Hand Injuries From Work: Prevention And Treatment
Do you spend most of your work week staring at a laptop and typing away? Ever feel an ache or numbness running up your arms and fingers? It’s a sign that the repetitive motion of typing is causing a strain.
Perhaps you don’t work in an office and instead work as a delivery driver, transporting goods all around Singapore. The daily grind of lifting and carrying goods to the doorsteps can also cause a hand injury.
As both scenarios show, hand injuries can happen across industries. In your own line of work, you have experienced pain and discomfort in your hands. Perhaps you haven’t been able to identify just what is wrong with your hand.
To help you, we’ve put together this guide on common hand injuries at work and treatment options in Singapore.
Common Hand Injuries In The Workplace
Your hand is made up of various muscles and bones. The type of injury you get varies based on the affected part.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This common condition affects the arm and wrist, causing pain, numbness and weakness. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, is compressed or squeezed along the carpal tunnel, a narrow passage in the wrist.
There are a few causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, including hand injuries and repetitive hand and wrist movements during assembly or typing. Pregnancy can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome. As the baby grows and the uterus expands, the mother’s weight increases, which may put pressure on the hands and wrists.
Also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, this condition affects the tendons in the fingers, causing pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving the affected fingers. It occurs when the tendons that control the movement of the fingers become inflamed or swollen. Repetitive finger movements are usually the cause. These are not isolated to typing officer workers. Musicians may also strain their hands when vigorously plucking strings or tapping keys.
There are other factors in developing trigger finger in Singapore. Our tendons become less flexible as we age, making them more susceptible to inflammation and swelling. Additionally, certain medical conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid can cause inflammation in the tendons.
A hand injury or hand fracture in Singapore is a break or crack in one of the bones in your hand. This can happen due to trauma from a fall, a car accident or other injuries. Moreover, bones become more brittle and susceptible to fractures as we age. Experiencing osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak due to loss of calcium and other minerals, is not uncommon in the older population.
Symptoms of a hand fracture are not that different from carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger. Its symptoms may range from pain and swelling to numbness and bruising in the affected area. Difficulty in moving and visible deformity are also signs of a hand fracture.
The Available Treatments
Carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, and wrist fractures are common injuries anyone can experience at any stage of life. Depending on the severity, there are two options: non-surgical and surgical.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Non-surgical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include wearing a sling, taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, and getting cortisol injections to reduce pain and inflammation.
Surgery may be necessary if the condition does not improve with non-invasive procedures. Carpal tunnel release comes in two forms:
- Open Release – In this procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the wrist and cuts the carpal ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
- Endoscopic Release – In this procedure, the surgeon makes one or two small incisions in the wrist and inserts a tiny camera called an endoscope. Guided by the camera, the doctor then uses a surgical instrument to cut the ligament.
Non-surgical treatments for trigger finger include taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and getting cortisol injections.
If non-surgical treatments are not effective, surgery may be necessary. Trigger finger release comes in two forms:
- Open Surgery – In this procedure, a small incision is made in the palm or finger to expose the constricted tendon sheath. The surgeon then cuts the sheath to allow the tendon to move freely.
- Percutaneous Surgery – Using ultrasound, the surgeon guides a needle to the constriction site and then uses the needle to cut the constricted tendon sheath.
Non-surgical treatments for wrist fractures include taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and getting cortisol injections to reduce pain and inflammation.
If the bones are severely displaced or unstable, surgery may be necessary. This involves inserting pins and rods to keep the bones in place. After surgery, you may need to wear a sling and undergo physical therapy for healing.
Hand injuries can vary based on the type of work you are involved in. Nevertheless, there are some general tips we can follow to keep our workplaces safe.
- Use the Right Tools: When working with tools, make sure you are using the right one for the job. Using the wrong tool can cause strain and injuries to your hands.
- Take Breaks: If your work requires repetitive hand movements, take frequent breaks to rest your hands and stretch your fingers.
- Use Protective Gear: If your work involves handling heavy equipment or hazardous materials, make sure you wear appropriate gloves and other protective gear to prevent injuries.
- Practise Good Posture: Poor posture can lead to hand injuries. Make sure you sit and stand with a straight back and keep your shoulders relaxed.
Looking For A Hand Fracture Treatment Specialist In Singapore? Consult Us To Get A Thorough Analysis And A Comprehensive Treatment Plan.
Hand injuries are common in the workplace and delaying treatment can make matters worse. By getting help from a professional, you can not only heal your hand but also find out how you can prevent such injuries from happening again.
At Spire Orthopaedic Centre, we have years of experience in diagnosing and treating hand injuries from work, sports and other areas. Contact us today for a consultation.