Work-Related Hand Injuries
The hand is one of the most flexible and useful parts of our body that assist us in most workplace activities. Hand injuries can range from minor cuts or burns to severe injuries.
Hand Injuries in Industries
Hand trauma at industries is often caused by machine or power tools due to improper handling, improper safety guards and operating the machine under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The injuries are often severe and may include burns, damage to bones, tendons, soft tissue or nerves of the hand.
Types of Work-Related Hand Injuries
The types of work-related hand injuries include:
- Laceration and punctures
- Overuse injuries
- Abrasions and burns
- Trips and falls injuries (fractures)
- Avulsion injuries (detachment of tendon or ligament)
- Compression of nerves
Symptoms of Work-Related Hand Injuries
The symptoms depend on the underlying cause and may include:
- Inflammation and discoloration
- Local warmth
- Decreased range of motion
Causes of Work-Related Hand Injuries
The most common causes include:
- Not wearing protective gloves
- Improper machinery
- Overuse or strain
- Negligence (distraction or not paying attention)
What Happens if Hand Injuries are Left Untreated?
Untreated hand injuries may result in:
- Stiffness of the hand
- Weakened muscles
- Injury to the surrounding tissue
- Progressive cartilage degeneration and arthritis
- Permanent deformity (severe cases)
Diagnosis of Work-Related Hand Injuries
Your doctor physically examines your hand and wrist by performing specific movements to assess the problem. The exact location and severity of the pain are essential to identify the type and extent of the damage. Your doctor takes a medical history and orders imaging tests such as X-ray, CT-scan or MRI. Special tests may be ordered depending on the condition.
Treatment of Work-Related Hand Injuries
Treatment depends on the type of injury caused. Your doctor first recommends non-surgical methods that may include:
- Pain: NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are used to manage pain and inflammation.
- Infection: Antibiotics or antifungals are prescribed to treat infections.
- Burns: Water is used to cool the heat burns followed by application of topical ointments or dressing.
- Wounds: Pressure is applied to stop bleeding. Antiseptic solution is used to clean the wound and then cover it with a bandage.
- Fractures: Ice packs are applied followed by immobilization of the hand. Splints, casts or braces may be used to immobilize the bones.
Surgery may be recommended if you do not respond to non-surgical methods.
Prevention of Work-Related Hand Injuries
It is important for every employer to take proper preventive precautions including regular risk assessments, proper training and implementation of safety measures in industries. Stretching exercises may help prevent strain injuries.
- Wrist Fracture
- Fractures of the Hand and Fingers
- Wrist Sprain
- Flexor Tendon Injuries
- Distal Radioulnar Joint (DRUJ) Arthritis
- Ulnar Nerve Compression in Guyon's Canal
- Scaphoid Facture
- Industrial Hand Trauma
- Distal Radius Osteotomy to Correct Mal-Union (Crooked Painful Wrist)
- Distal Intersection Syndrome
- Distal Biceps Avulsion
- Adult Forearm Fractures
- Arthritis of the Hand and Wrist
- Arthritis of the Thumb
- Ganglion Cyst
- Boutonniere Deformity
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- De Quervain's Tendinosis
- Dupuytren's Contracture
- Hand Pain
- Hand Infections
- Trapeziometacarpal (TMC) Arthritis
- Wrist Injuries
- Wrist Tumors
- Boxer's Fracture
- Swan Neck Deformity
- Carpal Instability
- Bennett's Fracture
- Kienbock's Disease
- Scapholunate Dissociation
- Triscaphoid Joint Arthritis
- Ulnar Carpal Impaction
- Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Injury (TFCC)
- Guyon's Canal Syndrome
- Hand Masses
- Distal Radioulnar Joint (DRUJ) Instability
- Work Related Hand Injuries
- Wrist Ligament Tear and Instability
- Metacarpophalangeal Joint Arthritis