Hand Injuries (cont.)
Hand Injury Diagnosis
Upon arriving at the emergency department or clinic, the medical evaluation may include a medical history and physical examination.
- Past medical history (Does the patient have
diabetes or arthritis?
Does the patient smoke?)
- Hand dominance (Is the patient right or left handed?)
- Occupation, extracurricular activities, and hobbies (How does the patient use
- Mechanism of injury (How did the injury occur?)
- Visual inspection (look at the injury)
- Sensory nerve exam (feeling)
- Vascular exam (circulation or blood supply)
- Muscular and tendon exam (movement and strength)
- Bone exam (broken bones or dislocated joints)
The doctor may order
X-rays after the history and physical exam, if warranted. Certain hand injuries will require
X-rays to identify fractures or dislocations or to rule out foreign bodies.
After a thorough evaluation, the diagnosis usually falls within one of these common injury categories.
- Fractures and dislocations
- Soft tissue injuries and amputations
- Thermal burns
- First-degree burn: Superficial, involvement of the outermost layer of skin, characterized by pain, redness, swelling
- Second-degree burn: Partial skin thickness, characterized by blistering
- Third-degree burn: Extends completely through all skin layers, characterized by lack of pain and sensation
- Chemical burns
- Electric burns
- Cold injury or frostbite
- Foreign body
- High pressure infusion (grease gun, paint gun)
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