What are the common sports related injuries?
Hands are in the frontline when playing sport and injuries are common. There are a number of common causes of injuries including hyperextension injuries (where a joint is taken beyond its normal limitations), falls, and overuse. There are some sports in which specific injuries are sustained. For instance ulnar sided (the little finger side) wrist injury in tennis, golf and polo is common, or skiers thumb which is caused when the ski pole catches the thumb and pulls it suddenly backwards.
Examples of common sporting injuries include:
- Phalangeal (finger) and wrist fractures
- Tendon ruptures resulting in loss of movement
- Joint sprain and strain (soft tissue injuries)
What can I do about my injury?
People who participate in sports regularly are used to injury. For this reason, some seemingly small injuries are frequently left unattended. Assessment at the time of injury and x-ray, as needed, will ensure that injuries are diagnosed and referred for appropriate treatment.
Injuries of the hand sustained during sport that are not treated appropriately can result in loss of movement or deformity of the finger that is difficult to treat down the track. The right treatment at the time of injury is crucial for a good result.
For the more complex injuries, a referral to a specialist hand consultant will ensure you establish the detail of the injury and provide accurate diagnosis. They may refer to a hand therapist who can provide an assessment and treatment service and will provide appropriate intervention for the swelling, splintage for protection and exercises to achieve movement.
If you are a professional sportsman, having the correct diagnosis and treatment is essential to recovery. An expert will be able to tailor make the rehabilitation to enable you to return to your sport as quickly as possible.
Should I have surgery?
It is very important to liaise with a specialist hand surgeon to establish whether there is any merit to surgery for your injury. In some cases it is definite (e.g. internal fixation of an unstable fracture) but in many cases multiple options may be available and you need to investigate the surgical and conservative alternatives. Whether you have surgery or manage your injury conservatively, therapy is an important aspect of your recovery.
What happens after surgery and non surgical treatment for my injury?
Initially, assessment and education is vital so you understand the detailed nature of your recovery plan. Different techniques will be used to manage your swelling, bruising, pain, wound, loss of movement, loss of function and weakness. Splints are often fabricated to facilitate healing and prevent secondary problems. Rehabilitation is often a fine balance between rest and movement and this is best prescribed by an expert in this field.