Hand and wrist injuries represent just over half of the total injuries sustained by the general population, with the most common injuries being open wounds and fractures. Not everybody seeks professional help for these injuries, but they still are one of the most common sources of trauma injuries seen in GP practices and in hospital emergency rooms.
Did you know:
- One third of all acute injuries seen in emergency rooms involve the shoulder, arm, wrist and hand?
- The most common work-related injuries are injuries to the hand and wrist, which account for more than a third of total work-related hospital cases?
- The most common work-related injury is to the fingers, and the most common injury is an open wound?
- Of the approximately one million sports injuries each year, nearly one third involve the hand, fingers and wrist?
You may be surprised to know just how common certain hand conditions and diseases are. For instance:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome affects approximately 4% of the general population, although this figure varies greatly according to the particular population, and can be as high as 20%.
- Dupuytren’s disease affects as much as a third of the population over 50 years old.
- Arthritis of the hand and wrist affects as much as a third of the population over 25 years old.
Many people live with the pain and inconvenience of these conditions without ever seeking treatment.
Why visit a hand specialist?
Our hands are important. If we injure them, or develop a problem with them, our ability to perform everyday tasks, earn a living and enjoy our leisure time is affected. Without appropriate treatment, the effects of some injuries and conditions can be both permanent and debilitating.
It takes special training to understand all the problems that can occur in the hand, the way in which a problem in one element of the hand affects the others, and the best course of action to be taken to restore overall hand function.
Hand surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat all the problems that occur in the hand and wrist. They undertake special training in hand surgery on top of their pre-existing qualifications as orthopaedic, plastic or general surgeons. They recognise that not all problems require surgery, and will recommend non-surgical treatments where they are more appropriate.
Hand therapists are occupational therapists and physiotherapists who specialise in the treatment of upper limb (shoulder to hand) conditions. They undertake further education, perform independent study and acquire clinical experience specific to the upper limb. They recognise and can treat a variety of chronic and acute hand injuries and conditions, and offer both pre-operative and post-operative therapy for surgical patients.