Hand infections can cause serious problems and symptoms, both before and after the infection is resolved. They can result in stiff hands, weak hands, and loss of tissues such as skin, nerve and bone. It is important to visit a hand surgeon immediately and get early treatment if you have signs of one of these hand infections:
1. Atypical Mycobacterial Infection: This infection can result from puncture wounds from fish spines or contamination of a wound or cut from stagnant water (in nature or from aquariums). It will come on gradually, and you may feel stiffness and swelling.
2. Bite Wound Infection: This can be caused by a human or animal bite due to bacteria in the mouth. Seek treatment immediately after a bite wound.
3. Cellulitis: This is a skin infection that can cause skin redness, warmth, and pain. People with cellulitis may have a fever or feel sick. Seek treatment immediately, as this infection can cause serious problems.
4. Deep Space Infection: One of the compartments or “deep spaces” of the hand can become infected even from a small puncture. A pocket of puss may form at the base of the thumb, on the palm, or between the fingers.
A systemic disease is a disease that affects other parts of the body, or even the whole body. The hands are complex. They are composed of many types of tissue including blood vessels, nerves, skin and skin-related tissues, bones, and muscles/tendons/ligaments. Because of this complexity, the hands may suffer from side effects of systemic diseases. Here are some examples that may affect the hand:
1. Arthritic Swelling: Swelling of the middle joint of a finger is called a Bouchard’s node, and swelling at the small finger joints are called Heberden’s nodes.
2. Dactylitis: Dactylitis can sometimes be associated with psoriatic arthritis. It can cause swelling and stiffness in the fingers. There also may be pain. This swelling may be improved with medicines for the problem causing it.
3. Mucous Cyst: With a mucous cyst, if the skin becomes thin, the cyst may break resulting in drainage of a clear sticky fluid. This may allow bacteria to reach the nearby joint, causing a joint or bone infection.
Dr. Steven H. Goldberg answers your questions about Dupuytren’s contracture.
I noticed a new lump on the palm of my hand, and I noticed my tendon is visible and tight where I can’t fully straighten my finger. What could this be?
Dupuytren’s contracture, or fibromatosis, is a condition that can cause lumps on the palm of the hand; it also causes cords on the palm or fingers. The cord is not the tendon but rather a thickening of the fascia, a normal structure below the skin. The cord contains myofibroblasts which have a muscle-like quality that pull on the skin causing puckering, dimpling, and bending of the finger. The lumps and cords can also occur on the soles of the feet. Some people are more likely to have this disease due to genetics.
How do you know this lump is Dupuytren’s and not cancer?
Most lumps in the palm are not cancerous. Skin cancers are more common in sun-exposed areas, so a lump on the back of the hand is more likely to be cancerous compared to one on the palm. Dupuytren’s lumps in the palm of the hand most commonly form in the ring and small finger. Skin puckering or dimpling can occur, and you typically can’t fully straighten your fingers. This loss of motion is less common with other masses or tumors. Dupuytren’s lumps are typically not painful and usually do not grow much. A more worrisome bump or lump is often painful, can have rapid growth, and can either be painful at night or when resting. If a patient is very concerned about the lump, it can be surgically biopsied to confirm it is Dupuytren’s contracture.
Do your hands always seem cold? You may have cold hand disease, which is a condition that can occur due to a decrease in blood flow in the hand. Here are some signs that you may have this disease:
- Your hands are cold even in mild weather.
- Your fingers hurt in cold temperatures.
- You have to wear gloves when handling frozen foods.
- Your hands turn a shade of blue, white or red sometimes.
- Minor cuts on your fingers take longer to heal than normal.
In a normal hand, blood travels from the heart, down the arm, all the way to the fingertips, which keeps the hands warm. In an individual with cold hand disease, blood flow is decreased due to vasoconstriction (when the blood vessels in the hand become smaller, allowing less blood to flow) or vaso-occlusion (when the normal process of temporarily applying more muscle pressure to your blood vessels becomes abnormally strong or prolonged).
Football season is finally here! My friends and I like to go play a few flag football games during this time of year. I really don’t see too many football hand injuries putting NFL players on the disabled list (DL). Should I be concerned about hand injuries?
Numerous studies find a large percentage of emergency room visits are for hand injuries from recreational sports. Nearly half of these are from either football or basketball. Unfortunately, NFL players tend to play through their finger injuries. Take a look at Michael Strahan talking about his finger injuries. (How about the most twisted hand injuries in NFL history?)
What kind of hand injuries should I worry about?
As you can see from the video and photos of the NFL players, hand injuries from football typically involve tendons, ligaments and/or bones. Injuries to the tendons that straighten the finger are called mallet finger and central slip injuries. A jersey finger is an injury to the tendon that bends the finger.
The thumb and the middle joints of the fingers (jammed finger) are prone to ligament injuries. Hand injuries can progress to deformities if left untreated. An example of this is a boutonniere deformity.
(CNN) – For the past 15 years, Tanya Johnson has been driving her boss nuts.
It’s not her job skills — Dr. Robert Szabo says Johnson is an excellent nurse — but rather her incessant knuckle-cracking that makes him want to strangle her.
“I kept telling her to stop, that it was bad for her,” Szabo said.
You’d think Johnson might have listened, given that Szabo is a hand surgeon at the UC Davis Medical Center and former president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
But she just kept right on cracking.
“I told him, ‘Prove that it’s bad,’ ” she said.
Dr. Ben Jacobs answers your questions about Mallet Finger:
My finger droops even when I try to straighten the tip. What is going on?
A mallet finger is a very common condition and can happen to any of the fingers. It occurs when the tendon that straightens your finger pulls away from the bone at the end of the finger. Sometimes the tendon takes a small piece of bone with it (mallet fracture) and other times not. It might or might not hurt. Mallet fingers need treatment if you want to be able to straighten the finger again.
When should I seek treatment for my injury?
In the case of mallet finger, a trip to the emergency room isn’t usually needed unless the skin on the finger is severely injured. However, you should see your doctor or hand surgeon as soon as you can — ideally within a few days or weeks — to begin treatment. Success with treatment sometimes is possible if treatment starts a few months after the injury.