Your hands and arms have many delicate bones that can easily become dislocated or even broken.
A dislocation, by definition, is the separation of two bones in the joints, disrupting the ligaments that attach and keep everything together. The type and severity of dislocations vary. A dislocation can be closed (meaning it hasn’t broken through the skin), or open (meaning the bones have pierced the skin, creating an open wound). Open injuries carry a risk of infection and therefore require immediate treatment.
Dislocations of the hand are injuries frequently associated with trauma due to falls, car accidents, or sports. Having low or inadequate bone density increases your chance of developing osteoporosis, which makes your bones brittle and weak and subject to becoming dislocated. Smoking and taking certain medications can also decrease bone density and increase the likelihood of dislocation.
When dislocations occur in the hand, they may pop back in (auto-reduction) or require surgery called a reduction to manipulate and arrange the joints back into their original position.
Preventing Hand Injuries, Including Dislocations
So how to prevent these types of injuries?
The best approach is to improve the strength, flexibility and function of the hands. This can be done in a number of ways, including:
· Exercises. Specific to the hand, of course, but also those that promote balance and stability, which will help prevent falls that can lead to injuries such as hand dislocations. Some exercises that may help include (for each, repetitions of 10 per hand is a good place to start):
o Grip-strengthening: Squeeze your fist and hold it tight for a few seconds, then release.
o Stretch: With the palm down on a tabletop, extend all fingers and thumb, and hold for 30 seconds then release. You can also hold your palm up in the air, outstretched, then bend your thumb until it touches your pinky finger, and hold for 30 seconds.
o Dexterity: Keeping your hands and fingers moving can help with flexibility and range of motion. Anything that involves small movements of the fingers or palm may help, such as shelling peas or playing with clay.
If your hands or fingers are stiff before exercising, try warming them up first by soaking them in warm water, or wearing gloves for a few minutes.
Ask your orthopedic physician for advice on what exercises might work best for you, given your current physical condition and risk factors for injury.
· Nutrition and diet. Getting adequate calcium can help ensure your bones are getting the nutrients they need to remain strong.
· Quit smoking. Smoking can lead to lowered bone density, which can cause falls and dislocation injuries.
At Watauga Orthopaedics, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons use the latest technologies and treatment options to get you back to living your life to its fullest.
Do you have a hand dislocation or other orthopedic injury that needs treatment? Find out what we can do for you by calling Watauga Orthopaedics at (423) 282-9011 to request an appointment, or schedule an appointment online.