Injuries to the hands and upper extremities typically result from causes such as acute trauma, nerve damage or compression, or overuse.
- Acute Trauma or Injuries are caused by a specific event, such as a car accident, fall, or sports injury. An acute injury may lead to a tendon rupture, fracture, or even amputation of the wrists, hands, or fingers.
- Nerve Damage or Compression can lead to weakness, loss of mobility, or loss of sensation in the hands and upper extremities. Carpal tunnel syndrome and brachial plexus injuries are often a result of compressed or damaged nerves.
- Overuse Injuries are caused by repeated motion. Whether from an occupation, sport, or other hobbies, repeated use of the upper extremities (hands, wrists, shoulders) can weaken connective tissue, inflame and compress nerves, and cause pain.
The risk of injury to the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and connective tissues is more exaggerated for some people based on their daily activities.
Occupational risks: the majority of hand injuries come from three high-risk occupations, including the manufacturing industry, mining and natural resources industries, and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries. Farming, construction, installation and maintenance, and transportation workers also experience a higher risk of hand injury compared to other occupations. The most common types of hand injuries are bruises, pinches, lacerations, abrasions, strains, amputations, dislocations, carpal tunnel syndrome, and Raynaud’s disease.
Sporting risks: some sports are more likely to result in hand or upper extremity injuries than others. Contact sports, such as wrestling, football, and soccer, and high-speed sports, such as biking, skateboarding, skiing, and snowboarding, can increase the risk of injury. Athletes and recreational sports enthusiasts who participate in gymnastics and sports that use hand equipment (racquets, ski poles, hockey sticks) are also at risk for hand injuries.
Medical conditions: patients with preexisting conditions, such as inflammatory conditions or conditions that affect the nerves, may also be at an increased risk of developing a hand or upper extremity injury or condition.