Handcare.org is a patient resource created by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the oldest and most prestigious medical specialty society dedicated to the hand, wrist, arm and shoulder.
from Everyday Health
By Glenn D. Cohen, MD, Special to Everyday Health
People all over the world of various cultures, religions, and nationalities use their hands to greet one another, communicate through sign language, hold their babies, do work, and more. Hands are a universal part of our humanity, and the hand is one of the most vital parts of the body. Here’s proof: One-fourth of the motor cortex in the brain is dedicated to controlling muscles in your hands. Yet what I’ve learned as a hand surgeon is that many people don’t know a lot about their hands. Here are some hand misconceptions I’ve encountered over the years.
Recently, I treated a tough young defensive end who was sure his finger wasn’t broken because he could move it. He insisted on getting back in the game. “Just because you can move it doesn’t mean it’s not broken,” I told him. Only a doctor, using an X-ray, can make the definitive call.
In high school football, the hand is the most commonly fractured body part, according to a study published in 2012 in The American Journal of Sports Medicine. More than 150,000 football players under age 15 seek treatment for injuries each year, and one out of every seven of those injuries are to the hand, finger, or wrist.
Whether it’s an arm cast, wrist splint or finger splint, many types of casts can help your recovery from surgery or an injury. Casts are hard, made with plaster or fiberglass, while splints are lighter and can be taken on and off more easily. These are important to protecting you while your injury heals, so follow these tips to take good care of your cast or splint:
Be sure to contact your doctor if you have worsening pain, excessive swelling, numbness or tingling in your fingers, burning or stinging, or loss of movement in your fingers while wearing a cast. Learn more about casts and splints at www.HandCare.org.
Dr. Tamara Clancy answers your questions about thumb arthritis, also known as arthritis base of the thumb.
What is the painful bump at the base of my thumb?
This is more than likely wear-and-tear arthritis, and the bump is one of the bones (metacarpal) that becomes prominent as the joint wears out (cartilage thins).
What is the cause?
The cause is the cartilage in the joint thinning out. Some of this is genetic (inherited). Injury and joint laxity (being “double-jointed”) may contribute to developing this as well. It is also more common in women.
Is there any way to know if my pain will get worse?
No — this is a problem that usually gets worse as we get older, but there is no way to predict how rapidly the pain will progress in a particular person.
What is happening to my fingertip? It doesn’t go straight anymore.
If you can’t extend the tip of your finger, you may have what is called a mallet finger. This happens when the end of the tendon that lifts your fingertip becomes separated from the fingertip. There are a few different ways this can happen.
Do I need to do anything about this? Will it heal on its own?
If you have a mallet finger, it needs to be treated; it will not heal on its own. You should consult with your doctor, and possibly a hand surgeon.
A hand surgeon? That sounds serious!
It may be. Sometimes the tendon comes off the fingertip with a portion of the bone – sometimes it only comes partially off. Having a specialist assess it and direct you will ensure you have a good outcome.
Can’t get that ring off your finger? A stuck ring can be the result of a ring that’s too small, arthritic joints or swelling. Regardless of the reason, here is a safe way to remove it: