Optimal Orthopedic Care for Athletic Hand Injuries
Sports-related hand and wrist injuries are quite common and can cause significant pain and discomfort. It is important to have these issues addressed as soon as possible to avoid further complications and encourage successful long-term recovery. Dr. Gregg A. Vagner, M.D. is experienced in the treatment of different athletic hand injuries, including conservative measures as well as surgical intervention, depending on your needs. Dr. Vagner has been serving the Austin, TX, area since 2005, and our entire team is dedicated to providing the highest quality care for our patients.
Different Types of Athletic Injuries
Sports-related injuries are often treated in the emergency room. While it is vitally important to address the problem as soon as possible, it is also recommended to see an orthopedic surgeon so you can optimize healing and return to complete function. Dr. Vagner’s areas of expertise can be categorized into three classifications:
- Hand Injuries: Injuries of the hand include, but are not limited to, trigger finger, sprained fingers, tendon tears, fractures, bruises, skier’s thumb, cellulitis infection, and dislocation.
- Wrist Injuries: Common wrist injuries include sprains, strains, fractures, TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) tears, bruised wrist, or dislocation.
- Elbow Injuries: Sports-related injuries to the elbow commonly include sprains, strains, dislocation, tennis elbow, bruises, fractures, elbow bursitis, ulnar nerve compression, or muscle tears.
Traumatic Sports Injuries
Athletes who participate in contact sports such as wrestling, football, or hockey are more likely to sustain traumatic sports injuries. This type of injury is classified as an acute, sharp pain that occurs as a direct result of trauma. Common traumatic sports injuries include:
- Muscle Strain: A pulled muscle can occur when your hand or wrist twists or bends in an unnatural position.
- Tendon Inflammation: Sudden trauma, such as sprains or strains, can lead to swelling or inflammation. This occurs when the protective shield around your tendons fails to make enough synovial fluid to properly lubricate the area.
- Ligament Tear: The joint is stabilized by the ligaments around it, which prevent extreme movement and maintain healthy function. If left untreated, a ligament tear can result in long-term abnormal or excessive movement.
- Fractures in Fingers: One of the most common sports-related traumatic injury, finger fractures can range in severity. If left untreated, it can result in further issues, such as arthritis.
- Joint Dislocation: When the joints are forced out of their proper position, it results in pain and loss of normal function. These types of injuries often occur from a fall that bends the wrist or fingers backwards.
Dr. Vagner practices a conservative approach and believes in the use of non-surgical treatments when possible.
Chronic Sports Injuries
Athletes who repeat specific movements while playing their sport of choice can suffer from chronic injuries. These overuse injuries are likely to occur in patients who play golf, tennis, baseball, or soccer and often have long-term effects. Common chronic sports injuries include:
- Tendonitis: When excessive pressure is placed on a tendon too soon, tendonitis can occur. This condition can also be activated by the consistent repetition of incorrect techniques.
- Stress Fractures: Oftentimes, there is minimal pain at the onset of a stress fracture. However, it typically worsens gradually over time. Many patients notice that the symptoms subside during periods of rest.
- Nerve Injuries: Overstretching the hand and wrist can result in damage to a nerve or nerve ending. Symptoms may include pain, tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation.
Available Treatment Options
Because each injury is unique, treatment will vary depending on the specific situation. Dr. Vagner practices a conservative approach and believes in the use of non-surgical treatments when possible. For minor injuries, such as tendonitis, effective treatment may consist of cold compresses and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. More moderate injuries, such as ligament tears or stress fractures, could require x-rays, splints or casting. The most severe cases, including tendon tears and dislocation, may need hand surgery.
During a thorough examination, Dr. Vagner will perform a series of assessments. X-rays will likely be taken to determine the extent of your injury. Your range of motion will be evaluated, and any necessary non-emergency procedures can be performed in-office.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you are suffering from the symptoms of a sports-related injury, schedule a consultation with Dr. Vagner. We encourage you to call our office at (512) 476-2830 or contact us online to schedule your appointment as soon as possible.