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Hand Injuries (cont.)

Hand Injury Follow-up

After the initial evaluation and treatment, almost all hand injuries will require close follow-up with a hand specialist and a primary care doctor. Most injuries will need to be checked within one week after the first evaluation and treatment. Some injuries may require a series of office visits or interventions (with tendon lacerations, infections, fractures, second- or third-degree burns) to achieve complete healing while others (simple or shallow cuts, first-degree burns, small fingertip amputations) may only require one or no follow-up visits.

Hand Injury Prevention

The use of appropriate safety equipment during sports and occupational activities could prevent or limit the extent of fractures, dislocations, cuts, and burns. Normal household safety measures, especially with small children, will also decrease the chances of all injuries, including those to the hands. The key to decreasing the long-term effect of a hand injury is timely medical evaluation and treatment.

Hand Injury Prognosis

Most hand injuries will heal without significant loss of function if evaluated by a doctor soon after the injury. Almost all hand injuries require a medical evaluation because even the most insignificant hand injuries have the potential for serious or crippling loss of function.

Many factors will play a role in determining how well the injury heals with the least limitation of function.

  • Type of injury
  • Severity of injury; amputations, tissue loss, ligament damage or loss usually have a more guarded outlook
  • Delay of definitive medical evaluation and treatment leads to poorer outcomes
  • Compliance to treatment plan (keeping appointments, taking medications, and changing dressings as directed, for example) helps to enhance an outcome

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

REFERENCES: Hand Injury Slideshow. High-Pressure Hand Injury. Soft Tissue Hand Injury Differential Diagnoses. Finger, Hand, and Wrist Injuries.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2016
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