What should you do for treating hand injuries? As we begin playing outside we often see injuries with broken fingers and hands. If you sustain an injury and you are not sure how bad it is, start with RICE. RICE is an acronymic word meaning: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Rest can also be immobilization. Buy a brace or finger splint at the grocery store. If you buy a wrist splint—try to get it to be 2/3 of your forearm length. Braces at just the wrist don’t have enough length to keep the wrist immobilized.
Ice does not need to be right on the injury— Ice for 10-15 minutes 3-4X per day.
The purpose of ice is to constrict blood vessels, so you can put it at the elbow or forearm to achieve the constriction of blood vessels.
Compression is a little trickier. Ace wrap or Coban self adhesive wrap but make sure it is a gentle compression—Don’t try to prevent all swelling from entering the hand or finger. Swelling is caused by the body trying to immobilize and heal an injury.
Elevation—Prop it up on pillows or the back of the sofa at home. You want it higher than the heart. If it is not feeling much better in 48 hours, then go to your doctor. If the extremity looks funny or seems unstable go to either the emergency room or one of the urgent cares with an x-ray machine.
The RICE protocol should be done for up to a week. If the injury isn’t substantially better, please see an orthopedic Hand Surgeon. Hand Surgeons treat and diagnose upper extremity injuries up to the shoulder. Treating hand injuries can be complicated, and it helps to have an expert on your side, our team at LB Hand Therapy can help to make your recovery as quick and painless as possible. For more information on LB Hand Therapy’s services click here.