Dallas Department of Labor OWCP Doctors: Hand & Wrist Injuries
Whether you are an office worker or a construction worker, you spend the majority of your job using your hands, doing everything from filing paperwork and typing to hammering and welding. It is no surprise, then, that on-the-job hand and wrist injuries are extremely common across all industries.
Here are just a few hand injury statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Each year, an average of 110,000 workers in the United States suffer a hand injury that requires them to miss work.
- Over one million workers visit the emergency room annually with a hand or wrist injury.
- Workers lose an average of six days on the job for a hand or wrist injury. A hand sprain, strain, or tear results in the loss of an average of 14 days on the job.
- The average workers’ compensation hand injury claim is over $7,500.
- Hand sprains, strains, tears, and cuts result in over 12,000 job transfers or restrictions each year.
- About 20 percent of all workplace injuries involve the hands and fingers.
At Work Injury MD, our Dallas Department of Labor OWCP doctors understand that you need your hands to be healthy, functional, and pain-free, both for the sake of your career and for all aspects of your life and wellbeing. With a board-certified physician on staff, we are here to help you recover as completely as possible from your injuries, whether you have suffered something as simple as a laceration or whether you are battling something as complex and painful as a blunt trauma crushing injury.
Our Department of Labor doctors serve the following workers located in and around Dallas, Texas:
- Postal workers
- Construction workers
- Office workers and clerks
- Jail and prison workers
- TSA employees
- Registered nurses
- Forest service employees
- Compliance officers
To schedule an appointment with our doctor, or to simply as a question about our medical services, please call us today. Consulting with experienced Dallas Department of Labor OWCP doctors can make a big difference in how your pain is treated and how your case is filed.
Common Acute Wrist and Hand Injuries For Workers
Hand, wrist, and finger injuries can range from a bruise or laceration to an amputation or detachment. Let’s take a closer look at common workplace incidents.
- Lacerations and punctures. Cuts and penetrations are the most common type of on-the-job incidents. They can be caused by any sharp object in the work area and could be caused by machinery, falls, or auto accidents.
- Ligament injury/thumb sprains. A ligament injury in the hand involves the tissues that connect the thumb bones to the joint and can result in pain, weakness, swelling, bruising, and other symptoms. A ligament issue at the thumb joint can make it difficult to hold, carry, or grip things without pain.
- Tendon injuries. Tendon injuries to the hand, such as mallet finger, involve the tissue that connects your muscle to your bone. Mallet finger takes place when a tendon injury at the base of the finger causes the finger to curl, making working with your hands difficult and painful.
- Strains. Strains are pulled muscles in the hands that can cause pain and make working with your hands difficult. While strains can often be treated with rest and over-the-counter pain management, they can still keep workers from their assigned jobs. Sprains are often caused by falls, lifting, incidents, and overuse.
- Fractures. There are 27 bones in each of your hands – breaking any one of them can be extremely painful and debilitating. Hand fractures need a lot of time for recovery and may require surgery and physical therapy to restore health and range of motion. The most common causes of hand fractures are falls and crushing accidents.
- Dislocations. A dislocated thumb or finger takes place when the bones in the hand are moved from their normal position. These may occur during a fall, a jam, or a machinery accident, and require the immediate care of a doctor.
- Burns. Factory workers, industrial workers, and construction workers are the most likely victims of burn and electrical burn injuries to the hands and wrists. This is most true when workers are not wearing the proper hand protection. Severe burn incidents may require surgery and physical therapy.
- Amputations and detachments. The most serious type of hand injury is the amputation of the thumb, a finger, or the hand. These injuries also most often affect those with industrial jobs who work with machinery. They not only require emergency medical help but could also permanently affect a worker’s ability to continue his or her career.
Common Repetitive Motion Wrist and Hand Injuries
In addition to acute injuries, hundreds of thousands of workers each year also suffer chronic, repetitive motion injuries that affect their hands and wrists. While these medical issues do not happen in one fell swoop, they are still extremely serious conditions that require thoughtful and compassionate medical assistance, as well as preventative measures. The three most common types of repetitive stress injuries for workers are:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. This is perhaps the most common repetitive motion and overuse injury to the hand. It takes place when the median nerve in the hand becomes irritated, inflamed, and compressed, causing numbness, pain, weakness, and tingling. Carpal tunnel syndrome is most common in middle-aged women and can be treated with pain management, rest, steroids, and surgery.
- Tendonitis. Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tissue that connects muscle to bone. When tendonitis affects the hands and wrists, sufferers can experience debilitating pain and have difficulty completing their normal work tasks. Tendonitis of the wrist is treated with pain medication, splints and braces, and physical therapy.
- De Quervain’s disease. This is a condition that affects the thumb side of the wrist. While medical professionals don’t completely understand the cause, repetitive movements can make the condition much worse. Treatment for this condition, which causes pain and tenderness, is medication and physical therapy.
It is important to recognize overuse and repetitive motion injuries quickly and to get treatment as early as possible in order to avoid chronic and long-term issues. It is also important to understand your overuse injury so that you can avoid re-injury after your return to work.
Top Causes Of On-The-Job Hand & Wrist Injuries
Hand, wrist, and finger injuries can happen in any occupation. Here are three of the most common ways they take place:
- Overuse. Some are surprised to learn that dramatic accidents are not the most common reason for hand injuries. Instead, repetitive movements and tasks can lead to overuse injuries that can be painful and long-lasting.
- Falls. It is second nature to break your fall by putting out your hand. But while this can save you from injuring other parts of your body, it often results in damage to the wrist and hand, including sprained wrists and broken bones.
- Crushing accidents. Those who work in construction or with heavy machinery face the risk of a crushing accident, in which hands and figures are damaged by a falling object. These accidents have among the most devastating consequences, sometimes including amputation.
How To Prevent Accidents At Work
The best way to confront the issue of hand injuries in the workplace is to stop them from happening in the first place. No matter your occupation, you can take steps to avoid every type of hand injury, from repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome to acute injuries like finger amputations. Here are five tips to get you started:
- Use hand protection. Depending on the type of tasks you do, choose the best hand protection for the job. For example, a welder may need a heavy pair of gloves, while a chemist may need rubber gloves, while an office worker may need wrist support.
- Use safeguards. When using heavy machinery, make certain that all safeguards are working and in place. Never remove a safeguard, even if it makes a task faster or easier.
- Be aware of repetitive movements. Factory workers, office workers, construction workers, and TSA agents are just a few types of people who have jobs that involve repetitive movements. These movements can quickly lead to overuse injuries like tendonitis. Simply being aware of certain movements can prevent chronic hand and wrist problems.
- Know your work environment. Do you know all of the pinch points, hot areas, and dangers of where you complete your tasks? Being familiar with your work area and being able to predict where and how accidents happen is key to prevention.
- Give your hands a break. Simply taking breaks and flexing/stretching your hands can help prevent all types of hand injuries, especially overuse ones. Also be sure to keep your hands warm so that they are supple and not prone to sprains and strains.
Our Dallas Department of Labor OWCP doctors can talk to you more about how to prevent hand injuries through rest, exercise, stretching, and awareness.
Hand & Wrist Injury Treatments At Work Injury MD Clinic
Dallas Department of Labor OWCP doctors specialize in helping those who have been injured at work get help, from finding the right diagnosis to finding the right treatment and educating our patients. We are a full-service clinic that offers pain management, injections, prescriptions, physical therapy, and surgery.
To talk to a Department of Labor doctor today, and to get back on the path to health, please call us today.