Common Hand And Wrist Injuries And How To Avoid Them

Common Hand And Wrist Injuries And How To Avoid Them

Posted on 07/28/2017

Many of us take the use of our hands and wrists for granted. However, their extensive use does put them at high risk of injury, and when this happens, we can find it having a serious impact on our day to day life. Sometimes wrist injuries happen quickly, and can be identified by the sudden onset of pain. Other times, wrist injuries develop much more slowly and may start as a dull ache or a little discomfort. Over time, the pain may get continually worse until has a significant effect on your ability to complete your usual daily routine.

No-one wants or needs the inconvenience of hand or wrist problems. Here is our guide to some of the most common hand and wrist injuries and how to avoid them.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a term used to describe pain felt in the muscles, tendons and nerves as a result of overuse. It affects various parts of the upper body, and is commonly seen in the hands and wrists, particularly in patients who spend a large amount of time typing at a computer.

Key symptoms include stiffness, throbbing, tingling or numbness, weakness and pain in the affected areas. In the early stages of the condition, the symptoms may only be experienced when performing the action, but as it progresses, the patient will typically feel longer periods of discomfort. 

RSI is often considered to be a work-based condition, and so many employers carry out a risk assessment for RSI in their workplace. This helps to ensure that your work area is comfortable and suitable for you. If you work at a computer, there are specific guidelines which can be followed about the position of your screen, chair, keyboard and mouse.

The most important thing that you can do to minimize your risk of developing RSI is to ensure you are taking regular breaks from repetitive activities, which will give your muscles and tendons the opportunity to relax. 

Wrist sprains and fractures

The wrist is extremely prone to injury, particularly as we naturally thrust our hands outwards if we fall. The scaphoid bone is prone to fracturing, and the more bent back your wrist is in an accident, the more likely the bone is to break.

Unfortunately, scaphoid fractures can be difficult to spot without an x-ray, as they do not usually noticeably swell. If you believe you have injured your wrist, it is certainly worth seeking professional help to ensure that you have not broken a bone.

Sometimes the wrist doesn’t fracture, but instead the ligaments become damaged. This is known as a wrist sprain, and will still require careful rest so that the injury doesn’t become worse.

The best way to prevent a fractured wrist is to do everything possible to avoid falling over. Wear sensible shoes, hazard-check your living space so that there is little to trip over, and install non-slip surfaces and hand-rails if and when necessary. If you do fall, try to minimize the impact on your wrists as much as possible.

Cuts to hands and fingers

Accidental knife slips are one of the most common household injuries. Sometimes cuts can be minor and easily sorted with a band aid, but occasionally you may have an injury that requires more serious medical attention. Larger or deeper cuts can not only split the skin, but also do damage to the underlying tissue including the nerves and tendons. If this happens, you may need professional help to ensure you regain the full feeling and use of your fingers and hands.

If you are planning on using a knife, these safety tips will help prevent any accidents on injuries to your hands or wrists.

-         Slice away from your hand

-         Keep your fingers clear of the blade

-         Curl your fingers under and hold the food with your fingertips so the blade leans against your knuckles instead

-         Secure your cutting board to your worktop so that it doesn’t slip while you are chopping

-         Keep your knives sharp! Blunt knives are more likely to slip.


With care and attention, hand and wrist injuries can be drastically reduced. If you would like specific advice for taking care of your hands or wrists, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Oakland Hand Surgeon Dr. Douglas Chin.


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.