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Common Injuries of the Hand

The hand is one of the most unique and complicated structures of the human anatomy, performing fine motor skills with agility and dexterity, but also tasks requiring strength and stability. The 19 bones of the hand are supported by ligaments, tendons and muscles, along with a rich supply of blood vessels and nerves that supply the brain with sensations such as touch, pain and temperature.

Aside from trauma to the thumbs and fingers (such as sprains, strains and fractures), the most common complaint is pain and numbness in the hand caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). The carpal tunnel is the opening that allows the median nerve and flexor tendons to travel through the wrist to the hand. CTS symptoms arise when the opening is narrowed, or the tissues within the tunnel inflame and expand.

There are a number of causes and risk factors associated with CTS, including force (trauma to the wrist), posture, wrist alignment, stress from prolonged, repetitive movement (cashiers and typists), temperature and vibration. Other factors that may increase the likelihood of developing CTS include smoking, obesity and caffeine intake.

Effective treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome requires a thorough physical examination and careful history of the condition. Non-operative treatments include bracing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. Surgical intervention may be indicated if non-operative treatments fail or in the case of acute CTS.

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