Merck Manual

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Common Hand Injuries
Common Hand Injuries

Common hand injuries include

Broken bones

Torn ligaments (called sprains, or ruptures)

Dislocated joints

When a ligament is torn, bones can move out of position, resulting in a dislocated joint.

Hand injuries cause swelling, pain, and stiffness and sometimes limit movement.

Specific Injuries

Scaphoid fractures are a common type of wrist fracture. The area at the base of the thumb is tender and swollen.

Fractures of the hook of hamate may result from striking the ground with a stick or making a divot playing golf. The lower part of the palm at the base of the little finger is tender.

Thumb sprains (such as gamekeeper's thumb, or skier's thumb) are tears in the ligaments that attach the thumb to the hand, usually on the palm side of the thumb. If the ligament is severely sprained, people cannot pinch. Surgery or splinting is needed to repair a sprained ligament.

Rupture of the scapholunate ligament, a ligament in the wrist, may result from falling on an outstretched hand. Pain is felt mostly on top of the wrist. The ligament is usually surgically repaired.

Dislocations of fingers may occur at the base of the thumb or other fingers, at the middle joints of the fingers (usually when the finger is bent too far back), or at the joints near the fingertips.

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Hand Fractures