Sports are a great way for adults and children alike to stay in shape and be physically active. Unfortunately, they can also be a common source of hand and wrist injuries.
Hand and wrist injuries are among the most common sports-related injuries that impact athletes on all levels, from those who play recreational and pick-up games to those who compete on a professional level.
Luckily, with proper treatment and management, most athletes can recover fully from the hand and wrist injuries they sustain while playing sports.
Understanding Hand and Wrist Injuries
There are two main categories that most hand and wrist injuries fall into: acute and chronic.
Acute Sports Injuries
Acute injuries are traumatic injuries caused in one specific instance. They occur most commonly in athletes who participate in contact sports, like football, soccer, or hockey.
Acute injuries include joint dislocations, sprains, bone fractures, and ligament tears. These injuries can occur in the hands and wrists, and in other areas of the body as well.
Chronic Sports Injuries
Chronic sports injuries develop over time and are typically caused by overuse or overdoing a specific motion or movement. They are stress-induced and occur most commonly in athletes participating in sports like golf, baseball, or tennis, which require a lot of repetitive movement.
Chronic injuries include things like tennis elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, and tendonitis. Though they can be painful and impact an athlete’s ability to perform, chronic sports injuries tend to be less likely to cause permanent disability than acute sports injuries.
Common Sports Injuries That Impact the Hands and Wrists
There are a few hand and wrist injuries that are especially common among athletes. These injuries include:
Sprains in the fingers, hands and wrists are the result of stretched or torn ligaments. They can be caused by a variety of activities associated with sports, including breaking a fall with your hand or wrist or overextending your wrist or finger while making a catch. Thumb sprains and wrist sprains are among the most common types of sprains that occur in athletes.
Typically, sprains are acute injuries, meaning they happen in one instance instead of developing over time. There are a number of different grades of sprain, ranging from minor tears to complete ruptures. Treatment and recovery for a sprain will depend largely on the type and degree of sprain that has occurred.
Keep in mind that it’s important to seek medical attention if you think you have sustained a sprain. A doctor can rule out a more serious injury and help you to understand what steps you need to take to ensure your sprain heals fully.
The hands and wrists are made up of dozens of small bones, and they are actively used in almost all sports, putting them at risk for injury.
Fractures are acute injuries that typically occur when the force of contact during a sport is more than the bone can take. Colliding with another player during a soccer game, being roughly tackled during a football game, getting hit by a pitch during a baseball game – all of these situations are scenarios in which a fracture could occur.
Fractured fingers are some of the most common bone injuries among athletes, along with broken wrists and hand fractures. The most common type of hand fracture is known as the boxer’s fracture, which injures the bone connecting the little finger to the wrist.
Treatment and recovery time for fractures will depend on the type of fracture that occurred in the hand or the wrist, but all fractures require medical attention to ensure that they heal properly and completely.
Dislocations are another common athletic injury. The dislocation of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint is one of the most common hand injuries caused by sports.
The PIP joint is the joint above the knuckle. The dislocation of this joint is often caused when the finger is forced backwards or forwards into a bent position.
When a finger or joint becomes dislocated, you’ll typically be able to visibly see the displacement. Depending on the severity of the dislocation, it may require anesthesia or surgery to put the finger or joint back into place.
Tendonitis happens as the result of repetitive movements, which makes it a popular chronic injury for athletes who participate in a variety of sports. Though it develops over time rather than in one specific instance, it can be a very painful and serious condition that can require extensive recovery.
Symptoms of tendonitis in the hands and wrists will depend on the type of tendonitis you’re experiencing, but will often manifest itself as tenderness and inflammation in the injured area.
It’s a good idea to seek medical attention at the first sign of tendonitis, so you can attempt to treat the injury before it gets worse and take steps to prevent the worsening of tendonitis in the future, especially after you return to play.
Treating Hand and Wrist Injuries Caused By Sports
These are just a few of the many hand and wrist injuries that athletes can potentially suffer from. Luckily, with proper treatment, it’s possible to make a full recovery from these injuries in most cases!
With all sports injuries, it’s in your best interest to see an experienced hand and wrist doctor to ensure that your injury is treated properly, giving you the best chance for a full recovery.
Looking for a hand and wrist specialist in the Glens Falls NY area? Get to know Dr. Garcia!
As the area’s leading hand specialist, Dr. Garcia provides compassionate care to athletes of all ages. He is a recognized and well-respected surgeon in the area, and has experience treating a broad variety of hand and wrist injuries, both acute and chronic.
Dr. Garcia offers skilled assessments of injuries and will help you to understand what you’re suffering from, and what to do to get moving on the road to recovery. He offers hand and wrist surgical options as well, caring for you from diagnosis through surgery and all the way through your recovery and beyond.
Learn more about what makes Dr. Garcia the premier choice when it comes to hand and wrist specialists in the Glens Falls NY area! Check out the top 3 reasons why local patients with hand and wrist injuries have turned to Dr. Garcia here.
Interested in scheduling a consultation with Dr. Garcia for a hand or wrist injury? Give us a call today at 518-793-0475 or contact us online to get the conversation started. We look forward to helping you heal!