Summer Fun in Recovery

The upper extremity region -- particularly the hands and wrists -- is a delicate and complex area of the body. It includes bones, muscles, joints, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels, all working together to provide us with movement, sensation, and strength.

Unfortunately, upper extremity injuries are fairly common in the workplace, especially for those who use tools and machinery on a regular basis. Injuries can range from minor scrapes, bruises, and scratches to more serious conditions that will need attention from an orthopedic hand surgeon.

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, our team includes orthopedic surgeons who specialize in upper extremity injuries, providing the most advanced and comprehensive care for these complex conditions. We also have a dedicated Workers' Compensation department committed to helping both workers and employers navigate the world of workers' compensation.

If you've received an injury on the job, here's some important information on how a board-certified hand surgeon can help you recover:

Types of Work-Related Hand Injury

Orthopedic hand surgeons treat a variety of injuries to the hand and wrist, many of which are caused by work-related accidents. These injuries can range from minor overuse injuries to severe pain caused by traumatic injuries.

Here are some common types of work-related hand injuries treated by orthopedic hand surgeons:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is a repetitive motion injury caused by overuse of the wrist, leading to numbness and tingling in the fingers.
  • Wrist Pain: Pain in the wrist is a common work-related injury, which can be caused by various activities like typing or using tools.
  • Fractures: Broken bones in the hand or fingers are another common work-related injury caused by a direct impact, like hitting an object or landing on the hand.
  • Tendon Lacerations: Deep cuts through tendons can occur from sharp objects cutting or striking the hand.
  • Overuse Injuries: These injuries occur from repetitive strain on the hand and wrist, leading to pain and inflammation.
  • Nerve Injuries: Nerve compression or lacerations are common injuries affecting the hand and can lead to permanent damage if not treated.

Importance of Proper Medical Attention

When you suffer a hand injury from work, receiving proper medical attention and treatment is essential to prevent serious complications, and in some cases save your hand. Often, untreated hand injuries can lead to permanent damage, prolonged pain, permanent loss of function, and potential disability.

This is why hand specialists and orthopedic surgeons recommend timely medical attention and diagnosis to prevent such devastating outcomes.

Here are some reasons why proper medical attention for work-related hand injuries is crucial:

  • Early diagnosis often leads to effective treatment: Seeking proper medical attention early, allows a specialist to diagnose and treat your injury effectively, treating your injury before the development of life-altering complications.
  • Prevent further damage: Untreated hand injuries may worsen over time. Immediate medical attention can prevent further damage from untreated injuries.
  • Eliminate pain: Surgery or other interventions can help relieve debilitating pain and improve the function of the hand.

It's important to seek professional medical attention if you experience any discomfort, pain, or change affecting your hand or fingers. This will help prevent long-term damage to your hand and help you return to your normal work activities.

How Hand Surgeons Can Help

Hand surgeons are medical professionals with specialized training in treating injuries and conditions affecting the hands, wrists, and upper extremities.

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, our skilled hand surgeons -- Dr. Bernstein, Dr. Schiffman, and Dr. Yaffe -- offer a range of treatment options so that patients can return to their normal work activities as quickly and safely as possible.

Here are some ways our hand surgeons can help you:

  • Nonsurgical Treatment: For non-critical injuries, hand surgeons offer non-surgical treatments such as casting, splinting, rehabilitation, and cortisone injections.
  • Surgical Procedures: Depending on the severity of your condition, your hand surgeon may recommend surgery. In cases of traumatic injuries or acute pain where nonsurgical treatment is not enough, surgical procedures may be the best option.

Some common surgical procedures performed by hand surgeons at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists include:

  • Carpal Tunnel Release: This is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to relieve pressure on the median nerve in the wrist.
  • Fracture Reduction: Hand surgeons use surgical tools and techniques to repair broken bones in the hands and fingers.
  • Tendon Repair: Traumatic injuries to the hand and wrist can damage tendons, various methods of hand surgery can be used to repair or reconstruct the tendon, like the use of grafts or sutures.

The hand surgeons at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists understand the importance of helping patients regain their hand function and mobility after work-related injuries with the least invasive techniques possible.

Regardless of whether or not you require surgery, our hand surgeons have the expertise, tools, and technology necessary to help you recover and get back to work with confidence.

Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy

Once the initial treatment for a work-related hand injury, like surgery or bracing, is complete, rehabilitation and physical therapy are often necessary for a full recovery.

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, your hand surgeon will work closely with physical and occupational therapy specialists to develop rehabilitation plans that are specific to each patient's needs to help them regain strength, improve flexibility, and restore movements.

Physical therapy can be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation, restoring mobility, and improving muscle strength. Through regular sessions, patients can expect to see a marked improvement in their hand function, allowing them to return to their normal work activities with reduced pain and an increased range of motion.

Visit Your Illinois Work Injury & Hand Specialists

If your hands, fingers, or wrists have been injured at work, the hand surgeons at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists can help. Along with our dedicated Workers' Compensation department and rehabilitation specialists, our providers are all here to help you return to work as quickly and safely as possible.

Ready to get started on your road to recovery? Schedule your first appointment with the orthopedic team at BOS today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the healing process take for a hand injury?

The length of time for hand surgery recovery can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the specific procedure performed. For carpal tunnel surgery, the recovery period can be anywhere from a few weeks to several months.  In general, patients can expect a recovery period of 4-6 weeks before returning to normal activities.

Is hand therapy necessary after hand surgery?

Yes, hand therapy is an important part of the healing process after hand surgery. It can help improve the range of motion, strength, and function of the hand and fingers. Your hand surgeon will work with you to develop a customized rehabilitation plan that may include hand therapy.

Can I return to work after hand surgery?

The ability to return to work following hand surgery will depend on the type of job you have and the specific procedure performed. Your hand surgeon will provide you with guidelines for returning to work, taking into consideration your individual circumstances and recovery progress. It is important to follow these guidelines for a successful recovery.