Hand injuries: When to go to the ER

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Hands are some of the most important features of our bodies. We use them every day for almost every task, which also makes them an easier target for injuries. Most hand injuries can be treated at home, but, in some instances, a trip to your doctor or even the ER may be necessary.

Common hand injuries:

 Lacerations: If you have a deep cut on the palm of your hand, fingers, or wrist with uncontrollable bleeding, or if the cut is over a joint on the hand, emergency medical care may be necessary. As a general rule, a deep cut should be stitched up within six hours of the injury.

Treatment:

-          Wound cleaning/irrigation

-          Stitches

-          Wound dressing

Hand fractures: Fractures in the wrist and hand are common, especially after a fall. If you suspect a broken wrist or hand, especially with swelling, numbness, or immobility, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. If treatment is delayed, the hand may never heal properly, leaving you with pain, restricted range of motion, and weakened grip.

Treatment:

-          Immobilization with splint or cast

-          Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription pain medication

-          Physical therapy

If the fracture is unstable, has loose bone fragments, or extends to the joint, the surgical implant of an internal fixation device may be necessary for proper healing.

Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries involve the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. If the injury is minor, treatment generally includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

For more severe soft tissue injuries, treatment may include:

-          Immobilization with splint or support bandaging

-          Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription pain medication

-          Physical therapy