The majority of car accident injuries are related to the back, neck, and head, but there are other ways you can be hurt as well. Wrist and hand injuries are actually common responses to a car crash as well. While symptoms may not appear for the first few hours or days, these injuries can be serious and require the care of a hand specialist in Atlanta. One way these injuries often manifest is in a swelling of the fingers, hand, and wrists that have been impacted. If you notice swelling after your car accident, you can take proactive steps to treat the underlying cause.
Common Hand Injuries After Car Accidents
Injuries to the hand can range from minor cuts and bruises to severe damage, depending on the nature of the accident and where your hands were placed. Below are some of the most common accidents that occur.
The bones in the hand and wrist are particularly fragile, and because they are small, there are a lot of them in a condensed space. There are 13 bones that extend from the wrist to the palm and 14 bones that are located in the fingers and thumb. Any blunt trauma can easily lead to a fracture in one or more of these bones. This is common in accidents as the hand can hit a steering wheel, windshield, airbag, or any other component of the car. Knuckles, wrists, the scaphoid bone, and individual fingers are all commonly broken. A hand that is crushed can also experience fractures.
You may have previously sprained your wrist during a fall, when the wrist is bent backward causing the ligaments that hold the bones together to be damaged. This can also happen after a car accident when the wrist collides with a hard surface or is moved in an unnatural way. These sprains are graded depending on the severity of the injury. A grade one sprain is mild and involves stretched but not torn ligaments, while a grade two involves partial ligament tears. The most severe form is a grade three, in which ligaments are entirely torn, which can lead to other medical issues and possible surgical intervention.
When bones are moved out of their natural position, this is known as a dislocation. Grabbing the steering wheel or dashboard to brace for impact can often cause this to happen. A severe dislocation can lead to soft tissue damage as well as permanently impact the bones if not treated.
The bones and muscles in the hand are connected via tendons. When these tendons suffer blunt force trauma, they can become inflamed or damaged and cause pain or more severe problems.
Treating a Swollen Hand
If you begin to notice your hand swelling in the aftermath of a car accident, it is possible you have suffered one of the above injuries or another. Swelling in these cases is often accompanied by pain in the area, bruising or discoloration, numbness, or difficulty with movement.
When you notice your hand or wrist swelling, you can take some steps at home to reduce pain and swelling. Elevating the hand and using ice can help in the short term, as well as limiting the use of the hand as much as possible.
The best thing to do is to contact a hand specialist in Atlanta who will be able to diagnose the cause of the swelling and create a plan to treat the underlying injury. Often these injuries are made worse when they go undetected and you use your hand as normal. Instead, an early plan that involves rehabilitation, pain management, and diagnostic care can help you regain use of the hand quickly and safely.
Take Hand Injuries Seriously
You use your hands for almost any daily task you perform, from turning off your alarm clock in the morning to putting on your pajamas at night. In addition to making these activities more difficult, a chronic hand injury could also affect your ability to perform your job, particularly if you do manual labor or a lot of typing. Because of this, it is important to see a hand specialist in Atlanta as soon as you notice swelling after a car accident.
At AICA Orthopedics, our team of specialists can perform diagnostic scans on the injury to quickly recommend a personalized treatment plan for you. We specialize in injuries caused by car accidents and can help determine the cause of your swelling and the best way to heal it going forward, in one convenient location. Call AICA Orthopedics today to schedule your first visit.