Our Extraordinary Hands

Boy, if there’s anything we take for granted in this world it’s those ever-useful appendages on the ends of our arms. We call them hands.

We work with them, eat with them, talk by waving them around. We type, tickle and touch with them. We literally talk with them if you happen to use sign language or hold up a finger across your lips to dictate silence, please.

 

Want to clap? Use your hands. Want to slap? Use your hands. Want to wave hello or pick up a coin. You get the idea.

For all the use we get out of our hands, it’s a wonder they aren’t the cause of more visits to the doctor’s office. We have podiatrists who specialize in feet and what do our feet do? Not so much. You can even walk on your hand if you know how. Can you play the piano with your feet? I rest my case.

Carpal tunnel is a painful over-use injury that is associated with repetitive motion

“Hand doctors”

 

In fact, there’s no name for hand doctors. There is even a sports-oriented medical clinic in Massachusetts that has three doctors who specialize in treating hands. The clinic is called Sports Medicine North. What do they call their hand doctors? Get ready for this. They call them: “Hand doctors.”

 

Hands are incredibly resilient, but there are common injuries that will send patients to seek medical treatment. These are:

  • Ligament tears
  • Bruises
  • Sprains and strain
  • Bone fractures
  • Digit or wrist dislocation
  • Compression injuries
  • Wear and tear injuries – such as carpal tunnel

 

Here are some unusual hand and wrist conditions that can occur. If you have never heard of them, it is a testament to the ability of hands to stay out of trouble.

Carpal tunnel

 

Carpal tunnel is a painful overuse injury that is associated with repetitive motion, such as typing or factory work. Generally, it takes months or years for carpal tunnel to develop, but it can be brought on more quickly by environmental factors, such as typing with your wrists in the wrong position.

Skier’s thumb

 

Another hint that hands are very resilient, skier’s thumb was previously known as “gamekeeper’s thumb.” Who even knows a gamekeeper? Anyone?

This condition is so-named because skiers tend to fall forward. Skier’s thumb is what occurs when they reach out to break the fall and their thumb or thumbs are wrenched backward, tearing or straining the ulnar collateral ligament.

 

Mallet finger

 

It’s likely every youngster with a basketball hoop in the driveway knows about mallet finger. This is also called “baseball finger,” although most call it a “stubbed’ finger. It describes the inability to re-straighten your finger, which occurs after trying to catch a ball, but the ball impacts an extended finger before reaching your palm. This sudden impact results in a mallet finger.

 

De Quervain’s syndrome

 

This is a condition marked by swollen tendons in the interior side of the wrist — on the same side as the thumb. The two tendons that are affected control movement of the thumb.

 

If you find you have pain in your wrists, hands or fingers, do not hesitate to call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114 in San Diego. No one should suffer from wrist, hand or finger pain any longer than they have to. Putting off care can result in further damage that might require a more intensive medical response.

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