Common Hand and Wrist Injuries

Common Injuries

Oct 12, 2018


We use our hands for everyday tasks like typing, driving, writing, and picking things up.

So, it should come as no surprise that hand and wrist injuries are extremely common.

7 of the Most Common Hand and Wrist Injuries

These are some of the most commonly experienced injuries.


  1. Thumb Sprains

Thumb sprains occur when the ligaments supporting it stretch beyond their limits or tear. Most sprains involve the ulnar collateral ligament located inside the thumb’s knuckle joint. Thumb sprains usually happen when a strong force bends the thumb away from the palm of the hand.

Treatment typically requires wearing a splint or cast to prevent the thumb from moving while the ligament heals. More severe sprains may require surgery to restore joint stability.

  1. Wrist Sprains

Wrist sprains are most often the result of a high-impact fall onto an outstretched hand. These sprains vary in severity depending on the degree of injury to the ligaments. Damage can range from a tiny tear in the ligament fibers to a complete tear through the ligament or even detachment from the bone.

Symptoms of a sprained wrist may include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Warm feeling around the wrist
  • Popping or tearing feeling inside the wrist
  • Pain

Treatment options vary. For minor sprains, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) are recommended. Severe sprains may require surgery to repair fully torn ligaments.

Bone Injuries

  1. Hand Fractures

Hand fractures are breaks in one or more of the bones in the hand, including the small bones of the fingers and the long bones within the palm. Fractured hands are usually the result of a fall, crush injury, twisting injury or through direct contact in sports.

Symptoms of a hand fracture include:

  • Swelling
  • Deformity
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Inability to move the fingers

In most cases, hand fractures will heal without surgical treatment but may require wearing a cast or splint for a short period. Severe fractures typically necessitate surgery to realign the broken bone fragments.

  1. Wrist Fractures

A broken wrist can happen when any of the ten bones connected to the wrist break. A break in the radius is the most common cause of a wrist fracture. Breaks commonly occur following a hard fall onto an outstretched hand.

Signs of a wrist fracture include:

  • Difficulty moving the wrist
  • Swelling
  • Tingling feeling in the fingertips
  • Visible deformity

Treatment can be as simple as having the bones reset and wearing a cast. More severe fractures can benefit from surgery to put the broken bones back together and hold them in the right position.

  1. Dislocations of the PIP Joint

Dislocations of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint are one of the most common injuries to the hand. The PIP joint is located above the knuckle and typically sustains injury when the finger is either hyperextended or forced downward into a bent position.

Symptoms include:

  • Disfigured joint
  • Loss of joint function

PIP joint dislocations rarely require surgery. They can be treated with an immobilizing splint or by buddy taping the injured finger to an adjacent one.

Soft Tissue and Closed Tendon Injuries

  1. De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. The exact cause of the syndrome isn’t known, but frequent, repetitive hand or wrist movement can worsen it.

Symptoms of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis include:

  • Difficulty moving the thumb and wrist when grasping or pinching
  • Swelling near the base of the thumb
  • A sticking or stop-and-go sensation in the thumb when moving it

Treatment options are designed to reduce inflammation, prevent reoccurrence, and preserve movement in the thumb. Medication and physical therapy are common methods of treatments but surgery may be necessary in severe cases.

  1. Mallet Finger

When a ball or other object strikes the tip of the finger and forcibly bends it, the tendon that straightens the finger can tear. A mallet finger is the resulting deformity of this kind of injury. This condition is sometimes referred to as baseball finger.

Signs of mallet finger include:

  • Inability to straighten the fingertip
  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling

Most mallet finger injuries can be treated without surgery. Your doctor will recommend wearing a splint for about two months. They will instruct you on how to wear it and demonstrate exercises to maintain motion in the middle joint.

Emergency Medical Services at Complete Care ER

Our hands are crucial to everyday life, which is why keeping them healthy is so important.

Whether you’ve sprained your thumb, fractured your wrist or anything in between, Complete Care ER’s locations throughout Texas and in Colorado Springs are here to care for you 24/7. Our attentive medical staff will make sure you receive prompt, thorough, high-quality care.

Stop by the Complete Care ER location nearest you the next time you need quality emergency care!