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Preventing Hand Deformities

Preventing Hand Deformities

Injuries and diseases that affect the hands can have a major impact on your daily activities and general well-being. For instance, osteoarthritis, which affects more than 32.5 million U.S. adults, can cause pain, stiffness, swelling and deformity in the hands that often leads to reduced functioning and disability.

When it comes to your hands, preventing conditions like osteoarthritis is often much easier than treating them and can go a long way toward helping you avoid a great deal of pain and discomfort. Here are practical and effective ways to reduce your risk for hand deformities and how to request an appointment with University Orthopaedic Associates if you need treatment for a hand injury.

Respect Pain

Many people who suffer hand injuries—especially athletes—will choose to ignore their pain or push through it to stay in the game. However, this mindset can lead to worsened pain the following day or later down the road. Start viewing your pain as a warning sign, and stop an activity before it causes discomfort.

Use Larger, Stronger Joints When Possible

Large joints are protected by strong muscles, which is why it’s preferable to use larger joints over smaller ones whenever possible. For example, use the palms of your hands instead of your fingers to carry heavy dinner plates.

Reduce the Effort and Force During Tasks

When possible, use appliances and assistive devices that put less pressure on your hand joints. For example, use kitchen gadgets with padded grips. Taking frequent breaks when performing repetitive activities that involve the hands can also protect your joints.

Find a Healthy Balance Between Rest and Activity

Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, occurs when the cartilage at the joints breaks down. Another form of osteoarthritis, known as post-traumatic arthritis, can emerge shortly after an injury to a joint and eventually become a chronic condition when not treated. However, finding a good balance between rest and activity can greatly reduce your risk for these joint diseases.

Steps you can take to balance rest and activity include giving yourself extra time to perform certain activities and alternating between heavy and light activities.

Exercise In a Pain-Free Range

Exercise can help strengthen the muscles around your joints and reduce your risk for stiffness, limited range of motion and deformities. When doing hand exercises, try doing them in warm water to relax the muscles, and avoid doing any exercises when your joints are swollen and painful.

Avoid Positions Of Deformity In Daily Activities

Changing the way you do certain activities may help reduce strain on your joints and minimize the deformity. Things you can do to avoid positions of deformity include making sure work surfaces are at an appropriate and comfortable height and using stable joint positions whenever possible.

In conclusion, it’s important to know that when a joint suffers an injury and doesn’t heal properly, the cartilage in the joint will gradually deteriorate to cause great pain and stiffness. Seeking treatment for hand injuries is essential to reduce your risk of deformity and to preserve hand function as you age.

University Orthopaedic Associates offers a wide range of orthopaedic services, including treatments for injuries and conditions of the hands and upper extremities. Contact UOA today at (732) 537-0909 to request an appointment if you need treatment for an orthopaedic injury.