Injuries have always been tied to high-intensity sports and similar activities. Athletes, who often have to undergo long hours of playing and training, are particularly vulnerable to repetitive or trauma-related injuries to the muscles, bones, and ligaments. And of all the sports-induced injuries, 25 percent involve the hands or wrists.
When left unaddressed, hand or wrist injuries can lead to extended medical treatment or even surgery. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to mitigate such injuries. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common hand and wrist injuries and how to easily keep them from occurring.
Common Hand and Wrist Injuries
Among the various types of sporting activities, contact sports such as boxing, basketball, and volleyball are notorious for hand- and wrist-related injuries. In Singapore, some of the most popular sports involve physical contact or strenuous hand activity: football, basketball, baseball, golf, cricket, and volleyball. If you play these sports most of the time, you may want to go to a hand specialist Singapore-based athletes recommend to get expert advice on how to protect your hands and wrists. But before we discuss ways to prevent injuries, let’s talk about some of the most common forms of hand and wrist impairments.
Broken bones or fractures result from increased pressure on the bones due to falling, overuse, or collision. One common type of fracture among football players is scaphoid fracture, which happens when you break one of the tiny bones in your wrist.
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
This type of tendonitis occurs when the tendon along your forearm becomes inflamed. De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is prevalent in sports that require repetitive muscle movements such as tennis, golfing, or fly-fishing.
This type of ligament injury occurs when the thumb has been overextended after being bent backwards in a sudden manner.
You can experience nerve damage when your wrist experiences prolonged compression paired with vibrations. Damage to the median nerve, which is one of the nerves in your wrist, is the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome—a common injury among players of racket sports as well as cyclists, rock climbers, and wheelchair athletes.
Jammed fingers occur when the end of your finger experiences blunt force impact while fully extended. This acute injury is common among basketball players.
Cuts, Lacerations, and Blisters
When you’re playing a contact sport, you should expect a few cuts or scrapes here and there. Blisters can also occur when your skin chafes upon impact on a foreign surface.
How to Prevent Hand and Wrist Injuries
Preventing your hand and wrist from severe injury only takes a few minutes of your time. Here are a few tips on how to do it:
Avoid Wearing Jewelry and Distracting Accessories
Bracelets and necklaces often get in the way of your movements, which is not ideal when playing sports. To ensure that your performance stays optimal, it’s best to avoid wearing accessories altogether while you’re out on the court or in the field.
Wear the Right Gear
While it would serve you well to avoid wearing too many accessories, you should always remember to wear protective gear. Equipment such as gloves, elbow pads, and knee pads are effective in blocking outside forces from impacting your bones and muscles.
Wearing protective gear such as gloves can also protect your skin as well as the nerves underneath from cuts and direct wounds. Additionally, wrist guards can prevent hand or bone fractures when you slide or fall. As such, wrist guards are extremely vital if your sport is skateboarding, rollerblading, or street hockey.
Don’t Forget to Warm Up
Having a warm-up routine allows you to do some light stretching, maintain good posture, and prepare your muscles for extensive activity. That said, exercises such as walking and light running can loosen you up ahead of a game so that you can perform at your best. Stretching your hands should be a constant part of your routine as it will help you get a better grip and prevent related injuries.
However, you should consider adding various exercises to your routine to prevent muscle overuse, which often leads to injuries like tendonitis. It’s also important to take breaks in between exercises to prevent muscle strain.
Check Your Equipment
No matter how efficiently you play, you could still sustain critical injuries due to faulty equipment. Always inspect your gear to make sure that it fits your body properly. Keep an eye out for missing parts or damages such as shards, splinters, cracks, and broken padding. As a rule of thumb, you should never play with faulty or improper equipment.
Follow the Rules
Rules are in place not just to ensure fairness in playing, but also to protect the players themselves. Be sure to follow sporting rules that detail the correct ways of positioning your hands or establish limitations to prevent the aggressive tackling of other players. In this case, following rules are not just meant to ensure decorum—it’s also a way of protecting yourself.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Disregarding the need to take precautionary measures every match day can lead to serious consequences, the most alarming of which are long-term health impacts and mounting hospital expenses. To help you keep safe while having fun, make sure to stay informed about the injuries you might sustain—and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.