injuries.
Treating Hand and Wrist Injuries at Pain Stop MD From finding the right diagnosis to providing the right treatment, we help those who have been injured on the job at Pain Stop MD. Our full-service clinic offers pain management, injections, prescriptions, physical therapy, and surgery.
Book a consultation today to talk to a doctor and get back the path good health.