Athletes and Hand Injuries

The hand has an intricate design and function. It is an amazing work of anatomic engineering. Form follows function in the hand, therefore, any injury to any of its underlying structures potentially results to serious handicap. Injuries to the hand are common in athletes because their hands frequently absorb impact during sports activity. Sports-related injuries often involve the supporting ligaments, tendons, or bones.

Hand Injuries in Sport

Hand injuries, both chronic and acute, are more common encounters by medical teams in various sports especially boxing, judo, and weightlifting. A number of injuries can occur in an athlete’s hands. They can be classified into traumatic (acute) and overuse (chronic).

Traumatic injuries are common in athletes who participate in sports that require higher levels of contact such as hockey, or wrestling. Athletes tend to overdo or repetitively perform a particular movement as required in their field of sport, thus resulting in overuse injuries. Examples of these are swings in baseball, tennis, and golf.

Common traumatic injuries in sports commonly include tendon inflammation and dislocation, sprains, muscle strains, broken bones, tendon inflammation, and ligament tears. The most common fracture injury in the athletic population occurs in the fingers.

Overuse injuries are induced by stress. Injuries from overuse include tendon inflammation and dislocation, nerve injury, and overuse stress fractures. Long-term disability is less likely to be a result of overuse injuries than from traumatic injuries. However, if not given proper treatment, it may reduce performance level of an athlete.

The use of the hand in different sports affects how they are injured. For instance, in rugby football and its American and Australian derivatives, players grasp not only the ball but also their opponents. In basketball and volleyball, the moving ball is struck directly by the hand. Propelling a ball at preferred movement in bowling can cause hand problems. Throwing sports are more likely to injure the hand and wrist. In golf, a club strikes a stationary ball. In racket games, the ball is moving. Hockey involves direct clashes between players. In cricket, baseball, and rounders, while only one player uses a bat, the others may or may not wear protective gloves. Gloves are also used in boxing, but not in other fighting sports such as judo or karate.

Structure of the Hand

The hand is a grasping organ at the end of your forelimb that exhibits great mobility and flexibility. It has a complex structure. Its anatomy is efficiently organised to carry out a variety of complex tasks, which require a combination of intricate movements and finely controlled force of production.

The important structures of the hand include bones and joints, ligaments and tendons, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Although fully functional hands can accomplish great things, they are susceptible to a number of problems, including arthritis, deformities, nerve disorders, finger clubbing, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures, sprains, strains, cuts, and bruises.

Managing Hand Injuries

It is important that all hand injuries assessed in a systematic manner are treated appropriately to minimise the risk of lifelong disability. Home care for hand injuries initially involves proper first aid techniques. In most cases, serious hand injuries will require medical attention.

Therapists and doctors provide excellent management using a combination, of ice compression, therapy, strapping, injections, and anti-inflammatory medication. Health experts advise athletes to practice strengthening exercises on a regular basis. Stretching should be done before playing to refrain from playing through pain. Some stretching and strengthening exercises can help prevent the hands from injury.

If given accurate assessment and early treatment, most hand injuries respond quickly to physiotherapy, letting you resume sporting activities without pain.

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